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End-of-season loan report: Moudi Najjar

Moudi Najjar burst onto the scene for Melbourne City when he netted his maiden senior goal late in the 2019/20 season but was loaned out to Macarthur FC for 2020/21 as he searched for further development opportunities.

The young forward made a bright start to life at his new club, despite not having contributed to a goal by the time our mid-season report was released and needed only focus on continuing to earn senior minutes to further his development at A-League level.

Nearly three months after that initial verdict, here’s how Najjar performed over the remainder of the season:

Photo: Getty Images

Macarthur’s use of Najjar

Unlike the other loanees that we’ve covered in this series of reports, Najjar went on to drastically improve his playing time in the second half of the season (including Finals), making an additional seven appearances, including four starts. The 21-year-old played a total of 643 minutes over the course of 2020/21.

To recap the story of his on-pitch minutes this season, Najjar made a strong start to life in Sydney’s southwest, featuring in seven of the Bulls’ first nine fixtures, including four starting appearances. However, the forward was soon dropped to NPL New South Wales, with his next senior appearance arriving two and a half months later. Things improved dramatically from here, with Najjar featuring in seven of the Bulls’ final eight games of the season that he was eligible for (Finals included).

Proving himself to be quite the versatile forward, Najjar featured primarily on the left, but was also utilised as a striker, attacking midfielder and right winger across his other starts and substitute appearances.

Performance data

Disappointingly, Najjar still hadn’t contributed to a goal by the time the Bulls were knocked out in the semi-final by City, despite his 643 on-pitch minutes to try and do so.

Unsurprisingly, the forward’s meager ONE shot on-target all season would go a long way towards explaining his lack of goals. Najjar had just five attempts on goal overall, making for one shot every 128 minutes – a decrease on his mid-season figure.

Equally, it’s pretty hard for Najjar to record an assist when he’s hardly threatening with his passing, playing just two additional key passes in the second half of the season to make for an underwhelming total of six, in addition to one successful cross. This is despite the forward improving his involvement on the ball from 23.6 passes per 90 to 26.1.

Najjar completed nine successful dribbles (1.26 per 90) over the course of the season, fewer than all but Charles M’Mombwa in regards to Macarthur’s wide options.

Market value update and final verdict

Market value (per Transfermarkt): €100,000 (Sep. 2019) > 250,000 (Mar. 2021)

It’s a shame to have lost a talented player before the expiration of their contract – Najjar’s was supposed to end in June 2022 – with the 21-year-old having gone on to sign a two-year extension as a fully-fledged Macarthur FC player.

The reality is, however, that Melbourne City went into Season 2020/21 with Najjar as our most likely backup striker (in case of injury to both Maclaren and Nabbout) and ended the campaign with Stefan Colakovski as our starting number nine in a successful Finals series.

Ultimately, one of those youngsters scored three goals and provided four assists in 497 minutes, the other played 642 and contributed zilch. That’s all that needs to be said about Najjar’s playing time prospects if he’d stayed on in 2021/22.

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