Crystal Palace and Blackburn Rovers were in the forefront of securing the signature of Victor Moses after Maurizio Sarri had stated clearly that the Nigerian had no place in his team and the Blues subsequently placed a £12m price tag on him. However, Moses surprisingly opted for Fenerbahce, a side that only recorded their first win last week with Moses making his debut. The last time the team tasted victory was in November last year, and with relegation staring in the face of the Turkish giant, the pertinent question is whether the Nigerian can salvage the situation, writes Kunle Adewale
Former Nigerian International, Victor Moses last week Friday, completed an 18-month loan move to the Turkish giants, Fenerbahce, in an effort to secure playing time after he was sparingly used by manager Maurizio Sarri this season in spite of flourishing under former manager Antonio Conte as a wing-back helping the Blues win the Premier League and FA Cup title.
Moses has indeed expressed his happiness after completing the one-and-a-half year loan move from Chelsea to Fenerbahce. The move to Istanbul comes as a relief for the wing-back after enduring a torrid spell in the first half of the season.
The 28-year-old found playing time limited under Sarri, featuring in just five matches for the Stamford Bridge outfit in all competitions.
The move to the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium comes as his first transfer outside of England and he has stated his readiness to hit the ground running with appreciative words for the Blues.
“I am delighted to have joined Fenerbahce, a huge club with incredible fans and an amazing history. I can’t wait to get going. I’d also like to thank everyone at Chelsea and I wish the team and the fans the very best for the future,” Moses tweeted.
The right winger penned a contract with The Yellow Canaries after passing a medical following his arrival in Istanbul. With previous loan stints at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham, this is the fourth time he has been farmed out on loan by The Blues in order to experience first-team football on a regular basis.
Moses returned to action on Monday night making his debut appearance for Fenerbahce as a second-half substitute, replacing Yacine Benzia in the 67th minute in a 3-2 win over Yeni Malatyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig.
He was an impact substitute playing as a winger and scored 100 per cent completed passes and also topped the game’s stats for most successful dribbles, per whoscored.com on their way to picking maximum points.
The victory saw Fenerbahce snap a four-game winless run; their first league win since November 11 and also propelled them from the red zone to 14th in the table.
Chelsea assistant coach and club’s legend Gianfranco in a reaction to Moses departure to Fenerbahce said, “It’s a pity because he (Victor Moses) is a wonderful professional but he couldn’t find the opportunities to show his value.”
Moses dream of playing a key role at Chelsea under Sarri hit the rock after the Blues have made it clear to the Nigerian that he has no place in the team, with the Italian Manager insisting he does not know where the 27-year-old winger will fit in his current Blues squad.
Before the start of the season, Moses had said he was looking forward to a successful season under Sarri despite the cloud of uncertainty in securing a starting shirt under the new Chelsea manager.
Speaking in an interview with Chelsea FC’s website, Moses insisted he was not looking to leave the club, but embrace the Italian’s methods.
“We’re looking forward to it. Obviously, we have a new manager now, he’s got a new philosophy and we’re looking good in training. We just want to work hard together as a team and make sure we understand what he wants from us and do the best we can this season. Chelsea is a big club. It’s a club with a great history, we’ve won loads of big trophies, and we always want to do that. With the players we’ve got and ability that we’ve got, we just want to keep on working hard together to make the club great and keep doing well,” he said.
An indictment of his appropriateness for Sarri’s way of football came in early November in the build-up to Chelsea hosting Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge wherein the Italian gave his honest opinion about the winger being suited to a wing-back role rather than at right-back in a back four or as a right-winger.
It was a somewhat odd statement, given the player had played as a winger for the larger part of his career at Palace, Wigan, in West London and at loan at Liverpool and West Ham United.
Barring another upheaval in the hot seat at the Bridge, it is likely Moses has played his final game in Chelsea blue.
While his time at the club didn’t end in a way he’d have liked, nonetheless, it should not taint the player’s fleeting period of success under Conte.
In that time, he proved he could be more than just a blue-collar mid-table winger, by playing a major role in securing the club a fifth Premier League title in 2016/17 as well as an eighth FA Cup win at the end of last season.
Admittedly, he was only centrepiece for two years, which won’t see him go down as a Stamford Bridge legend; however, his impact over the Conte-led revolution in England (which saw teams adopt more formations accommodating wing-backs) won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Leaving the comfort of England for the uncertainty of Turkey for a temporary spell at Fenerbahce is as much of a risk as it is a fascinating challenge.
The Turkish giants are among one of Europe’s best-supported clubs but are currently on the decline and could be relegated if they fail to turn around their fortunes.
With an estimated 28 million supporters worldwide, the football club have in the past signed great players like Jay Jay Austin Okocha, Roberto Carlos, Jose Marie Guti, Robin Van Persie and legendary Turkish keeper Rustu Recber.
However, the Yellow Canneries have been struggling, dropping points against Buraspor with a squad that have the likes of Martin Skrtel, Roberto Soldado, Andre Ayew and Islam Slimani.
And now ex-Super Eagles star has been signed on loan from Premier League side Chelsea with the hope of changing their dwindling form.
Fenerbache used their increased broadcast revenues to gamble on huge signings with the aim of adding a million members to their fan base. But, the strategy proved costly on resources as club President Ali Koc revealed they had generated a massive £548million in debts last July.
In 2013, the club was axed from participating in European competitions for two years following their involvement in match-fixing scandal on the domestic scene.
“Nobody could have predicted this crisis. I apologise for the suffering that has been caused,” the club president bemoans.
The last time Fenerbahce finished outside the top three places was in 2009 but their current form sees them winless in their last nine games. However, Fener are through to the last 32 of the Europa League and will play Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg following their dreadful campaign.
The lowest point of their season was the 3-0 loss to Cay Rizepor which got Dutch boss Philip sacked and was replaced by former national team coach Ersun Yanal. The club’s two African strikers, Ghana’s Ayew and Algeria’s Slimani have only managed seven goals between them this season but Moses’ inclusion could bring a positive difference for the remainder of the season.
Now out of the mainstream of big European football nation, Moses may have to renege on his decision to quit international football as he would need the national team as a launch-pad in career.
As part of measures to establish himself in Stamford Bridge the 27-year-old quitted international football to concentrate on his club career but the objective seems to be defeated as he is finding regular playing time difficult under Chelsea Sarri.
“I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on club career,” Moses had said while announcing his retirement from the national team.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr, has given condition with which Moses can return to the Super Eagles.
“If he wants to come back, it’s an advantage to the team only if he can attain the standard he puts up in the last installment with the team. He must show lots of motivation, he must show that he is fit to play for the team because we have other players playing well in his position now.
“Moses has to be strong to come back to the team because we have more options on the wings now like Samuel Kalu, Samuel Chukwueze, Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa. All these players are very good on his wings,” he remarked.
Moses shocked soccer loving Nigerians last August as he announced his retirement from international football after playing 37 matches and scoring 12 goals for Nigeria.