MAJA'S MAGIC BOOTS: CAN THE NIGERIAN STRIKER KEEP FULHAM IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?
This season has not been amazing for Fulham. They currently sit at 18th in the Premier League table, three points away from Newcastle in 17th. However, things could be on their way to getting better with their deadline day signing, Josh Maja, already making an impact at the club.
Maja is on loan from Bordeaux and is a former Sunderland AFC striker, seen in the Netflix documentary ‘Sunderland till I die’, where he is heavily portrayed as a villain.
He got his first start against Everton and netted two goals against the Toffees. The outstanding performance gave Fulham a vital, and unexpected win against an Everton side that have been flying this season.
Three points for a relegation side and already it seems like Fulham fans are pinning their Premier League survival hopes on the striker.
Maja also appeared in Fulham’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United, another team who are fighting for survival. Although he didn’t score, Maja was impressive and made plenty of promising runs that could easily be capitalised on. Hopefully, the striker will not be starved of the service he so desires and needs to succeed at the Cottagers.
Whilst it is still early days for Nigerian born Maja, he shows plenty of promise and has a good goal record for Sunderland behind him. His proven goal record speaks wonders to the type of player he is, his instincts will be priceless for a Fulham side that have the second worst shot conversion rate in the Premier League this season at 5.1%, only 0.1% better than fellow relegation battlers Sheffield United
Maja has described himself as a ‘gambler’, he’s persistent and wants to score. The work rate he will provide to Scott Parker’s side will be vital throughout their relegation battle.
It isn’t the case that Maja is Fulham’s only striker, they have the ferocious Aleksandar Mitrovic who made way for Maja’s start against Everton after recording a positive COVID-19 test.
The competition for places within any squad is healthy, especially when a team, like Fulham, are fighting for survival. Having options is something that will aid the fight, if someone is out of form then the team can be shifted around to accommodate those who are in form. Goals are often the difference between relegation and survival and having two prolific strikers is a blessing for a side like Fulham.
It is important that the pressure is not piled on Maja to perform, at only 22 years old it would be so easy to psych the youngster out and draw a close to his goal-scoring. Parker admits that although he is impressed by Maja, he will not put pressure on him to perform.
Even though Maja was painted as the villain in Sunderland’s documentary, causing many people to believe he had an attitude problem, his former manager, Jack Ross, did not have any ill will towards him. Maja returned to Sunderland after leaving to thank coaching staff, management and people who worked around the club with handwritten notes.
Ross even said that Maja was a humble young man and a hard worker. This is the version of Maja that Fulham fans are hopeful they will get to enjoy.