Terem Moffi: Can Lorient Hold on to Nigerian Jewel?

Terem Moffi: Can Lorient Hold on to Nigerian Jewel?

After his 14 goals helped keep FC Lorient at the elite division of French football last season, chances that the club could still hold on to Terem Moffi looked very slim especially with interest from top European sides. This term, he has  scored 10 goals in 14 games for Les Merlus and is only two goals behind Ligue 1 top scorer, Kylian Mbappé and one behind Brazilian Neymar. His performance is therefore attracting interest from three Premier League clubs- Brighton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, with the Villa Park side leading the race. It would therefore take more than persuasion from Lorient’s egg heads to stop the striker from ‘jumping the ship’

If Jeunesfooteux’s report is anything to go by, FC Lorient will find it really tough to hold on to their Nigerian striker, Terem Moffi.  Premier League trio of Brighton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are set to price away the in-form Super Eagle from Les Merlus, while Bundesliga club, Borussia Mönchengladbach, are also lurking.

Moffi has been outstanding for FC Lorient this season, contributing a reasonable number of goals to the team, and has therefore drawn the interest of a few Premier League teams thanks to his great play for FC Lorient.

After scoring 10 goals in 14 games for the French team, the forward’s confidence has returned.

The striker is now in third place among Ligue 1’s leading goal scorers, two goals behind France’s Kylian Mbappé and only one behind the Brazilian attacker, Neymar, who has 11 goals.

However, registering 10 goals in 1032 minutes played for his club this season, the striker’s performance did not go unnoticed.

The striker is the top target for three teams, including Brighton, Crystal Palace, and Aston Villa, according to jeunesfooteux.

The powerful FC Lorient striker’s performances are reportedly being closely watched by Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach, according to other sources.

Terem Moffi’s name has been added to the shortlist of players the German club is considering replacing Marcus Thuram, whose contract expires at the conclusion of the current campaign.

The 23-year-old, who has a contract with the Ligue 1 team, is obligated to remain at Stade du Moustoir until the 2024 season. 

Aston Villa are interested in signing Moffi in the January transfer window.

According to reports, Aston Villa is a possible landing destination for the Nigerian.

Should Villa decide to follow through with their interest, they would be getting a certified goalscorer who is a handful for defenders. Although Moffi will have to compete with Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings for a starting spot, the fact that Villa are heavily intent on recruiting somebody in that position means there is an opening in attack.

The strikers current deal at Lorient is set to expire in 2024 and it is believed that an offer of around €20million would be enough to secure his services.

The attacker has earned rave reviews this season and may have played his way into the current Super Eagles setup despite the avalanche of player at coach, Jose Peseiro’s disposal.

The former Kortrijk star has gone on to become a real star for Lorient this season and would cause teams to raise their heads in his direction after being linked with a transfer away from the club last season.

Lorient are one of the most in-form teams in the top five European Leagues at the moment with six consecutive wins in the top-flight, same as La Liga giants Barcelona.

Moffi has been their key player in that run, with his brace at the Stade Francis-Le Blé adding to his efforts against Olympique Lyon and Auxerre.

With a rating of 9.1, Moffi was the best-rated player in the Team of the Week ahead of Rennes’ Martin Terrier (9.0) and Clermont Foot’s Grejohn Kyei (8.8).

Against Stade Brestois, the Super Eagles striker registered a game-high three shots on target, made three key passes, won two aerial duels and was accurate in 81.3 per cent of his passes while making 34 touches.

With 14 goals in Ligue 1 last season, bettered only by Mbappe, many felt Lorient will find it hard to hold on to their jewel but against all odds, the Enugu-born striker stayed put.

Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund trailed the Lorient’s new kid on the block as the German side were in search of a replacement for striker Erling Haaland who moved to Manchester City.

Last season, Moffi took the French top-flight by storm, netting 14 goals for lowly FC Lorient in just his debut season in France.

Six of the Nigerian’s goals have come in his last three games as he powered struggling Les Merlus away from relegation troubles.

Indeed, Erstwhile Nigeria manager, Gernot Rohr believes Moffi can become a great striker in future given his qualities.

Moffi made the headlines back in his homeland after netting his first career hat-trick in the French Ligue 1 against a club very close to Rohr’s heart, Bordeaux.

“Christophe Pelissier (the Lorient coach) is in a better position than I to know, because he sees him every day in training,” Rohr had told French newspaper Ouest France.

“Personally, I am waiting to see him in training. I think he can be a good striker; although the bar is quite high in Nigeria, there have always been good center-forwards.

“But I must say that the progress he is making at Lorient is impressive.”

Rohr added: “He gained confidence. You can see it in his game; he dares to dribble, to perform technical gestures that can only be done when you are confident.

“He is in great shape, in full physical possession of his means.”

For now Moffi his not thinking of any other club aside Lorient inspite of dreaming to play for a bigger club in future

“Like any footballer, I dream of playing for top clubs. But now, I am focused on Lorient.

 “Soccer is the most important sport in Nigeria. When the national team plays, the country stops. Everyone is in front of their TV. I wouldn’t say it’s a religion, but everyone loves football back home.

 “I grew up watching Jay-Jay Okocha, Obafemi Martins, Nwankwo Kanu, then Victor Osimhen plays. I watch him play a lot, we played together (with Golden Eaglets), he’s a real example.

“Otherwise, I am very often compared to Romelu Lukaku, but I am far from his level! Otherwise, I love Didier Drogba, especially when he was playing for Chelsea. I am also a big fan of Robin Van Persie. He was the best, for me.”

Moffi grew up in a football family as his father played as a goalkeeper. His father, Leo, was a teammate of Alex Iwobi’s father, Chuka, at Vasco da Gama of Enugu.

The two played together in the local league during the 80s and developed a bond which has now been passed on to their children.

According to Ligue 1 official site, Moffi and Iwobi spent a lot of time growing up before the latter moved to London at the age of six.

A few years later, Moffi also left Nigeria for London to complete his education at the Buckswood Football Academy.

“I managed to get into an English school at the age of 17 because of football. I chose this life, and I wanted to succeed in football,” Moffi told Ouest France per Ligue 1 website.

The 21-year-old joined Lithuanian side, Kauno Zalgiris, shortly after arriving in England before signing for another Lithuanian club, FK Riteriai.

His spell at Riteriai got the attention of Kortrijk, who brought him to the Belgian top-flight in January 2020. Eight months later, Lorient paid eight million euros to bring him to Ligue 1.

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