Where Next, Next Season?

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Victor Moses was outstanding for Wigan Athletic during the 2011/12 English Premiership season. That was why the coaching crew of Chelsea lured him to Stamford Bridge but eventually loaned him to Liverpool a season after. Since then, the club he will play for has always been an issue at the beginning of every new season. Next season won’t be any different as West Ham United are ready to invest hugely on new strikers which would mean the Nigerian international would be shipped out of Upton Park. Or will the new Chelsea coach, Antonio Conte see something in him that previous Blues coaches did not see? Kunle Adewale reports

Victor Moses’ celebrated move to Stamford Bridge was not as fruitful as expected. He did not get enough playing time. He was eventually loaned to rivals, Liverpool, in September 2013. In spite of scoring on his debut at Anfield, then Reds’ boss, Brendan Rogers would prefer in-form former Reds winger, Raheem Sterling to the Nigerian and he had to endure another loan spell at Stoke City during the 2014/15 season.

It was another loan spell at West Ham this current season in spite of high speculation that he would stay at his parent club–Chelsea, especially having been given a squad number, the jersey number 20, last won by former Portuguese star, Deco. Moses impressed in all the Blues pre-season friendlies, scoring in the equalizer in the penalty shootout win against PSG in the United States.

With West Ham United co-chairman, David Sullivan revealing on Monday that the Hammers have made a big-money transfer bid for an unnamed striker, Moses’ future in the club now looks uncertain.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the businessman not only confirmed that the Champions League hopefuls had made a move for an attacker, but also that they are planning another high-profile move later this week.

“We’ve put a bid in today for €30m for a player and other bids will be going in. We’re going to make a £20-25m for a player in England, maybe later this week. So, whatever happens, we intend to bring a top striker in.”

While Sullivan sought to play down the revenue boost the club will receive from a switch to the Olympic Stadium, it is understood that the Irons will be looking to reinvest some of the windfall they received from over 52,000 confirmed season ticket holders.

Moves for new strikers at Upton Park may mean the services of Moses are not needed.

Moreover, the Nigerian suffered a long injury spell, which denied West Ham of his services for much of the season and this could be a big minus for Moses in the club’s preparation for next season.

Indeed, Moses revealed that it was injury that forced him out of the national team after playing a key role  in Super Eagles victory at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa with Coach Stephen Keshi in charge. But under coach SundayOliseh, Moses did not lace his boots for Nigeria. His last Super Eagles appearance was in the 2-0 loss to France at the 2014 World Cup but he has reaffirmed his commitment to Nigeria.

 “I’m proud of being a Nigerian international and am always committed to playing for my country,” Moses told BBC Sport. “It’s the best feeling representing your country and I always want to perform and give 100 percent for the team. Unfortunately, I have not been able to play due to injuries but I have an unwavering commitment to Nigeria. There is a new manager and the team has been doing well but without me. I’m prepared to give it my all and fight for a place on a regular basis, that’s my aim. This is football, a competitive stage and I have to fight hard to get in but I don’t mind doing that,” said Moses after he was invited for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt.

And if he has to return to his parent club next season, he would face stiff competition for a place in the starting. Chelsea may have little choice but to send him on another season loan spell or sell him to another club as Moses is no longer getting younger.

As the 2015/16 ends this weekend, the next destination of Moses is being watched with keen interest as he could be anywhere. But it would always be in his interest to play in a team where he would have enough playing time rather than a team where he would just make the numbers. Now 25, the time has come for Moses to settle down at one club and attempt to build a legacy, rather than persistent movement that has characterised his career.

Moses was born in Lagos to a pastor. When he was 11, his parents were among thousands killed by rioters in northern Nigeria. A week later, with his travel paid for by relatives, he came to Britain as an asylum seeker. He attended Stanley Technical High School, now known as the Harris Academy, in South Norwood. Scouted playing football in the local Tandridge League for Cosmos 90 FC, Crystal Palace approached him, with the club’s Selhurst Park stadium just streets away from his school.

Moses first came to prominence at 14 after scoring 50 goals for Palace’s under-14s side. Playing for three years at Whitgift and Palace, Moses scored over 100 goals as well as helping Whitgift win many school cups, including a National Cup where he scored all five goals in the final against Healing School of Grimsby at the Walkers Stadium, Leicester.

Moses joined Chelsea from Wigan for £9m in 2012 and scored 10 goals in his first 12 months with Chelsea’s first team, five of which helped the club claim the Europa League. He was an exciting prospect at Wigan, but he has failed to fulfill his potential at Chelsea, as he was used  sparingly. He featured 23 times during last season’s loan spell at Stoke and remains on the radar for as long as other wing targets slip through the net.

It however remains to be seen if Chelsea’s new gaffer, Antonio Conte, would see in Moses what previous coaches had failed to notice in him.