Everything Chelsea fans need to know about Wigan's Victor Moses...
Victor Moses is what I’d call a pinball footballer. He seems to constantly lose control of the ball but within the blink of an eyelid it bounces back to him. It’s like watching that ball bearing flick around the board; you just don’t know where it's going to go next. The ball goes left, right, up in the air and very occasionally in the net.
He is a pretty talented footballer of that there is no doubt. He’s got pace, he can dribble and sometimes, he scores great goals. The word here is precocious I believe. Yet he is still finding his way in the football world. His time at Wigan has been much like his time at Palace: flashes of absolute brilliance intertwined with moments of uncertainty.
I can’t speak with any great authority of his time at Palace mind you; it’s clear that a lot of Eagles fans still quite rightly see him as their boy though having brought him through their youth system but heaven knows whether they’ll feel the same when he moves to Chelsea.
He is not the finished article by any means, he wasn’t when we signed him and maybe he never will be
I can only speak for his time at Wigan Athletic, a mix of flashes of orgasmic brilliance and desperately frustrating foreplay with no end product. He is not the finished article by any means, he wasn’t when we signed him and maybe he never will be. He has phenomenal talent but does he really need to move now, right now? I did a graph over at my blogging site highlighting the no brainer of a quandary Moses is currently in:
Now I know it may look bitter but I bet you it’s also not too far off the mark. I’ve recently been compiling a Top 50 All time Wigan Athletic players list and when you’ve stopped laughing, what is clear is that lots of people leave our club for greater things and those greater things don’t materialise: Roy Carroll, Nathan Ellington, Jimmy Bullard, Paul Scharner, Wilson Palacios.
At Wigan this summer, we’ve already seen Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodallega move to clubs who are at best worth a few places better than us in the Premier League yet trebling their wages into the bargain. This is clearly a contributing factor in the mind of Victor Moses and his agent; and let’s be honest some footballers may be a bit dim but are clearly capable of working out that having a 6 or 7 at the front of their weekly wage packet is preferable to a 2.
I’ve read around about the Chelsea view about this signing and there are a plethora of opinions from “great teams win games, great squads win titles” (i.e. sign him up) to “what we signing him for” – to rot in your reserves and trot out for the odd cup game I imagine?
Football is all around beating the market now and for a club like Wigan Athletic, still, somehow in the Premier League much to the chagrin of all manner of people up and down the country we offer a platform for young, inexperienced players and imports keen to make a mark in the English game.
What we’re finding now is that those gems are not only getting harder and harder to find but that it is getting harder and harder to retain them. It used to be that after a couple of good years the bigger clubs would come knocking, now it’s more like a few months.
Of course, Chelsea can offer Moses something he could never ever dream of at Wigan
As I’ve already alluded to, we diddled a somewhat skint Crystal Palace when we signed Victor Moses but there is no doubting that the young protégé has thrived under Martinez, who in turn has shown this young man a lot of patience. The top clubs now swallow up more young prospects than they can ever hope to need and in return the minnows are expected to be eternally grateful when they let us have one of their third teamers on loan.
Of course, Chelsea can offer Moses something he could never ever dream of at Wigan or indeed all but a handful of other clubs: European football and a shot at winning the Premier League. But I look back to former Wigan star Roy Carroll and what he won in the game. Sure he won honours and trophies at Man United but was he anything other than a “playing in the FA Cup and 6th group game in the Champions League when his team has already qualified” type of player at Man United.
And lest we forget the tale of poor Charlie N’Zogbia, revitalised at Wigan, a dozen goals in the 2010/11 season and completely unplayable on his day. We sold our best player for close to £10m to a team who ended up finishing below us in the league. Still, £60k a week is so much more better than £20k a week so who cares eh Charlie?
Look I’m not a stupid man, there is not a man on this planet who would waive the chance of playing for Chelsea, current champions of Europe (or rather bench warming for Chelsea) than carry on playing for Wigan Athletic for “only” twenty grand a week.
However, that doesn’t make it right. The spectre of Winston Bogarde latterly morphing into Wayne Bridge lingers on. I’m sure Victor Moses believes that sooner or later he will make it into Chelsea’s first team; no footballer thinks that they are joining a club with a view to sitting on the bench, it’s called confidence and why wouldn’t wealthy, supremely talented young men like footballers possess bundles of it?
