After failing to establish himself in the Levante’s starting 11 last season, Moses Simon decided to take his trade to French Ligue 1 side, Nantes, and the move is proving to be a success story-from banging his first hattrick to being voted Player of the Month
Nigeria international, Moses Simon has been impressive since joining FC Nante on loan from Spanish side, Levante. Only last month, he scored four goals including a hat-trick against FC Paris in the French League Cup and it therefore came as no surprise when he was voted the Player of the Month.
Simon revealed he was thoroughly enjoying a new lease of life in France.
“I am more relaxed and settled at Nantes, no pressure. I am also playing to my full potentials because here I am a very offensive winger,” he explained.
“At Levante, I had to fall back to help out in the defence. Now, I am a winger in a 4-3-3 formation as against the 3-5-2 we played in Spain. And so the goals and assists are coming now.”
Simon is however optimistic his current scoring form for FC Nantes will continue with the Super Eagles.
The on-loan Levante forward, who made his Eagles return in the Africa Cup of Nation qualifiers against Benin after missing the last friendly with Brazil through injury, told AOIFootball.com from his base in France that he now aimed to take his current form to the National team.
“It’s been an amazing season for me so far here in France; the team is doing well and I hope to also take the same form to the National team, especially with the AFCON qualifiers fast approaching,” Simon said.
The 24-year-old, who is expected to earn his 30th cap if selected against Benin Republic, however stated that he hoped to mark the landmark appearance with yet another international goal but posited that the team’s overall success remained the goal for him and not personal glory.
The pacy winger has been a revelation since completing a loan move to France in August as he has scored five goals with two assists in 10 appearances across all competitions, with Nantes sitting second on the French Ligue 1 table with 19 points after 11 games.
Simon moved to Levante UD for about five million Euros, which is a figure far from the 20 million Euros a top official had predicted KAA Gent will eventually sell him.
Gent sports director Michel Louwagie proudly predicted that his club would break transfer records when they eventually sell the Nigeria winger after they bought him from Slovak club AS Trencin for 650,000 Euros in January 2015.
“The transfer record in Belgium will have to be shattered when we sell Moses. We will be talking of about 20 million Euros,” Louwagie predicted. The prediction was prompted by the fact that Moses was an instant sensation in Belgium.
But the player will go on to suffer injuries and lack of consistency for such huge hope not to be fulfilled in the three and a half seasons he was there.
Altogether, he scored 21 goals and provided 18 assists in 136 appearances for ‘The Buffaloes’.
He was handed a five-year deal by Levante to finally live up to his potentials in Spain.
He won the Belgian league with Gent in his first season after his transfer from Slovak club AS Trencin.
KAA Gent paid glowing tributes to Simon after the player secured a move to Spanish club, Levante.
“He leaves the club with his head up and will forever belong to the select group of players who won the first league title in the history for our club and then became part of a historic Champions League campaign stamped in the collective Belgian football memory. The following season, he was also a member of the group of players that beat Tottenham at Wembley in the Europa League,” the club said in its official website then.
“Immediately after his transfer, he was the only player who spoke openly about obtaining the title “with the help of God”. It turned out to be prophetic words.
“Moses started as a whirlwind in the Belgian league and played regularly for KAA Gent from January 2015 until the start of the playoffs in the same season in the race for the championship.
“During his time at the Buffalo’s, he was feared for his vicious dribbles, his incredible speed and his hard shot and loved because of his cheerful personality and his generous smile. He was often the creator of important goals, like last season when he scored the only goal in the penultimate match of the playoffs in the 1-0 victory against Anderlecht.
When Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr rolled out his 30-man provisional list for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with Simon included, the player believed he was just inches away from achieving his long-time dream of playing in the World Cup. But it was not to be as injury ruined his dream.
Simon sustained a thigh injury in his second training session with the Super Eagles in Uyo and his World Cup dream was shattered.
“It is unfortunate Moses Simon will not be travelling with the team to London because he is down with an injury. The nature of his injury is such that he won’t be recovering quickly enough to make the World Cup. We are looking at three to four weeks and thereafter, rehabilitation training will start before getting to match fitness level. You can see that the situation is not good for him and for the team as well,” Rohr had said.