Who Is Moses Simon?
When I was watching AS Trencin’s home game against some average Fortuna League team, my intention was to learn more about Moses Simon’s ex-team-mate Tomas Malec. İn that game, Moses Simon was flawless and he brought all three points to his team almost on his own. Since that day, I have tried to follow him closely. Moses was born in Jos, Nigeria on 12 July 1995. He started his early career at the famous GBS Academy of Africa region. After spending ten years at GBS, Moses has been heavily linked with a move to Ajax, Liverpool and Tottenham. After some tumultuous weeks, he signed a pre-contractual agreement with the Dutch giant and played two friendly games in an Ajax jersey. Although, they decided not to sign a contract with the young Nigerian, Ajax’s partner club AS Trencin from Slovakia made a move and signed young prospect.
His official start to his European career was in Slovakia. He made his league debut against MFK Kosice as a right winger. Moses began his Europa league career with a hattrick against Serbian side Novi Sad. Although they couldn’t run away from elimination in the next round against Hull City, Moses played key role in the team. After a number of piquant performances in Slovakia, the Nigerian was linked with moves to Liverpool, Tottenham and Ajax again but the courageous KAA Gent made a brave move and secured the Nigerian international’s services until 2018.
He made his Gent debut against Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz in a league game but four days later, when he was a starter against Lokeren in a cup game, he got sent off after 30 seconds. Interestingly, Moses played against Lokeren once more and produced a hattrick. Up until now, Moses has played 8 games with Gent and has scored 6 goals and provided 3 assists. In 2014 – 15 season, both for AS Trencin and Gent combined, he played in 34 games and in those games, he scored 16 goals and gave 10 assists.
His national team career hasn’t been as expected but he’ll definitely play a key role very soon in the near future. So far, he has only played twice for Nigeria. He did have exposure to the national outfit at youth stages but failed to score for his country. If he continues to play like this though, he’ll definitely be a good goal scoring winger for Nigeria. “It was in mind to come but my club didn’t allow me to come for the African U-20 Championship in Senegal. I tried everything but it was not meant to be. I will be willing to come if I am invited for the FIFA World Cup,” (via thenationonlineng). He wanted to play at 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup as well but his club didn’t allow him to attend the competition. The January move has had an adverse effect on his national team career on a short term basis but with the quality of his current performances, he could be the one to kick off a new era for the Nigerian national team this summer.
Style of Play, Strengths and Weaknesses
Moses Simon is a pacey winger and is always willing to cut inside. Unsurprisingly, he can play on both flanks. He is always mobile up front, and makes the most of his excellent acceleration and pace. One of the best things he does on the pitch is that he notices the empty spaces between the defenders and makes deadly runs into those spaces. The youngster is good at take ons as well. He is a shrewd player, who usually gets inside the box to benefit from crosses from the opposite flank. As a result, he’s scored some decent goals when he was at AS Trencin and now at Gent. Diving is one of the most odious forms of behaviour from footballers and gladly, Simon doesn’t go down easily and is able to protect his balance while on the run with the ball. He doesn’t go looking for a penalty or a foul around the box, and directly runs towards the goal which is an important facet in his perception of football. This appreciable behaviour also has a good influence on his stats.
Moses is very effective during transitions via his decent dribbling quality and composure. He has been a real threat since the January transfer to Belgium. Technically, the Nigerian is quite sound. He has good ball control – especially while controlling long parallel passes – good passing ability and a good first touch. He doesn’t have to slow down to control the long passes, he can control the ball when he is at the peak of a sprint and this ability makes him rather effective on counter attacks. He changes direction at such a pace allowing him to fir the bill in the modern era of football. Most importantly, he can combine all these qualities during transition games and benefit from this during such situations, as we’ve seen it at Gent and AS Trencin.
He almost has an inerrant game inside of the box and this directly reflects in his goals and assists numbers. He has great finishing abilities, thanks to his composure and technique. The most mesmerizing thing about his career so far is how his performances keep improving parallel to the level he plays, constantly providing the best for his team. You can see it reflected in his performances and stats. He played four Europa League qualification games and scored three goals, moved to Belgium in January and so far, he’s managed to play in 8 games, scored 6 and given 3 assists. A sign that his mental attributes and adaptation process is well advanced? I think so!
As far as I observed, he should improve in physical department. Yes, he is fast, agile and has decent balance but his stamina may not be enough to play at top level. He can keep up with the tempo but may have some serious problems against physical defenders. He should improve his defensive contribution, as well. His presence in defence may be a bit artificial and his unwillingness to work off the ball is something he will have to change. Generally, I had believed that he doesn’t have enough defensive knowledge to play at top level but one can clearly make out that he is open to improving himself and he can learn. Even though he is fast player, he doesn’t think fast enough with the ball. As we all know, great footballers should be clever on the pitch. They have to think fast and implement their thoughts the right away. Regrettably, he can’t do this effectively.
What does the future hold?
Simon just moved to Gent and there won’t be any transfer action in immediate future. He is playing in one of the best leagues for the youth prospects and will have chances to showcase all his talents against likes of Tielemans and Mitrovic. More importantly, La Liga, EPL and Bundesliga giants continuously prefer to observe Belgian Pro League. Therefore, football scouts from bigger leagues will observe his development closely. Gent just signed him for a really good price and after half a season they would not be willing to sell their Nigerian starlet. He can work on his price tag in the next year or two and I assume that Gent will want to wait around that time for a potential sale, but he signed a three year contract with them and if Gent want to get the maximum transfer fee, the summer of 2016 will possibly be the best time to let the kid move. My general thought is that he will stay in Belgium for at least one more season and if he can make the foreseeable improvment then he can move to a better league.
Written by Mert Conker