Despite showing some promising signs for Melbourne City late in the 2019/20 season, versatile forward Moudi Najjar has been sent out on loan to Macarthur FC for 2020/21.
Linking up with the Bulls for their inaugural A-League campaign, Najjar will be looking to earn regular first-team minutes in order to build on the momentum he experienced with City last campaign, with a view to earning further opportunities when he returns to the Melbourne club later this year.
Macarthur’s use of Najjar
Moudi Najjar has featured seven times for the Bulls this season, including four starting appearances, for a total of 263 minutes in 2020/21 so far.
Najjar featured regularly for Macarthur early in the season, starting in the team’s first two fixtures and even playing the full 90 in a 2-0 home win over Adelaide United.
However, this season has featured more downs than ups for the young forward, including getting dragged at half-time in two of his four starts, and not having featured in the matchday squad since February 20.
A testament to Najjar’s versatility, Ante Milicic has employed the forward in a host of advanced positions; his one full 90 came as a central striker, presumably while main man Matt Derbyshire was being rested, whilst his other starts were all as a left-winger. From the bench, Najjar has replaced Susaeta at right-wing twice and once came on to the field as an attacking midfielder.
Disappointingly, Najjar blanks in the metrics that count, recording zero goals and zero assists to date.
Underwhelmingly too, the youngster has attempted just three shots – all off-target – in his 243 minutes, making for one effort every 83 minutes.
Owing to his time spent in creative roles on the wings and in midfield, Najjar has played four key passes, but is yet to record a successful cross from the wide areas.
Not aiding the forward is his lack of involvement on the ball, playing just 23.6 passes per 90, fewer than any of Macarthur’s other wide options.
At this stage of Najjar’s development and given his particular career path to date, the lack of goal contributions is less concerning than the lack of minutes he’s getting whilst on loan.
Having not featured in the past six matchday squads, Najjar needs to find his way back into Milicic’s plans, even if just in a substitute capacity, in order to develop through experience against senior opposition and prove his loan spell to have been valuable.