West Ham have a predominantly tried and tested squad for the Premier League this season which many will see as a benefit, but manager Sam Allardyce has brought in someone less well-known to bolster his options, and that is Modibo Maiga.
Maiga, who turned 25 this week, is a Mali-born striker who made a name for himself in France with Sochaux. He scored at a rate of almost a goal every two games over a period of two years with the club, a goal record that should not be sniffed at in any domestic European league.
He signed for West Ham during the summer transfer window for an undisclosed fee, and while he has only a couple of appearances in the claret and blue so far he has whet the appetites of the fans at this early stage. Maiga came off the bench in the opening game win over Aston Villa and almost scored moments after his arrival on the pitch – he then went one better in the League Cup victory against Crewe Alexandra, scoring the second in a 2-0 win as the Hammers progressed to the next round.
Also a regular for his Mali, Maiga will enjoy the presence of Andy Carroll in the side. Allardyce would benefit from two strikers linking up well, and when he decides to play a five-man midfield and a lone forward to be a little more conservative, he will be spoiled for choice up top.
Maiga though has a history of being part of a lethal strike force with his last team – he and Adeye Brown scored 30 goals between them in the 2010-2011 campaign, bagging 15 apiece.
Twice Maiga was on the verge of joining Newcastle, and after he was refused a move to the Toon in August, he had said he would never play for Sochaux again. The deal collapsed and he was forced to backtrack. In January the move was rekindled, but after the two clubs agreed fees Maiga was once again left frustrated as he failed a medical.
Now finally in the Premier League where he so longed to play, but at West Ham instead, Maiga is desperate to prove his worth and show exactly why he deserved his big move to England.
With new boy Carroll out for up to six weeks, Maiga may get his chance sooner than expected. West Ham go to Norwich next and soon that is soon followed by games against Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers. Maiga will be hoping he can help his team come through those games with a flourish and hopefully put himself on the map in the Premier League.
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