Questions over Mobido Maiga’s ability to lead the line when Andy Carroll is injured have been posed many times over the transfer window.
This question also may be irrelevant amid rumors that the Mali International may be shipped off before the transfer window shuts, with clubs in France reportedly interested. Many have doubted his talent because of his performances last year but I think this is unfair, Last year Sam played Maiga out of place a lot of the time, having him play on the wings.
There is nothing worse than a player being played out of position if he does not enjoy the position. However Maiga many times has been quoted to look like a headless chicken and lack composure in front of goal. Maiga has proven himself in pre-season and has shown the claret and blue faithful glimpses of talent. For example his goal against Southampton and his pin point cross to spot Nolan against Reading on the last day of the season.
Personally I believe we should have played Maiga instead of Cole. If you look at Maiga’s stats however, they aren’t that bad. He has scored three or four times in pre-season. And in the league last year he started two times and scored two times but he came on as a sub 15 times. So that’s two goals in two starts.
Also it is two goals in two starts in the League Cup. Maiga should be given a second season at least to prove his worth, after all he cost us around £5 million. Don’t forget it took Parker about a year to get in to his groove after signing for us in the summer of 2007. It does look like we will be signing a new striker but as things stand, Maiga looks set to be playing the Stoke match.
We all beamed with joy last season when we saw Maiga take it round Given and nearly make it 2-0 on our first day back. And Neil McDonald has said if Maiga wants to prove himself his chances are there this season. It would be nice to see Maiga do well this season. With Carroll likely to remain out for a few more games, what better an opportunity to show us that he is good enough.
In terms of covering for Carroll, Maiga certainly has more pace and could dribble or take it round a player or two. If he can get on the end of some of the crosses and work on his finishing I think Maiga is adequate enough for cover for big Andy. I would like to see him stay for at least another year.