Moses is potentially as good if not better than Valencia
Indeed who knows, in Antonio Valencia at United he has a ready made blueprint to follow as a player who served his time at Wigan, a shining star in a lesser light and – when the time is right – got picked up by Manchester United and is now a pivotal part of their team. Moses is potentially as good if not better than Valencia. The question is not “why” but “why now” and Antonio had that extra season at Wigan Athletic playing week in, week out in the Premier League and his dream move came to him and paid off handsomely because he was ready for it.
A little bit of me hopes and wants Vic to thrive and prosper, get his chance in Chelsea’s first team and stay there. We do generally want our former players to do well. It is just a criminal waste of talent if a player goes from playing 35 PremIer League games a season to half a dozen purely in the interest of fattening his wage packet. It just feels too soon and it also feels out of character with Moses’ personality and upbringing that he’s jumping ship to sit on the bench for Chelsea and getting a huge pay rise in the process just to be the next Salomon Kalou. A great talent but always with a forlorn look in his eyes as resentment burns away inside of him through too many hours spent sat on the Recaro seats.
Where are the Matt Le Tissiers and Steve Bulls of the modern era?
Maybe though, professional footballers can do no right in my eyes. Sign for a mid tier club like a Sunderland or a Villa and it’s – why move there, you won’t win any more there than you will here. Or but you’ll get more of this (£). And yes - a few more fans to play in front of, by the way, those of you who think that enters a player's brain is also deluding themselves. But then the same applies when a player goes to a top tier club, you’ll earn the (£) and if you’re lucky maybe play a small part in winning something. Is that the aspiration or is that the (£) talking again?
I think we know the answer.
I can write my own comments at the end of the piece if I need to and I can sense my own bitterness creeping through, but this is a bitterness which rages throughout football whenever a player is sold. Where are the Matt Le Tissiers and Steve Bulls of the modern era? They wouldn’t exist, because as soon as they show a glimpse of talent they would have been off. Wayne Rooney could have been coming up to his testimonial year already at Everton had Manchester United not waved a grubby £28m in front of them and a large pay rise in front of the barely out of short pants Rooney.
It’s always the kids I feel sorry for, the young fans of any club. How can they have heroes in the modern game when they are flogged on every couple of years and all but manufacture a move with the aid of their agents?
But back to Victor as I’m already firmly moving into against modern football mode. What will Chelsea get?
A player who will skip past two men then instead of cutting inside
A talented, pacey, skilful attacker who can play out wide or as a withdrawn front man. A man who can ping the ball into the top corner as he did at The Hawthorns last season but famously took 42 attempts to manage it. A player who will skip past two men then instead of cutting inside, will take it to the byline, beat another man, dribble it down the goal-line and then weakly pass it into the ‘keeper's arms. But most importantly a player who can be explosive, sublime, a showboater and scorer of stunning goals when he’s in the mood.
He seems to have developed an inclination for the odd cheeky dive but is generally a warm, engaging character on the field. Always wanting the ball and often wanting too much of it. He will frequently run into trouble by over-dribbling when there is a simple and often crucial pass on. I’m not sure how much he has been developed since his Palace days, there seems to be a suggestion in some quarters that his game has gone backwards. His role at Palace was attacking midfielder / in the hole / free role / false nine whatever you want to call it yet he has been utilised more frequently as wide man in an attacking three at Wigan.
We have seen him go forward at devastating pace breaking down the wings but he doesn’t always take the most logical route to goal so whether that is an instruction by Martinez to act as a more conventional winger who knows but whatever he has been doing, it has been enough to get Chelsea’s attention.
Yep I’ll miss him. Just like we missed N’Zogbia. We’ll move on. Not sure about the fee. I would say £9m is a fair price given what we got for N’Zogbia but when I hear Swansea are quoting £15m for Joe Allen I start to think old man Whelan isn’t as thrifty as he often makes out.
For Wigan, we have youngsters like Callum McManaman and Noah Dicko, both raw with minimal Premier League experience but both enjoyed successful spells on loan at Blackpool last year. Maybe one can step up and be groomed into the next explosive winger for Wigan Athletic. Personally I’d love to see Blackpool’s Matty Phillips in a Wigan Athletic shirt. But like Moses, if any of them perform well, I’ll be back this time next year again moaning about them taking the money and running………
So Chelsea fans, you’ve got a diamond there when you do eventually get him (and I wish you would so that we can move on). A rough diamond mind you but nevertheless a gem to place alongside the other sparklers in your squad.
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