In the summer of 2018 Genk spent around €3m to sign Ghanaian winger Joseph Paintsil following a successful spell in Hungary with Ferencvaros. In 25 games for the Hungarian side he had scored 10 goals. Yet after two seasons, it appeared that Paintsil did not have a long term future at the club. After six goals in 60 games, he was loaned out to Ankarugucu in Turkey. While in Turkey, he scored 11 goals in 33 games, a nice return for the winger.
Yet, despite rumours that a transfer was imminent, he returned to Genk and fought for his place from July 2021 onwards. Paintsil had to settle for minutes off the bench with the likes of Theo Bongonda and Junya Ito above him in the pecking order, limiting the winger to just 13 league starts during the 2021/2022 season. During that time he provided just two assists and scored three goals.
Yet Ito and Bongonda were gone this summer, and Paintsil had a new coach in Wouter Vranken. This, in hindsight, was just what Paintsil needed. At his former side Mechelen, Vrancken was a huge fan of wingers, with the likes of Nikola Storm being one of his best players. It is no coincident that under the former Belgian international, two of Genk’s best players this season have been wingers. Mike Tresor has been the standout with assists, but Paintsil has been equally as impressive.
Prior to this season, Paintsil had managed just seven goals in three years at Genk. After his brace against Club Brugge this past weekend, the winger is up to 17 league goals, alongside 11 assists. It has been quite the turnaround for the winger at the club, making it easy to forget that he is still just 25-years-old. Transfermarkt currently value the winger at €9m, so should Genk decide to sell they can once again make a tidy profit.
It was remarkable that, even after just a few months of this season, he was not included in the Black Stars squad for the World Cup. Chris Houghton will certainly be unable to ignore the player now. Painstil should certainly, barring injury, be part of the Ghana squad for the African Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire in January 2024.