Kwadwo Opoku is a 21-year-old winger who plays for LAFC in MLS. Opoku was plucked from relative obscurity in 2020 when he was signed from the Attram de Visser Soccer Academy in his native Ghana. Opoku saw only limited minutes in his first two seasons in LA but he has broken through as a regular starter this season and been very strong. Opoku has never played for Ghana at any age group level but that seems like something that ought to change soon.
Kwadwo Opoku shoots a lot. He is in the 89th percentile for shots amongst MLS wingers and attacking midfielders. A lot of these shots come in transition moments. Opoku is very dangerous in space and does a fantastic job with his speed and off-the-ball movement to capitalise on the cornucopia of chances that his teammates create for him. He also has quite good decision-making on those quick breaks. He creates a lot of chances for teammates by making the right pass in transition, something that a lot of super quick young attackers tend to struggle with. Opoku is very direct and he is always eager to take players on 1v1. But he is not quite as proficient dribbling 1v1 as he is running into space. That’s not to say his dribbling is terrible, he certainly has some skill and can produce good moments. But he is more of a volume dribbler who needs several attempts before he beats a defender. Opoku is small, only standing 5’4 so he is naturally disadvantaged in any kind of contest that involves physical strength.
Although he is good in transition, Opoku is not a play driver. He has a very low percentage of his team’s touches and is not very involved in the build-up. Opoku has exactly the right skill set to be effective as a support player on a good team. But if he were put in a position where he had to be the main focal point of a team’s attack I don’t think he would be as effective. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It takes different skill sets to build an effective attack. But this is something that is very important for prospective buyers to consider. If you’re signing Opoku to be a transition demon and finish off quick breaks then you’ll be very satisfied with your purchase. If you are signing him to run the offence you are probably going to be disappointed.
Opoku puts in a lot of defensive work and is quite effective at pressuring opponents. He does not make that many defensive interventions himself but he fits into LAFC’s pressing system effectively.
Opoku has had a very strong season and I think he could be very successful in Europe if the right fit can be found. There is no doubt he benefits significantly from LAFC being the best team in the Western Conference. At this point in his career, we don’t know how he would perform on a team that was near the bottom of the table. But he has shown he can be extremely effective as a ceiling raiser on a dominant team. So he would make a lot of sense for big clubs in mid-sized European leagues. Clubs like Olympiacos, Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb, anyone who gets into the Champions League and then gets pumped by the super clubs essentially.