Alex Nyarko

#1185905 / gettyimages.com

Alex Nyarko is a former Ghanaian midfielder who was born in Accra, Ghana on October 15th 1973. He began his career at Asante Kotoko, who he helped to league title wins in 1992 and 1993. Nyarko also represented his country in the 1992 Olympics, picking up a bronze winners medal. He had a short spell with fellow Ghanaian outfit Dawu Youngstars in 1994, before moving to Romania later that year to sign with Sportul Studentscu. In 1995 he was on the move again, joining FC Basel. Nyarko enjoyed a very successful spell in Switzerland, attracting interest from the Europe's top leagues. He joined Bundesliga side Karlsruher in 1997/98, but couldn't stop the club from being relegated that season. After a successful 1998 Africa Cup of Nations showing with Ghana, Nyarko joined Lens that same year. He performed extremely well in France, representing the club in the Champions League. He also helped Lens reach the semi-finals of the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup.

On 12th July 2000 Nyarko signed for Everton for £4,500,000. Toffees boss Walter Smith said on his arrival "He is a strong type and his style means you would put him in the Vieira-Petit bracket. He gets up and down the pitch well and physically I don't think he will have any problems adapting to the Premiership. Arsene Wenger speaks highly of him and he impressed me straight away when I watched him." Nyarko made a reasonable start to his Everton career after making his debut on 19th August 2000 in a 2-0 defeat at Leeds. He scored his first goal for the club on September 5th 2000 at Tottenham. Nyarko's form got worse as the season went on however, and he often found himself in the referee's notebook. He was sent off on 24th February at Ipswich. After one particularly bad display at Arsenal on 21st April 2001, one Everton fan entered the field of play offering his shirt in exchange for Nyarko's, believing that even he could do a better job than the Ghanaian international. Nyarko promptly pleaded to be substituted, and said he was finished with football.

After a few months on the sidelines Nyarko joined Monaco on a season long loan in 2001/02. The following campaign he signed for PSG for a year. Nyarko made a surprise return for Everton in 2003/04, and performed ok, making 11 appearances. He was released by the club in July 2004 after his work permit expired. Nyarko then spent months in search of a new club. He went on trial with Harry Redknapp's Southampton in January 2005 alongside former Everton teammate Abel Xavier. Neither were offered contracts however, with Nyarko eventually signing a short term deal with Norwegian side IK Start. In 2006 he returned to Switzerland, penning a deal with Yverdon-Sport FC, before hanging up his boots in 2007.