It’s often rare to see African players who are not at their peak or considered world-class get a second chance at any top side of Europe’s top five leagues. When they leave a big club, their careers usually go downhill into oblivion and it looked like that for Victor Moses when he left Chelsea for Fenerbahçe until Inter Milan came calling in January 2020.
Moses has now played two games for Inter and made his full debut for the Nerazzurri in their 2-0 away league win at Udinese on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
Moses played 83 minutes of the encounter at the Stadio Friuli as a wingback but he wasn’t as impressive as expected.
There were a couple of runs forward that were encouraging. Early in the first half, he beat a defender in the far post before sending a threatening cross into the Udinese box. It was one of the skill sets that suited his wing-back role, the other which was to defend, he couldn’t do it properly.
Victor Moses has taken up the wing-back role again on his reunion with Antonio Conte (Twitter/Victor Moses)
All of Udinese’s brightest attack in that first half came from the left with Moses unable to cover after venturing forward. Fortunately for him, Inter had enough not be hindered by it and went ahead to win the game.
It can’t be foretold what Moses’ impact would be at Inter with his performance on Sunday but taken his previous record in the wing-back role under Antonio Conte, it is sure that the Nigerian needs to find the right fitness levels to make an impact at his new club. The type of impact he made under Conte at Chelsea.
Impact at Chelsea
It was instant. It started with one game; in the second half after they had been ripped apart by Arsenal at the Emirates in September 2016.
It was a first-half collapse that saw Conte revert to his favourite 3-4-3 formation and he brought in Moses as a wing-back. It was the first time the Nigerian played in that position in his career and Chelsea’s performance improved.
What followed was a run that helped them to the Premier League title in May 2017. Moses started the next 22 Premier League games for Chelsea-from September 2016 to April 2017- and played a crucial role in their 13 consecutive winning streak as they went on to win the title. In total, he made 28 league starts and 33 league appearances that season.
Although the novelty that came with his wing-back role wore off the following season, Moses managed to overcome his struggles with injuries to help Chelsea to an FA Cup win.
His Chelsea career was over the following season when Maurizio Sarri came in to take over from Conte. With no need for a wing-back in Sarri’s system, Moses was shipped out on loan to Fenerbache.
While many expected Moses’ move to Fenerbahce to be the beginning of the end of his career, Conte gave the Nigerian a route back to elite football where he can compete for the biggest club football titles.
The Inter manager is hoping he is getting the same Moses he saw at Chelsea. That combination of impressive stamina, strength and fitness that the manager exploited to devastating effect.
Victor Moses and Antonio Conte (PA Images)
The need for Moses at Inter rose from the lack of quality options for Inter. Antonio Candreva has lacked the pace and energy to thrive as wing-back while Valentino Lazaro, a summer arrival from Hertha Berlin has also failed to spark at San Siro. The Austrian was signed to be an understudy to Candreva and his long-term successor.
With Lazaro now off to Newcastle United, Conte now has Moses to compete with Candreva for the right wing-back position.
It’s difficult to judge from Sunday night’s performance what Moses can bring to this Inter side. But this move has given him the opportunity of a reunion with Conte and to reenact his wing-back role. Only time will tell if he will reenact the level of performance of his Chelsea days.