Moses Simon to Liverpool: The Gent forward linked with Anfield move
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 06/06/18 1:52pm
Who is Moses Simon and what could he offer Liverpool? We take a closer look at the 22-year-old.
According to reports, Liverpool are interested in paying the £10m fee for Simon as he has just one year left on his contract at Gent.
The Nigeria international was a standout performer in the Belgian First Division last season and he looks to have caught the eye of Jurgen Klopp.
But who exactly is Simon and what makes him an enticing prospect for Liverpool? Here's all you need to know...
A difficult fortnight at Ajax
Simon worked his way up the junior ranks at the GBS Academy in Jos. The prestigious academy is famed for producing some of Nigeria's most accomplished footballers including Leicester's Ahmed Musa.
In July 2013, Simon had the opportunity to impress in Europe after he was introduced to Eredivisie giants Ajax by retired Nigeria international Tijani Babangida.
Even though the teenager scored twice in three pre-season friendlies, he was let go roughly a fortnight after his arrival. At the time, Babangida insisted Ajax were supposed to sign him.
''Since the player was in the squad to the Under-20 World Cup, Ajax was supposed to sign him, not to invite him for trials," he told allnigeriasoccer.com.
"Maybe they just wanted to see if he can fit into their system of play as they were not prepared to wait for him to come of age."
It wasn't until January 2014 when Simon was picked up by Slovakian side AS Trencin, whose owner is former Ajax winger Tshcen La Ling.
Breaking through in Belgium
Simon's reputation grew when he scored a 19-minute hat-trick for Trencin on his European debut against FK Vojvodina in a Europa League qualifier in July 2014.
He scored 17 goals in 39 games in total for the Slovak Super Liga side before he was signed by Gent on a three-year contract in January 2015.
His performances in his first few starts for Gent impressed Nigeria coach Daniel Amokachi enough to award him his first cap against Uganda in March 2015. That same season, Simon helped Gent to their first ever top-flight league title.
Ever since his move, Simon has been a regular starter in Belgium. He has made 136 appearances at Gent and has scored 21 goals over four seasons.
In the 2017/18 campaign, Simon scored six goals in 29 appearances playing off the left wing even though he was sidelined for two months at the start of the year with a ligament injury.
Where would he fit in at Liverpool?
Simon is renowned for his blistering pace, directness and the tendency to cut inside. His traits would undoubtedly appeal to manager Klopp and his tactical set-up.
The 22-year-old, who is 5ft 5in, can play across the front line either on the wing - his preference being the left-hand side - or as the main striker while his price tag, combined with his style of play, suggests he would begin as a backup for Liverpool's front three.
His arrival would likely put the future of some of Liverpool's current wingers in doubt. Lazar Markovic is likely to leave Merseyside while Harry Wilson, who impressed on loan at Hull last season, and 18-year-old Ben Woodburn could slide further down Klopp's depth chart.
Will he play at the World Cup?
I will like to thank all my fans for the love, support and prayers during this trying time, you all are amazing people it’s just a pity that I couldn’t make it to #Russia but man proposes but God disposes. I will definitely be back soon stronger and better To #supereagles🇳🇬🦅 I wish u all d best of luck in Russia go and make us proud 💪🏾
Simon, who been capped 17 times by Nigeria, was named in coach Gernot Rohr's provisional 30-man World Cup squad and he was considered a certainty to start for the national team in Russia after playing a key role in qualification - scoring one goal.
But he limped out of a training session on May 24 before a scan revealed he has a thigh injury which will keep him out for a month.
"Yes, Moses is injured and our medical staff told me he is out for at least three or four weeks," Rohr confirmed to reporters.
"This is a confirmation that he will not be with us for the World Cup. This is unfortunate because he was an important player for us during our qualification matches."
Simon vowed on Instagram he would come back "stronger and better". He would surely relish the chance of testing himself at Anfield.