Born on 17th April, 1999 in Accra. Mohammed Salisu has gone from the streets of Kumasi, Ghana. From the dirt pitches of Kumasi to the cold and windy pitches in Valladolid.
He has gone from playing on the dirt pitches of Ghana, through Real Valladolid’s academy to being heralded as one of the most promising defenders in La Liga.
The football school of thought has it that, a player’s career can change for better or for worse in an instant. Mohammed Salisu has made the most of the latter, he has moved from an unknown quality to being one of the best center backs in Spanish football in just 6 months.
Having sparingly being used in preseason, Mohammed Salisu earned his La Liga debut on the first day of the new La Liga season. He was thrown into the deep end by manager Sergio González, he was thrown in to replace the outstanding Fernando Calero who had departed and joined Espanyol in the summer.
Salisu passed the test in flying colors as they won the game by 2-1. He also went on to excel against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, holding Real Madrid to a stalemate, 1-1.
The burgeoning center back since then hasn’t turned his back, he has featured for the club in every league game this season, and he’s now herald as one of the most promising center backs in Europe.
Mohammed Salisu is a left footed center back who can also be deployed as a defensive midfielder, he stands at 6ft 3in tall. The 20 year old is strong, powerful, quick and can read the game well.
Salisu is a technically gifted defender who can comfortably bring the ball out from the back, he’s energetic and very aggressive. Taking into account his aggressiveness, he has picked just 2 yellow cards all season.
His weakness is his passing, but he’s gradually improving on that and has had a 80% passing success this season. He is also quick at covering space and stepping off his line to intercept danger.
He also has the mental fortitude to dust himself off after mistakes and fight for the victory. In a game against Villareal in September, Mohammed Salisu clumsily brought down Javier Ontiveros and conceded a penalty which was coolly converted by Santi Carzola.
The howler that day at Estadio de la Ceramica didn’t bog him down or wasn’t detrimental to his development, he prevailed over the situation and continued his decent progress, a manifestation of his mental toughness.
The Ghanaian defender has so far helped Real Valladolid keep 7 clean sheets and conceded 24 times in the league this season, which is less than 14 La Liga teams and that includes giants Barcelona.
According to Squawka, out of all the players aged 21 or under in Europe’s top five leagues this season, Salisu has made the most clearances (108).
Mohammed Salisu has a contact until 2022, his release clause is €12 million, which is very accessible for most clubs. Since making his debut, he has attracted interest from Sevilla, Schalke, Everton, Newcastle and Southampton.
Salisu has more room for improvement and has the potential to be one of the best center backs in the world in some few years to come.
Although Salisu is yet to make an appearance for the Black Stars, the Black Stars have a prospect in their hands. The 20 year old center back could easily step in and improve or solidify the erratic and unreliable Black Stars defense.
He could be the long term replacement for one of Jonathan Mensah and John Boye. The duo’s Black Stars career has taken a nose dive and both have played just 10 times for the Black Stars since 2018.