The Poku era at New York City Football Club has ended.
After spending the last year and a half dazzling NYCFC supporters, midfielder Kwadwo Poku is reportedly moving on to Miami FC of the North American Soccer League. The news was first reported by NYCFC ticket-holder Tevan Costoso on Twitter and confirmed by Ghana Web through Empire of Soccer‘s Dave Martinez and Christian Araos.
Poku,24, made 32 appearances for NYCFC over the past season and a half. He was originally signed by the club in January 2015 after the club acquired his rights from Seattle Sounders FC. The Ghanaian international has also previously played for the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks.
According to the same Empire of Soccer report, Poku’s transfer value was $700K. According the Major League Soccer Player’s Union in 2015 Poku had a base salary of $60K.
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What is interesting about this deal is that Miami FC are the club picking up Poku’s services. On the surface the club is in their first year of existence in the NASL and won just one match during the spring season.
But Miami FC have shown during their limited tenure the capacity to spend money. Miami FC are owned by Riccardo Silva, a television magnate in Italy, and AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini. The club’s roster includes veteran midfielders Wilson Palacios (who played for Honduras at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups), Michael Lahoud (formerly of Chivas USA and Philadelphia Union), and Richie Ryan.
In terms of how Poku will fit in with Miami FC it is likely that coach Alessandro Nesta will likely use him as an outside winger. During his time with NYCFC Poku found his greatest success by breaking through defenses down the left flank. Both Lahoud and Ryan are excellent passers and should be able to link up with Poku on counter-attacks.
The question about Poku is if he can develop chemistry with his teammates in such a short period. For as much as Poku excited and wowed the crowds at Yankee Stadium, his attitude and commitment were often criticized. His playing time has also seen a decline during his second season at NYCFC, making just three starts in seven appearances.
Playing under the tutelage of Nesta, a fiery midfielder also known for his combative nature, should help Poku in the long-term.
As for NYCFC the move is a win-win. The club had obviously lost interest in Poku and given his frosty relationship with Vieira things were not going to improve anytime soon.
Rather than continue having him sit on the bench and occupying a roster spot the club can now look for someone that can help them make their first-ever playoff appearance. The transfer value should go a long way into making this club better both in the short and long term.