Abdul Baba Rahman have rejoined English Championship side Reading on loan from Chelsea.
Almost exactly a year ago, Baba first arrived at Bearwood Park ahead of an impressive campaign spent as a Royal; the Ghanaian international registered a total of 29 starts at left-back during our 150th anniversary campaign and made a crucial contribution in our fight for Championship survival last season.
During that campaign, he also represented his country to feature alongside Royals skipper Andy Yiadom in the Africa Cup of Nations – and he will be hoping another successful season as a Reading player ahead of this winter’s FIFA World Cup Finals in Qatar.
Head of Football Operations, Mark Bowen, said: “Through his energetic, wholehearted and powerful performances on the pitch and his infectious character off it, Baba became something of a fans favourite here at Reading last season. Since the day his loan spell ended in the summer, we have been hoping to bring him back and I am very pleased we have been able to secure his services for the 2022-23 campaign.”
Baba, who turned 28 last month, was born in Tamale in the north of Ghana and he won the Ghanian Premier League with Asante Kokoto in 2011-12 whilst still a teenager. He arrived in Europe in 2012, spending three seasons in Germany with Greuther Furth and Augsburg before a move to Stamford Bridge in 2015.
His Blues debut came in September of that year – in a 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League – and his domestic bow followed a week later in a 4-1 victory at Walsall in the Capital One Cup.
Baba’s Premier League debut came the following month in a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa – starting in a team that featured the likes of John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.
Baba played in a total of 23 games under José Mourinho and then Guus Hiddink across Chelsea’s 2015-16 campaign before returning to Germany to join Schalke – where he would spend two and a half seasons on loan. In the 2016-17 campaign, he was part of a Schalke side which reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League – his first goal for the club proved the decider in a group-stage match against Nice.
A loan stint in France followed as Baba settled in Reims for the the second half of the 2018-19 campaign, finding the back of the net in the last of his 11 games for the Ligue 1 club in a 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain.
And after further loan spells away from Stamford Bridge – with Real Mallorca in La Liga in 2019-20 and then in Greece with PAOK the following season – he joined the Royals ranks last August.
Internationally, he has totted up 44 international caps for the Black Stars and will have his heart set on a seat on the plane to Doha where Ghana will take on Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay in Group H of this year’s World Cup Finals.
But first and foremost, Baba is back as a Royal!
Manager Paul Ince said, ”A natural left-back with experience at the very highest level has been a clear priority in our recruitment plans this summer and, while we have had to be patient, we are now excited to welcome Baba back to the club! Our fans know all about what he can bring to this squad and what we are trying to achieve this season and I’m really looking forward to working with him again this season!”