Wolverhampton Wanderers had two right wing-backs in 2017 - one is now at Tottenham Hotspur and the other is without a club.
While Matt Doherty is rubbing shoulders with Harry Kane and Gareth Bale in North London, Phil Ofosu-Ayeh is looking to rebuild his career after a wretched three years.
Doherty’s success can be traced back to Ofosu-Ayeh’s misfortune with the Ghanaian signed to become Wolves’ first-choice right wing-back in 2017. Nuno Espirito Santo planned to use Ofosu-Ayeh and Barry Douglas at wing-back in the Championship, with Doherty and Ruben Vinagre as back-ups.
Ofosu-Ayeh was already carrying an injury when he signed for Wolves but a second setback understood to be an ankle problem, proved to be much worse than first feared.
“He had water in his knees, that’s why it was difficult at the start,” Ofosu-Ayeh’s agent Jwtiar Khalid Rahman told BirminghamLive. “When he was fit after one week he got a new injury and he couldn’t play for eight months.
“When he was back, Wolves had already been promoted to the Premier League two or three games before. Nuno didn’t want to risk something, he just wanted to play with the first XI.”
After regaining his fitness in 2018 Ofosu-Ayeh joined German third-tier club Hansa Rostock on loan.
Rahman added: “Nuno told me that he wanted to see Phil in the squad but at the moment it was difficult. He told us to find a club in the Championship or in Bundesliga II so that Phil gets to practice.
“He really liked Phil. They signed Phil with an injury - not every club does that. We received three offers from Bundesliga II but Phil didn’t want to go back there, he wanted to stay in England.
“We spoke to Hull City at that time and to Rotherham, who had just been promoted, but many things happened. We then looked to go back to Bundesliga II but it was too late.
“I told Phil that it was important to get practice and not to care about the second or third division - ‘Nuno knows you, Nuno loves you’.
“We went to Hansa Rostock and he got injured again. When he came back he played well but the coach changed and this coach wanted to play with young players. Phil told me, ‘Listen, it’s very dangerous for me here, let’s go to another team’.”
Würzburger Kickers would become the second and final loan destination of Ofosu-Ayeh’s Wolves career. By this point Wolves were competing in the upper echelons of the Premier League - eventually finishing seventh to secure a Europa League place - and Nuno had moved on from one-time Ghana international Ofosu-Ayeh.
Doherty scored eight goals across that 2018/19 campaign, making him Wolves’ third most potent attacker and redefining the statistical norm for a Premier League wing-back.
As luck would have it, Ofosu-Ayeh’s fate was different. “We moved to Würzburger and he was injured again,” his agent explains.
“If you look at his career he’s maybe had one full season without injury. If he didn’t have these injuries I believe that he would be in the Premier League today.”
Wolves are in the promised land but Ofosu-Ayeh isn’t. The German-born defender, now 29, hasn’t managed to find a new club after his stint in the Wolverhampton wilderness.
He’s currently back in Germany working with personal trainers to maintain his fitness as his agent racks up the overtime in a bid to find him a new employer.
“Phil is not 100 per cent, he needs to play with a team to get the practice. We will have some trials during the next days and hopefully, he can come back to the point where he stopped.”