Player profile: Who's Josh Maja, the Nigerian youngster on Chelsea's January shopping list?
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Player profile: Who's Josh Maja, the Nigerian youngster on Chelsea's January shopping list?

Chelsea's transfer ban was recently lifted, allowing them to sign new players from January and suddenly they are linked with a host of talents across Europe. 

One such name that has been mentioned is Josh Maja. The striker currently plays for the French side Bordeaux but is no stranger to the Premier League having played for Sunderland. 

The 2o-year-old switched to the french side having scored 16 goals in 30 appearances last season, and his performances have caught the attention of many, and now, Frank Lampard.

📊 Player bio

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Bourdeaux
  • Position: Striker
  • Season goals so far: 6


Maja was born in England to Nigerian parents and began his professional career with the Black Cats making a total of 49 appearances and scoring 17 goals.

Prior to his development at Sunderland, he represented other clubs as a youngster including Crystal Palace and Fulham.

He also spent some time with Manchester City, despite being registered with Fulham at the time.

He signed his first professional contract with Sunderland in 2016, which expired at the turn of the year. 

Maja made his league debut on 16 December 2017 when he came on for James Vaughan at the Stadium of Light and five minutes later scored the only goal to defeat Fulham.

He turned down a new contract at the club, choosing to move abroad and join the French side. 

He made his debut for the French club on 17 February in a 2–1 home win over Toulouse,and scored his first goal for the club on 20 April in a 2–1 loss at Nîmes Olympique.

He has started the season on a high, scoring six goals in six starts across all competitions including five Ligue 1 goals.

Strengths, playing style

The bulky forward is a proved finisher, and it remains his biggest asset yet. His ability to run behind the defenders and free up space for his teammates is also a key ingredient in his game, and at only 20, he can get better. 

His only shortcoming is perhaps his hold-up play, which he make up with the large volume of goals. 

National team

Josh chose to represent Nigeria even though he was eligible to play for England owing to his parents having lived in the country. 

He was however convinced that his future lies with the Super Eagles, and he made his debut for the men in green and white in a friendly against Ukraine.