Christian Atsu Twasam was one of my major disappointments of the 2013 African Cup of Nations. Having only recently broken into the Ghana first team, I was expecting the twinkle-toed forward to kick on—my vision was that he would add the extra dimension, the directness, to a Black Stars team that had evidently been missing it in tournaments past.
Things didn’t work out that way, the Black Stars failed to spark, and despite a few brief demonstrations of his class, Atsu remained on the periphery, failing to ignite his labouring countrymen. While their eventual loss to Burkina Faso was a major disappointment, the dire performance against Cape Verde in the first knockout round proved an almost embarrassing episode for the national side.
However, still only 21, Atsu has time on his side—he will surely make a greater impact for the national side in AFCONs to come.
After having pierced the national psyche during a loan deal at Rio Ave, Atsu returned to parent club Porto primed to make an impact in the Primeira Liga. This year he has enjoyed some brief cameos in the Champions League, one of which produced an assist.
Offering tactical nous, technique and, most of all, speed, Atsu enjoys the nickname "The Ghanaian Messi." Spurs have been linked in the past, via the Daily Mirror, and the Porto connection may seal any prospective deal, but don’t expect Liverpool and Everton to yield in their pursuit any time soon.
Ed Dove is Bleacher Report's African football expert. Follow him on Twitter @Eddydove.