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Moses Simon to Levante: Good business for all parties

16:36 BST 08/08/2018
Moses Simon
The Nigerian international missed out on a move to Anfield, but heading to Spain may represent a particularly rewarding move

COMMENT    By Kunle Fayiga    

Moses Simon looked set to play a key role in Nigeria’s World Cup campaign, but the misfortune with injury that struck a number of players before the Mundial also denied the wideman the opportunity to make an impact in Russia.

There is some thought that his presence would have prevented the Super Eagles from an early exit, and certainly, Gernot Rohr's side weren't as effective without him.

Beyond missing out on global football's biggest spectacle, Simon had been linked with a move to Liverpool this summer.

Reports of a £10 million switch from Belgian club Gent to Anfield were abundant, but the Reds instead went for £13 million man Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City.

Simon settled for a move to Spanish top-flight side Levante on a five-year contract, which was confirmed on Monday. While this is a step down from a potentially lucrative Liverpool deal, the move to a lesser side in the Iberian nation still favours the 23-year old player and represents a major boost to his career.

Moving to Spain is a plus for Simon in that he's arriving at one of the world's top leagues.

Gent might have more success than Levante, but getting to play in a league that is among the most watched on the globe means he will be more visible to fans and potential suitors.

Furthermore, he will slug it out against some of the finest players in the game, and share a stage with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann among others.

Moses played a key role for Gent, especially during the 2014/2015 season, where he scored seven goals and created four assists as the Buffalos won their first-ever league title. In all, the former AS Trencin wideman had a hand in 39 goals in 136 games for the Belgian outfit.

Levante have picked up a real bargain in Simon.

They have been known to be relegation battlers, and have been in an out of the Spanish top flight during their history, but a 15th-place finish last term, 17 points clear of danger, could represent a shift in their fortunes.

With Africans already at the club in Ghana’s Emmauel Boateng – scorer of the hat-trick in the 5-4 demolition of Barcelona that ended the Catalan giants' hopes of going the previous campaign unbeaten - Raphael Dwamena, and Ivorian Cheick Doukoure, Los Granotas might make a big leap in the coming season.

Simon’s arrival at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia gives him a chance to build on his reputation and personality, as he is still only 23.

Should the Jos-born winger make his mark in the Valencian Community, Liverpool or another European heavyweight could come back for his services in the future.

Simon played a crucial role during the Super Eagles' unbeaten World Cup qualification, starting four of the six games. It was a tough reality that he missed out on the World Cup, but a switch to Levante is the ideal boost for the wideman as he looks to rediscover his lost momentum.

If he can stay fit, and adapt well to the Spanish top flight, then expect him to play a key role as Nigeria look to win a fourth continental crown next summer.