The signing of Baye Oumar Niasse for Lokomotiv Moscow seems quite astonishing. Even more, if you were following him closely since his shy arrival in Akhisar (Turkey) last summer, when just some executives of the Turkish club welcame him. He was paid almost nothing, 250.000 euros, from his Senegalese former outfit US Ouakam.
Formerly known just for some matches played in Norway with the SK Brann jersey, Niasse arrived in Akhisar without any expectation. Furthermore, the supporters barely noticed the signing. Someone even asked the reason of those 250k euros paid to the Senegalese club, thinking that the investment was a waste of money. Maybe the lack of pressure and the low expectations around him played a crucial role, with the Akhisar coach Hamza Hamzaoglu who decided to play him regularly when the main striker of the club, the Greek Theofanis Gekas, left the club for Konyaspor and got no substitute. Akhisar were expected to be one of the worst outfits of the Turkish Super Lig, favorite to an immediate relegation. Then, the season started. And everything changed, thanks to that Senegalese unknown striker.
Oumar Niasse had an unprecedented impact on the Turkish Super Lig. His terrific speed and an unexpected brilliant feeling with the goal, enhanced by the defenders who barely knew him at the beginning, made him one of the revelations of the whole 2014/2015 season. The numbers, between Super Lig and Turkish National Cup, are there to explain us his explosion:
- Until the Akhisar transfer, Niasse had 4 official appereances and 0 goals. This was just his evanescent Norway short experience . The Akhisar scouting work has been decisive, observing him also at his home club in Senegal and discovering his potential.
- After the Akhisar transfer, Niasse scored in 1 season the beauty of 15 goals between Super Lig and Turkish Cup, made 7 assists for his teammates and many beautiful counterattack runs, favorited by the smart ideas of the coach Hamzaoglu, who has now left Akhisar joining Fatih Terim in the Turkish National Team staff.
Oumar Niasse caught even the headlines of the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, in its Tuesday special called Extra-Time. His story attracted the attention of the Italian journalists because of the Senegalese striker extremely low wage: as Niasse arrived in Akhisar, he signed a contract worth just 9.000 euros per month. By the way, after his first outstanding Turkish months his wages clearly increased. As he didn't stop to score and enchant Akhisar, he convinced many clubs to scout & follow him closely. Trabzonspor were rumoured to be following him, but Lokomotiv reportedly believed in him more, offering 5,5 million to his Turkish club, who couldn't refuse such a offer. They paid him 250k euros just one year ago, after all...
Now, Niasse's future. As his transfer to Loko looks done, many questions are rapidly increasing around the Senegalese goal-machine. Will he adapt well to Russia? Will he be the Akhisar striker who almost beat Galatasaray just by his goals? Will he be able to play also against very locked defensive systems, and not just by counter-attacks? Will the Loko investment of 5,5 million pay-off? Just time knows the answer. The Russian Premier League will tell us if this amazing signing was a bluff, or another immense bargain. Maybe Oumar Niasse will be able to transform in gold everything he touched, as he did in Akhisar. And the 5,5 million paid by Lokomotiv could even become a very little sum for him, by the next summer transfer window.
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