Eddy Gnahoré is currently playing for Amiens, on loan from Palermo. Things are going relatively well this season for the 25 year old, but it could have been very different indeed.
He was part of the Paul Pogba and Samuel Umtiti generation of French footballers, and feels he’s so far not achieved what he may have done. Speaking to L’Equipe, the midfielder explained: “I am aware of missing a train when I was young. I was in the 1993 generation where there are today great champions, and when we were eighteen, the majority of the group was at the same point. Some players are predestined, they have a mental strength that prevents them from falling in their careers. Others need that to forge themselves.’
In the Manchester City youth system as a youngster, Gnahoré moved to Birmingham City and signed his first professional contract. Having made his debut, he then ruptured his cruciate ligament in February 2012.
He returned to Birmingham’s squad but wasn’t able to force his way through and his contract was terminated by mutual consent in summer 2013.
Asked if joining Birmingham City was a mistake, he said: “Yes and no, because I had the opportunity to play professionally by signing an elite contract. My agent at the time was between my two parents to get to this deal and it was a little bit in my head. Afterwards, I got injured. Even if I started pro there, we ended up canceling. When I left, my next agent assured me that I was going to sign in the wake of Troyes. But it was wrong.”
He turned up at Troyes, on the word of his then agent, and they didn’t know anything about it, but let him train with them. Contracts were verbally offered and then never sent, with the footballer later finding out his agent had been scuppering things by asking for a huge commission.
Agent trouble then continued with failure to agree deals with a series of clubs, and Gnahoré feels it held his career back. He had a year out, and then signed for Carrarese Calcio in 2014, moved to Napoli in 2016 and went on a series of loans, interrupted by a serious hip injury picked up in a car crash, which led him to sign for Palermo in 2016.
Without that cruciate injury at Birmingham City, the path would likely have been different.