Melbourne City have announced the signing of 21-year-old Tottenham Hotspur forward Shayon Harrison on loan until the end of the A-League season.
Head coach Warren Joyce said he’s been “aware of Shayon” for a few years and followed his development having had 50 appearances with the Spurs’ Premier League 2 side.
This season in PL2, and according to transfermarkt.com, Harrison scored four goals in seven games.
Coming off the back of the National Youth League season, 18-year-old striker Moudi Najjar enjoyed his first campaign with City’s youth team in Conference A, where he scored seven goals in six games.
This was also his first time competing against Conference A clubs like Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United having previously competed in Conference B.
Najjar earned his call-up into the first team where he debuted in late January against his former club, Western Sydney Wanderers, coming on for Luke Brattan.
Since his initial A-League appearance, he’s come off the bench against Wellington Phoenix and is travelling with the squad to Sydney for their upcoming clash against the Sky Blues. Should he play, it will be his third A-League appearance.
So, with that in mind, why would an A-League club with a talented teenage striker at their disposal, sign another one from overseas? I find it hard to see the logic in Harrison’s loan deal, especially given the fact that they’ve just signed Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren, who should wear the burden for the rest of the season.
It would be a different story if Harrison had of notched up an extreme amount of goals in the PL2, but he hasn’t.
Some would argue that it’s “unfair” to place the burden upon Najjar for the rest of the season, but who are we to doubt or question his capabilities?
The burden should rest on the shoulders of Maclaren, who has signed for four years.
His recent goalscoring form suggests otherwise though – he only scored one at the Asian Cup in five games and at club level for Hibernian, he too scored just one goal in 15 appearances.
Time is running out for City as they aim to qualify for the 2019/2020 Asian Champions League, Maclaren has just nine games to score and make his impact.
So what’s his benchmark? I say he should be scoring a goal a game, going off his recent form though, I think he’ll manage maybe two to three at best.
Melbourne City have a tough few weeks ahead, Adelaide United next weekend followed by the Newcastle Jets, who’ve just struck a win which could give them a confidence boost.
After that, it’s the Melbourne derby. And Keisuke Honda will well-and-truly be back, plus the German stopper Georg Niedermeier has returned from injury, it will be tough to break through Muscat’s men.
Then, it’s a home game against A-League leaders Perth Glory who always prove a challenge and have one of the best disciplined defences in the competition.
Overall, I wouldn’t be discounting a young talent like Moudi Najjar so quickly when he’s clearly had an outstanding season in the Youth League and can easily be paired with Maclaren up front.
If City hadn’t signed Maclaren, let’s face it, we’d still be seeing fullback turned striker Ritchie De Laet leading the line and all credit to him as well, six goals this season, pretty impressive given he’s a defender.
-Maclaren (1 goal in 15 apps at Hibs)
-Harrison (4 goals in 7 games in PL2)
-Najjar (7 goals in 6 games for City Youth)
I know who I’d take.