Premier League

Terem Moffi: What Ligue 1 scoring machine can bring Newcastle

Jacque Talbot
Terem Moffi of Lorient

Newcastle scouts watched Terem Moffi against Monaco, according to reports – but where would the Lorient striker fit in at the Magpies and just what could he bring?

Eddie Howe’s side are yet to make a signing this January transfer window. On one side of it, you can see why. The club, who had ambitions of making the top-eight of the Premier League this season, find themselves in third spot. Champions League wasn’t on the agenda before the campaign kicked off but now they have the rather luxurious dilemma of either fast-forwarding plans to ensure that they earn a place in the competition, or continuing their initial mantra of being organic and taking things slow, easing off the buys until the next transfer window. Sporting director Dan Ashworth recently spoke of Financial Fair Play constraints, too.

The scouting of Moffi – as reported by Football Insider – suggests more of a long-term approach for the Nigerian, a move that could be pounced upon in the summer rather than this winter window.

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So what would they be getting in the forward?

What Moffi can offer Newcastle

The 23-year-old, who stands a prominent 6ft 2in, has netted 33 goals in 86 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 side, playing across three seasons. It makes for a reasonable 0.38 goals a game on average. But Moffi has netted 11 goals in 16 this campaign and is sat third in the top-scorer table, so we are looking at a footballer who is yet to grow into his full potential.

It's been a tremendous season for Eddie Howe's men

It’s been a tremendous season for Eddie Howe’s men

Moffi is one of the most promising young stars playing in the French elite division right now. The media suggest that he won’t be staying at Lorient for any extended period given his rich form and so a summer move looks very plausible.

He has created nine chances this season, with a goal involvement every 119 minutes.

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The left-footed attacker, who has also been known to play the No.10 role, is an astute finisher: he has the intelligence to know what type of shot to pull off and when to pull the trigger, particularly in close quarters. His goals range from lashing one into the roof of the net, to beautifully crafted chips over the goalkeeper. In one-on-one positions, Moffi is extremely deadly. It’s his best attribute by miles. He possesses good close control and technique to find space to enable a shooting opportunity, before hitting one with unrivalled precision and accuracy.

Moffi can get away from his man with a decent engine and turn of pace but it’s not a huge area of his game. Despite his height, his aerial ability isn’t very good either – winning just 23.2% of the duels he’s in. He successfully completes a mediocre 1.23 dribbles per 90 and he does not have much of a passing range, nor presses efficiently – though of course, we must take into account the style of play Lorient coach Regis Le Bris asks of him.

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Newcastle already have Callum Wilson, but he’s injury prone and now in his 30s. Chris Wood will undoubtedly be moved on soon, likely in the summer, and needs replacing. That leaves just Alexander Isak for the No.9 role. A player like Moffi – who FootballTransfers values at €15.6m – would do Newcastle no harm – but given his lack of versatility and work-rate, it’s probable that Howe would overlook him and make a play for someone else.

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