Just over two weeks ago, Bordeaux striker Josh Maja looked set to be moving back to England after various reports suggested that he was set to sign for Championship side Birmingham City.
However, at the last hurdle Maja decided to stay at Bordeaux for another season, signing a new two-year deal, including an option to leave for free if his side failed to achieve promotion into Ligue 1.
Only a few days later, Maja scored his second career hat-trick in a 3-1 away win to Paris FC, brushing away the transfer speculation, remaining an incredibly valuable player in David Guion’s sides bid for promotion.
From Tyne and Wear to south-west France
After spending time at the Crystal Palace, Fulham and Manchester City academy, Maja eventually signed a two-year scholarship at Sunderland, signing his first professional contract just a year later.
After making his league debut for Sunderland in 2017, Maja burst into the starting line-up the following season, scoring in all of his side’s first four league games at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
Maja had made 41 league appearances for Sunderland, scoring 16 goals before moving abroad to Bordeaux during the 2019 January transfer window.
The 23-year-old has played 59 games for Bordeaux since his move, scoring 16 goals in what has been a stop start time in France, involving various injuries and relegation for his side last season.
Maja has also spent time back in England on loan with Fulham and Stoke but is set to shine with Bordeaux this season as they bid for a return to the French top division.
Maja’s Confidence Infront of Goal
Only a quick look at his sides 3-1 victory over Paris FC last weekend can show how important Maja can be this season for Bordeaux.
Maja’s first goal is a proper strikers finish, running off the blind side of the defender, before a great first touch, setting up a delightful finish in the bottom left corner under pressure from the Paris centre-back.
Maja’s second goal comes from the penalty spot, but what stands out is the confidence the Nigerian striker shows when the referee points to the spot. Maja runs straight after the ball, claiming the penalty as his own and finishes with pure ease sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
To complete the hat-trick, from the penalty spot again, Maja riffles the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net, the sign of a player brimming with self-confidence and talent.
But it’s not just the goalscoring that Maja brings to his side…
Maja’s Playmaking Presence
Only a few days before his Paris FC hat-trick, Maja had a hat-trick of goal contributions in a 4-0 win against Quevilly Rouen.
The first was another penalty, once again brilliantly taken to give his side a 1-0 lead. Maja then managed two superb assists, each in their own perfect way, showing his talent all over the pitch.
With his back pinned to the defender, Maja flicked the ball delightfully round the centre-back, giving Dilane Bakwa a free run-on goal, followed by a great finish.
Maja’s second assist was much different, receiving the ball with his back to goal once again, but this time given the time to turn and assess his options, before finding Logan Delaurier-Chaubet with space on the right-hand side of the pitch, as he was able to cut in and bend one into the bottom left corner.
With only seven games played in Ligue 2 this season for Maja, the striker is already averaging a goal or an assist every game, with four goals and three assists so far.
Bordeaux currently sit top of Ligue 2, with only one loss, and if Maja keeps this form, Bordeaux will certainly struggle to prevent a surge of interest for their striker at the end of the season, especially if they make a return to Ligue 1.