Ex-Villarreal, Elche and Espanyol player Wakaso Mubarak is returning to La Liga, if not exactly to the Spanish mainland. Still property of Rubin Kazan in Russia, he has been loaned to UD Las Palmas this season, and there is apparently a purchase option included in the deal.
Wakaso has had something of a checkered past, to be generous, with a lot of labels on his luggage. He moved to Elche in 2008, aged 18, on a five year contract, but lasted only for a couple of years there before being released for various breaches of club discipline in January 2011.
Undeterred, Villarreal signed him and he played some first-team matches, mostly as a substitute, though he also played in four Europa League matches, including against Bayer Leverkusen where he created a penalty against the German side with a dangerous run into the box. Toward the end of the season he went back to play for the B team, struggling to remain in the Segunda. He didn't get into many matches--only five--but he did score a screamer of a goal in one of our last games of the season to help keep the B team up.
At that point, the future looked pretty bright for him, but the 2011-12 season was a disaster for Villarreal, and for Wakaso. In spite of frequent reports that he was one of our most impressive players in practice, he seldom reached the pitch, playing in only six matches all season. He did appear in our four Champions League losses, but will mostly be remembered for a last-second unsuccessful slide tackle that played David Silva onside for a last-second goal in Manchester.
There's no way to know what was really going on with him, and maybe it was just that he landed in Garrido's doghouse and the fired coach forgot to give his successors the key to let him out, but he was sold to Espanyol, since he clearly wasn't going to play for us in the Segunda. He penned a four-year contract with the Catalans.
2012-13 went pretty well with the péricos, he started 23 matches, played in 27 in all, and scored three goals. But, the perpetually cash-strapped team sold him to Rubin Kazan for around €7m, half of which Villarreal got, so we made a nice profit on the deal.
He played in only 16 matches for Rubin (granted, some of this was because he away on international duty for Ghana) and was loaned to Celtic in August 2014. Despite scoring on his debut in a qualifier against Red Bull Salzburg, Wakaso only played five matches in the Scottish Premership.
Now he returns to La Liga. So will Las Palmas get the player who did so well in 2012-13 with Espanyol, or the player who, for whatever reason, seldom gets minutes on the pitch? We'll have to see.