The latest reports from Spain have reaffirmed Rangers interest in Josh Maja but also expect Anderlecht, Real Vallodolid and Fulham to be in the race for the 24-year-old Nigerian striker. Back in May, during a Bordeaux press conference Maja was asked about Rangers interest and at the time he said;
I can’t think about that at the moment. We have so many important games before the end of the season and I have to concentrate on that only.
We’ll see what happens at the end of the season.
I have to wait to hear what the management of this club says and whether they want to keep me.Josh Maja to French media
The interest from Rangers also dates back to when Steven Gerrard was still at the club;
So Rangers courtship of Maja has been a long term deal, will the club actually be able to get him this summer though?
- 37 Appearances (34 Starts)
- 16 Goals
- 21% Goal Conversion Rate
- 6 Assists
- 2 Penalties Won
- 1.2 Key Passes Per Game
- 51% Successful Dribbles (0.6 Per Game)
He is a very strong finisher and ended the season with a goal conversion rate far superior to any current Rangers striker. Alongside his finishing ability, the assist and key pass numbers show how good his link up play is.
Josh Maja is a very technically gifted footballer that possesses excellent ability on the ball alongside being a very strong finisher. He mainly plays through the middle but with his pace and dribbling ability could definitely do a job out on the wing. It’s unclear though, if he did play out wide, if he would be as effective in terms of numbers.
His composure and first touch within the box definitely helps him get a lot of his goals. Positioning is also another one of his strengths, he’s always in the right place to get on the end of a cross or turn in a rebound. What defenders will find difficult about marking him is how he varies his runs. He often switches between darting runs to the front and back posts, making it hard for defenders to know his next move.
This positional intelligence also goes into his movement outside of the box. He’s very clever in knowing when to make the run beyond the last defender and when to drop deep to let someone else make that run. He really excels in his link up play with fellow forwards to help make chances for himself and others. Despite the positional intelligence, his decision making isn’t always spot on. He’s a fan of a fancy flick or two, when completely unnecessary at times and that can cause breakdowns in the attacking play.
That being said, he is an exciting player to watch and one the fans will probably take to immediately. Taking on defenders is something he’s more than capable of, which helps in his ability to create for himself and his team mates. The fancy flicks, when they come off, look spectacular and add a level of invention to his game.
How Close is His Move to Ibrox?
It currently remains unclear where Josh Maja’s preference lies in terms of his next move. If Fulham are indeed involved in the race then it may be hard for Rangers to compete, especially on a financial front. Fulham can definitely offer him higher wages but there are more than a few reasons to favour Rangers. If they are the competition for Rangers it all comes down to the player. Would he favour getting back to the EPL and London on a higher salary? Or would he prefer to play in front of 50k every other week while playing in Europe? For anyone reading this, it’s an easy decision, that may not be the case for Maja though.
That doesn’t even take into consideration the interest from La Liga or Anderlecht. It may also play into Rangers hands that the club have coveted him for almost three years at this point. I think it may be hard to get this one over the line, dependant on who else is in for him obviously.
There’s also the small matter of Bordeaux’s appeal for their punishment because of the incident during the match against Rodez. If the punishment is upheld, Maja is a free agent as of July 1st, if not and Bordeaux get promoted, his contract will automatically extend by 1-year.
If you want to read more on what happened in that match read here.
Josh Maja is an option I’m excited by, particularly on a free transfer. He’s had experience in the English Championship, EPL, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. He has the ability to play up front on his own, on the wing or as part of a two.
That quality and versatility in the forward line is something this Rangers squad needs. There won’t be much better value out there, especially not on a free.
I would love Josh Maja to be one of Rangers forward options come the start of the season. The realism of the deal depends on who else is interested. If the Fulham interest is real, financially Rangers can’t compete.
Time will tell on this one. I don’t see this being a transfer that’s done anytime soon. The player will take his time and eventually come to the decision that is right for him. Hopefully that means we’ll see him at Ibrox next season.
What do you think of Josh Maja? Would he improve the Rangers forward line?