The summer transfer window is hitting its stride, and the hunt for that player who will help you escape relegation, secure a top-half finish or reach new levels of glory has never been more intense – or costly.
What every club wants most of all is the mystical beast that is a 20-goal a season striker. The fact is, every forward who enjoys one good campaign suddenly sees his price tag triple and quadruple, so the trick is to catch them just as they’re on the brink of exploding.
Well, what if we told you that there is a striker in Serie B who just bagged 20 goals in Italy’s top flight, and has flown completely under everyone’s radar? Meet Simy. The Nigerian forward was on fire last year, but in a team that conceded 92 goals, his 20 strikes were pretty meaningless.
So, what is there to know about Simy?
In terms of his style of play, Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo is as natural a finisher as they come. He’s a solid hold-up player, and is excellent at bringing others into the game with neat lay-offs.
He’s also a scorer of great goals. Here’s a beautiful bicycle kick that the lanky forward produced, while his bread and butter is first-time finishes in and around the six-yard box. He’s a poacher, and a mighty fine one at that.
Simy’s aerial threat and physical presence makes him a tough forward to handle, and every centre-back is in for a long old afternoon when he’s backing into them.
The 2020/21 season was the crowning glory of Simy’s career so far, as he managed to hit 20 league goals in a team that was so clearly out of its depth.
In doing so, he broke the record for the most goals scored in a single season by a Nigerian player in any of the top five leagues in Europe.
Simy surpassed former Blackburn Rovers star Yakubu on this journey, who scored 17 in the 2011/12 campaign in the Premier League. That’s not the only record he’s broken, though…
Simy’s goals in Serie A have handed him the remarkable title of becoming the highest scoring Nigerian in the history of Italian top-flight football.
The majority of those 30 goals have come in his most recent season back in Serie A, showing that he has learnt from his past experiences to become a better and more well-rounded striker.
Not a bad backup, eh?
This sudden Serie A goal surge is no fluke. Instead, Simy had been banging them in at Serie B level for two seasons prior to Crotone’s promotion to the big time, where he then continued his rich vein of form.
The forward hit 14 in the 2018/19 campaign and 20 in 2019/20, meaning that over the past three seasons, he’s scored a total of 54 goals. That’s pretty damn good.
That form, combined with the fact he has even scored against the top teams in Serie A, shows he is top-flight material, and shouldn’t have to spend another season proving himself in the second division.
Take a gamble, someone!
Despite his incredible goalscoring record over the past three years, Simy has been largely overlooked at international level. He has made four appearances since making his Nigeria debut in 2018, but he’s been left out ever since.
“I won’t say I am bothered about the Super Eagles. As a Nigerian I am a fan of the national team, we are all born to be fans of the Super Eagles,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
“I share the same dream and ambition of every young footballer to one day represent the country. But it’s not in my hands, it’s not something I can control.”
Surely it’s time for a recall.