A number of Chelsea’s reserve team were expected to find pastures new this summer, and on the first day of the summer transfer window, Nana Ofori-Twumasi has led the way in being the first to find a new club.
The Ghanaian-born England Under-20 international has signed a three-year deal with Peterborough United, who were relegated to League One in 2009/10.
It’s an interesting move for the versatile defender, who has just nine appearances of senior professional football to his name.
They came in December and January of last season, when he spent time at Dagenham & Redbridge in League Two.
Despite scoring twice from right-back, his performances came in for close scrutiny and regular criticism from Daggers fans, who grew frustrated at his positional woes, and not even his impressive attacking exploits were enough to placate the masses.
Nana returned to Chelsea for the remainder of the season to play out the reserve campaign but with his contract expiring, a permanent departure was on the cards and has been confirmed today.
Manager Gary Johnson told theposh.com of how excited he was to welcome Ofori-Twumasi:
‘Make no mistake, this is a coup for us. He has come from Chelsea and to be fair he had a lot of clubs after him, including big clubs from abroad, so we are thrilled he has liked what he has seen here.
It brings an end to over half a decade of Nana at Chelsea, as he joined the club’s academy ranks in his early teens and progressed through the ranks into senior football. A former winger as a schoolboy, he was moved into defence when becoming a first-year scholar.
His impressive athleticism stood out at youth level and he was regularly an impressive performer, picking up the captaincy in his first year and taking it regularly during his second.
A professional contract followed, as did a spot in the reserve squad, but as so many players find, the step up to playing against adults was one Nana would find tougher.
No longer was he able to get away with things he was able to amongst his own age group due to his physical prowess. He still displayed ability, but when truly tested there were mental and technical lapses which quickly raised doubts about his long-term Chelsea future.
A summer trial at Bournemouth twelve months ago came to nothing and a permanent place at a League One club does come as something of a surprise after his questionable spell at a lower level, but to be fair to both player and club, there is raw potential to be harnessed, and in signing a three-year deal there’s a commitment to his future.
Looking at the upper-end of his potential, a player in the mould of Micah Richards comes to mind (although not of the same quality).
A physically excellent right-back or centre-back (and occasional left-back) with enough ability to get by and contribute effectively in attack.
Posh fans can be excited by the signing of the boy who will wear ‘Nana’ on his shirt but they will also have to be patient. Johnson expects him to stand an England Under-21 chance in the next twelve months.
From everyone at TheChels, good luck Nana.
Over the coming days, there could be more following him out of the door at Cobham.
Ben Gordon is currently on trial at Willem II in Holland and has until Sunday to impress them enough to earn a permanent contract.
Niclas Heimann has already signed a deal with Red Bull Salzburg, who are defending Austrian champions.
The likes of Kenny Strickland, Nikki Ahamed, and Liam Bridcutt could follow as they seek to forge futures in professional club football. It’s a tough time of year for everyone involved, with the likes of Bridcutt having been at the club for over a decade, but they are the realities of football.
Whoever moves, and wherever they go, you’ll hear about it here at TheChels.net and on Twitter @chelseayouth.