With the emphasis being on under 23 players, football at the Olympics has inevitably signalled a rise in demand for youngsters who performed well at the tournament.
There were many who certainly caught the eye on the big stage, but arguably none performed as well as Moussa Konate of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The striker bagged 5 goals in 4 games for Senegal, making sure that every defence he came up against was made to pay for the occasional mishap. With Great Britain and Uruguay being in the same group, many didn’t give Senegal a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
However, the 19 year old spearheaded his nation to a surprise victory over Suarez and co., netting twice, and a well earned draw against Team GB in which he pounced on a defensive error to equalise. Remarkably, Konate scored five of Senegal’s six goals at the Olympics.
The youngster took full advantage of the limelight that comes with competing at the Olympics. He has shown scouts the world over that he is a standout talent who isn’t intimidated by the high expectations which began to build following his goal against Team GB. Such confidence, and of course, goalscoring ability would definitely come in handy if a move to the Premier League, or any other major European division, was forthcoming.
A deal bringing Konate to the Toon would complete an incredible hat-trick of Senegalese strikers. With Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse already at the club, Newcastle’s West African contingent would lead the line next season. However, the presence of compatriots in football does not necessarily lead to success in football, shown by Ba’s drought accompanying Cisse’s arrival and subsequent assault on Premier League defences.
Nevertheless, I definitely think that his fellow countrymen would help Konate settle in if we were to sign him from the Israeli giants. What’s more, the 19 year old’s transfer fee would be relatively low.
Although his performances at the Olympics were encouraging, the Senegal international has no experience of performing in a major league, thus meaning there’s a limit as to how much Maccabi can demand. But that’s not to say that he isn’t worth the investment. As BBC pundit Garth Crooks stated, “it’s been a long time since I last saw a 19 year old with so much promise and determination”.