Midfielder Mohammed Abu will not be returning to Columbus Crew SC next season as the Black & Gold announced on Thursday the club has accepted an offer from Norway’s First Division side Valerenga Fotball for the Ghanaian midfielder.
Abu, 26, was playing for the Norwegian team on a loan contract that started in August and after a promising start, which saw the midfielder record one assist in six appearances (all starts), Valerenga decided to make the deal permanent.
“Mohammed has continued to grow as a player during his time on loan and this permanent transfer to Valerenga Fotball is a move that both allows for a continued opportunity to get him the minutes to further his development and provides us additional funds and roster flexibility,” sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said in the press release. “We want to thank Mohammed for his contributions to Crew SC in his time with the club and wish him the best in the next stage of his career in Norway.”
Abu was signed by Crew SC in January 2017, but he struggled to get significant playing time with the Black & Gold under Berhalter. Less than a month after signing Abu, Columbus added another central midfielder on load in promising Brazilian Artur who the team saw first hand during preseason at São Paulo. Although intended to be a starter before the arrival of Artur, Abu had to fight for minutes with the Brazilian and club captain Wil Trapp for most of his first season. In 2017, Abu played in 20 games, starting 14, while recording one assist.
With the addition of Ricardo Clark in 2018, Abu saw his playing time decrease even more, playing in just four matches and recording no goals or assists before he was loaned in August.
The midfielder leaves the club after the two years with 24 regular season appearances (14 starts), in which he recorded one assist. The midfielder also helped the Black & Gold in three matches of the 2017 MLS Cup playoffs, including two starts.
Valerenga is Abu’s second team in Norway as he also played for Stromsgodset IF on three different occasions. His international experience also includes stints with FC Lorient of France’s Ligue 1 and Rayo Vallecano of Spain’s La Liga.