Tenacious, persistent, sturdy, physical and the bicycle man – few words associated with Al Ahli’s incoming front man Moussa Sow.
A last ditch effort from the Dubai based club, having coughed up €16 million, resulted in the Senegalese striker moving from Super Lig Runners up – Fenerbahce SK. A move one might assume is the proof of a strengthening relationship between Fenerbache and the UAE. Last year, Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain were able to secure the services of 2012 FIFA Puskás Award winner – Miraslov Stoch, on a loan deal from the Istanbul side. And to strengthen the bond, Sow’s Nigerian strike partner Emmanuel Emenike made the move (on loan) across the unknown to Al Ain earlier in the summer.
The 29-year-old Sow, joined Fenerbahce from French Side Lille in 2012 and since then had scored 60 goals in 144 appearance for the Yellow Canaries, all the while helping them win a league tittle, two cups and one Super Cup. A legend at Lille, scoring at a rate of nearly a goal for every 100 minutes he’s played, he continued to mesmerise fans and neutrals in Turkey, with his strength, pace and his ability to run behind defences causing serious problems.
However, incoming transfers with likes of Fernando, Brazilian from Bursaspor who tore the Turkish league apart with 22 goals in 32 games, and of course, high profile arrival of Dutch striker Robin Van Persie from Manchester United, signaled the intentions of the club. It would be safe to say that Sow would feel left out while being 3rd choice behind the new arrivals, despite starting against Eskisehirspor and scoring in Fenerbahce’s first game of the season in the 2-0 victory over Eskishehir.
Without any doubt, I can say that, the six time UAE league champions, Al-Ahli, signed one of the best finishers in Turkey and Europe. With Sow’s coming, the club’s Romanian manager Cosmin Olaroiu is in possession of a deadly offensive lineup that boasts of Ex-Benfica Striker Lima dos Santos and Brazilian International Everton Ribeiro, who himself was linked with the likes of European Giants Manchester United, AC Milan and Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.
But it won’t be an easy ride for Sow as he will have to adapt himself in a style of play of that is more lenient as well as to the treacherous weather conditions that exist for a few months during the season. Apart from that, he will have to compete with opponents, who have a similar knack of scoring goals, like Al Jazira’s Mirko Vucinic, Al Shabab’s Jo, Sharjah’s Wanderley and his ex-colleague Al Ain’s Emenike.
Regardless, the club has made their intentions clear after finishing a disappointing seventh last year. And Cosmin has all the resources in his disposal to make sure the club is back to its glorious past. With one draw or win away from reaching the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League and thrashing of Fujairah in the opening league match, the signing of Moussa Sow is nothing but icing on a cake that is to be feasted on.
Not to forget the ability of Fenerbahce’s number 7 to play at various positions within the offensive lineup. On paper, Al Ahli look stronger than ever with players who can finish and those who can provide that last ball for them to finish.
Fenerbahce fans will have to wait till December 1st, in order to observe how the two ex strikers fare in a different country, a different atmosphere and different uniforms. For now, expect a few of these from the Senegalese.