Midway through the 2020/21 season, it seemed that Ramy Najjarine had reinvigorated his career with some impressive early performances for the Newcastle Jets before a period on the sidelines halted his momentum.
Having left off at this plateau when we wrote our mid-season loan report in April, we’re now here to investigate whether the now 21-year-old was able to rediscover his best form as the Jets’ scraped to an 11th-place finish:
Newcastle’s use of Najjarine
The former City man had played 10 games after 15 rounds when we published our mid-season loan reports and went on to make a further five appearances over the remainder of the Jets’ 2020/21 campaign, for a total of 1,011 A-League minutes.
Unfortunately, the youngster had a torrid time over this period, with the Jets collecting just two points from the final five games he featured in.
Whilst Najjarine started in his next three fixtures, a flare-up of the ankle injury that sidelined him throughout much of the first half of the season ensured that he would miss the next three games, by which time Craig Deans had switched to a 3-4-2-1 system that saw Jason Hoffman and Luka Prso preferred to the City loanee. Selection for a series of Olyroos friendlies in June ensured that Najjarine would also miss the final three games of the regular season.
Despite making his first appearance for the Jets as a left winger, Najjarine has been utilised almost exclusively as a central attacking midfielder, adding a new string to his bow which hadn’t previously been seen much at City.
Following an exciting start to the season, Najjarine had recorded three assists by the time our mid-season loan report came out, but he wasn’t able to build on this tally thereafter, also finishing the campaign with zero goals.
For an attacking midfielder, Najjarine continued to be a low-volume operator, recording just 27.6 passes per 90 minutes at 77.1% accuracy, whilst his creativity also stagnated in the latter stages of the season, dropping to one key pass every 38 minutes, previously making one every 31 minutes when we last measured.
Najjarine recorded 1.3 shots per 90 during his time with the Jets and was accurate with 40% of these attempts on goal – though, disappointingly, to no avail.
Market value update and final verdict
€150,000 (Oct. 2020) à€300,000 (Mar. 2021)
Mid-season, there may have been a case for City fans to be missing the 21-year-old as he secured three assists on his way to lighting up the early rounds with Newcastle Jets.
One Melbourne City A-League double – and Najjarine’s eventual transfer to Western Sydney – later, and it seems unlikely that fans will be giving him a second thought.
Whilst it was pleasing to see Najjarine excel in occasional bursts, his season was severely interrupted by a recurring ankle injury (missing six games due to this).
The elephant in the room is also the emergence of Marco Tilio and Stefan Colakovski, who would comfortably have Najjarine covered in terms of the pecking order of attacking options off the bench if the latter had been at City in 2021/22.
With such promising existing talent emerging for City and Najjarine’s contract having expired at the end of June anyway, a move back to the club that had a big hand in his early development could turn out to be the most beneficial outcome for all parties.