Asamoah Gyan has revealed he was sought after by Real Madrid during his successful spell at Premier League outfit Sunderland before his surprise move to Asia six years ago.
The Black Stars captain had a purple-patch form at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa before signing for the Black Cats. He went on to become their key man as he banged in the goals and emerged the club’s top scorers.
The Ghana captain claims his performance attracted top clubs such as Liverpool, Tottenham and Real Madrid but surprisingly, Sunderland opted to loan him to United Arab Emirates giants Al Ain – a move which was later made permanent.
Gyan told Rokerreport: ”I felt like the club wanted to do business at that time rather than have the player. There was some interest in me the January beforehand; Liverpool, Tottenham and even talk of Real Madrid, but I was playing well and when you play well naturally clubs are interested in you – but I didn’t expect the club to let me go the way they did
”When Al Ain made the offer, Sunderland came to me and told me it was a loan deal for one season and I think the fee they were offering blew their minds considering it was only a loan deal. They were looking at the figures.
”At that time I was the lead man at the club, and they were letting me go on loan? I didn’t understand it. I was the lead striker and they were just letting me go on loan. I was just thinking it should be a permanent deal or nothing else.”
Gyan was successful at Al Ain, scoring 95 goals in 83 appearances and that earned him another mega-move to China.
The striker joined Shanghai SIPG in 2015 in a deal that made him one of the highest-paid footballers in the world at the time, with a weekly wage of £227,000.
But he was beset by injury worries. A succession of thigh and knee problems meant the club were unable to rely on his services, although his goal return had been decent when fit.