Moses Simon: The winger hunting Pogba and Benzema in assist charts

Robin Bairner
Moses Simon, Nantes, 2021/22

While Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema have set Europe alight with their assists for Manchester United and Real Madrid respectively, Moses Simon is a more unfamiliar name chasing them in the charts.

The 26-year-old Nigeria international winger has created five goals in seven games for Nantes in Ligue 1 this season – arguably a more remarkable achievement than either of the two France internationals.

After all, Nantes only narrowly avoided relegation last season before bouncing back well this term.

It has been a charge led by Simon and fellow attackers Randal Kolo Muani and Ludovic Blas, who have been the primary benefactors of the Nigerian’s excellent.

This trio have been in excellent form for Nantes this season. Kolo Muani, a 22-year-old striker, has two goals and two assists, while Blas is the leading scorer at the club with four goals from an attacking midfield role.

Simon, though, has been the most consistent of the three. Although he has not scored, he has been a persistent threat and might have had a fifth assist in midweek as Lilian Brassier scored an own goal provoked by the Nigerian. Unfortunately for him, such play is not rewarded with an assist.

As one might expect of a winger, all his assists have come from crosses, two of which have been corners. From open play, meanwhile, he has shown an ability to find room in the left channel and has profited from the smart movement of his fellow forwards to pick them out with low deliveries.

After suffering from muscular problems last season, he has rediscovered his explosiveness this term, with regular sprints peaking at a pace of 33km/h enough to unsettle his rivals.

Europe's leading assist makers

Paul PogbaMan Utd7
Karim BenzemaReal Madrid7
Moses SimonNantes5
Erling HaalandDortmund4
Nicolo BarellaInter4
Florian WirtzLeverkusen4
Thomas MullerBayern Munich4
Andrej KramaricHoffenheim4
Marco ReusDortmund4

“He feels strong in his head and a lot is expected of him,” head coach Antoine Kombouare said on Tuesday. “He has a great temperament. What is important is that he likes responsibility.

“We knew he was strong before but he had trouble finishing his action. This is no longer the case, he has become more efficient.”

Now he stands second in the list of chances created in Europe’s Big 5 leagues this season, above the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bruno Fernandes and Jack Grealish, while he has Pogba and Benzema in his sights in the assist charts.

Simon’s future looks promising and it may not be so much longer before he is directly facing such players if he continues such form.