Columbus Crew SC made an addition to their midfield on Tuesday, when they announced the signing of 25-year-old Ghanaian Mohammed Abu.
Abu comes to Columbus from Norwegian club Stromsgodset, where he made 82 league appearances – all of which were starts – over the last three years. Primarily a defensive midfielder, Abu has five goals and three assists in 163 professional appearances across all competitions in his career, which has also seen him make stops at FC Lorient in France’s Ligue 1 and Rayo Vallecano in Spain’s La Liga.
“Mohammed is a talented, technical player that we believe will fit well into our system and style of play,” Columbus sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement issued by the club. “Across his experience in Norway, France and Spain, we believe that a combination of his experience, skillset and character will be a good fit for Crew SC. We are glad to have him in Columbus and it is certainly an added bonus that he is familiar with the area as his wife has lived in Central Ohio.”
Abu moved from his native Ghana to Manchester City in 2010, and was immediately loaned to Stromsgodset. He played parts of three seasons with the Norwegian side, totaling 46 league appearances before being loaned to Rayo Vallecano and FC Lorient in the 2012-13 season. He tallied 11 appearances in all competitions during his time in France and Spain, then was briefly sent on loan to Danish club AGF Aarhus before returning to Stromsgodset – this time on a permanent deal – in February 2014.
Abu, who has three career appearances with the Ghanaian national team, was a teammate of Crew SC striker Ola Kamara during his first stint at Stromsgodset.
Columbus signed Abu as a Special Discovery Player. According to the MLS roster rules, “for one player on a club’s roster (a ‘Special Discovery Player’), a club is able to amortize the total amount of acquisition costs (up to $500,000) over the term of the player’s contract.”
Crew SC are currently in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for their first preseason camp. They'll return to Ohio on Feb. 9 and train outside Columbus before heading to Charleston, South Carolina, for the Carolina Challenge Cup in mid-February.