A man reborn. Phoenix rising from the ashes. Back from the dead. Any phrase would be a fitting reflection on the Nigerian’s meteoric rise under Antonio Conte.
In the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ against Tottenham, Victor Moses looked real dangerous. Every time he had the ball, he looked to steam forward. Spurs had their task cut out. And in the end, the ‘wing-back’ was rewarded with the winner. Its just another example of how easily he has slotted into Conte’s system. This is a man renewed and reborn. His manager, fans and critics alike have taken to his new avatar. But he had to fight to earn this — for Victor Moses’ Chelsea career had the hallmarks of failure stamped across it.
Moses made his Premier League debut with Wigan in 2012. He was a promising figure for the Latics. It was only a matter of time before he would move onto bigger clubs. Then in the summer of 2012, Victor Moses signed for then European champions, Chelsea. In his debut season for the Blues, he scored 10 goals across all competition. Then José Mourinho happened. The Portuguese found the winger as surplus. That kicked of a period of three years away from ‘home’. He spent the last year on loan at West Ham. The year before to Stoke and the year before that to Liverpool. In fact, Hammers boss Slaven Bilić had the option to make the loan a permanent move. But the Croat let it slide away. Moses would return to Chelsea and to an uncertain future.
Enter Antonio Conte.
With a new manager in charge, Moses put his full hearted effort on show in preseason. Antonio Conte saw something in the Nigerian. It was enough for the Italian to make up his mind. He gave Moses a place in his squad, he gave him game time. More importantly, he trusted him. Moses was involved in the first match of the season against West Ham — his first league appearance for the Blues in over three years. He replaced Eden Hazard. I was among the many who were surprised.
After the defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, Conte switched to his preferred 3–5–2 that bought him much success in Italy. Moses was handed a new position. The winger had become the wing-back. The Nigerian has gone on to put a stellar show. Chelsea went 6 matches on the run without conceding while goals were racked up at the opposite end. Moses was influential. He had found the right balance between attack and defense. He has become a force to reckon with. On Saturday, he scored the winner against Tottenham. He won the MOTM — that’s two in two matches for the Nigerian.
But wait, it gets better.
The real cherry is the news that Barcelona are gearing up a bid for Moses. The think tank at the Nou Camp has identified the Nigerian as a potential replacement for the great Dani Alves. Big shoes to fill indeed. Of course dozens and dozens of gossips swirl in the footballing circuit. This might well be too. But few months back, not even Moses would have ever dreamt of being associated with Barcelona in any context. Now Chelsea are keen to tie down their winger er…wing back to a new contract. If Moses keeps churning such performances, well Chelsea, you gotta hurry.
The good thing for Moses is that after a long time, he is finally playing for a manager who trusts him and thinks highly of his talents. That confidence has taken to the field. Conte has the abilities to mold Moses to a great. After all, the Nigerian has much potential.
Moses has determination and the will to fight. From the hardships of a traumatizing childhood in Nigeria, where both his parents were murdered to coming to England as an asylum seeker, life has taught him to be a fighter. And that has fueled his football. From the guy who would have been passed on, Victor Moses has become the first name on the team sheet for Chelsea. Its been quite a resurgence, Victor!