There are so many unknowns when a team gains top-flight promotion after many years of absence. Indeed, its a massive gamble when changes are made from the managerial side down to the squad and even infrastructure.
Terem Moffi: The man to take Lorient higher in Ligue 1
The Nigerian forward has been a catalyst for Les Merlus in the French top-flight.
You wonder if all that which costs a considerable amount of money will yield the desired results. Well for Lorient, it did exactly just that.
After a four-year absence from the French Ligue 1, they made a return ahead of the 2020-21 season by finishing first in Ligue 2. One of their best decisions was the signing of Terem Moffi for €8 million from Kortrijk in Belgium.
The Nigerian forward was an instant hit for Les Merlus and he ended up bagging 14 goals which saw him finish as joint fifth-highest goal scorer in the league.
A fantastic way for the prolific man to announce himself on a bigger stage having previously played in Lithuania.
Seeing some of the results Lorient bagged last season such as the victories over PSG and Bordeaux and draws at OGC Nice and AS Monaco, all which were possible thanks to Moffi’s direct input, there was that expectation that Christophe Pelissier’s side will do better after last season’s 16th position finish, and so they have, with just one loss in nine games, winning three and drawing five. Some of the notable results have been victories against Monaco again, Nice and last season’s champions Lille, as well as a draw at Lyon.
Moffi of course has played his bit here with two goals and two assists already to his name. All of this sees Lorient within the top 10 of the Ligue 1.
Is such form sustainable to finish within that spot and possibly aim for the European places?
Definitely. After all, RC Lens gained promotion at the same time as Lorient after an even longer absence, and they outdid themselves and finished seventh last season, narrowly missing out on Europa League qualification. This term, they’ve become more formidable as they lurk in the top three. This has been made possible with players such as DR Congo and ex-Chelsea man Gael Kakuta pulling the strings.
For Lorient, Moffi will be the key man as usual. His finishing, dribbling, ability to shot from range and threat on the counter, make the Brittany-based team very solid, something coach Pelissier sees as an advantage.
“When you have a player of this quality in your workforce, you do not hesitate (to start him, even if he has just returned from international duty),” Pelissier said after Lorient’s 2-1 victory over Lille in which Moffi scored the winner and assisted the first goal, all off the bench.
“I don’t like to bring out individualities, there have been a lot of them, but he is a player who brings us a plus.”
Pelissier is pleased Moffi has remained at the Stade du Moustoir for the foreseeable future and believes their fine start to the season will be a pain in the butt for other teams.
“We are very happy that he is still with us. For the rest of the season, we know our qualities, we know our strengths, we must remain in this dynamic. The day we believe it’s too easy, we will be in danger. But, if we continue like this, we will annoy a lot of teams,” he stated.
Should Lorient eventually make such a giant leap on the log, it will be no surprise if a host of clubs come rushing to secure Moffi’s services next summer. Atletico Madrid were rumored this summer and there could be more as the demand for a center forward will increase by this time.
If will be a testament to the fine reputation Moffi has built for himself in the shortest possible space of time.
Kunle is an avid writer with interest in topics on sports, politics and health. His articles have featured in Goal.com, Opera News and Vanguard News. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in International Relations and is an advocate for people living with Hydrocephalus and other neurological conditions. Follow him on Twitter: @kfayiga
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: