Arriving in Motherwell on loan from Bournemouth, Mikael Ndjoli has a point to prove and plenty of pace to drive on his claret and amber ambitions.
The forward’s been out on loan a couple of times already from the Cherries. A loan stint at Kilmarnock was followed up by Gillingham in the first half of this season. Fir Park is the latest place Ndjoli has to call home.
He’ll add options to Stephen Robinson’s frontline. He can play anywhere across the front three, with athleticism and speed some of the main traits Ndjoli brings for Robinson. It’s a like-for-like replacement after Devante Cole returned to Wigan.
A quiet but articulate young man, Ndjoli’s been drawn to Fir Park by Robinson. Riches will never tempt someone to North Lanarkshire’s biggest outfit but the club’s vision is more appealing than most.
It’s something that Ndjoli can see for himself. He’s got ambitions for success too whilst back in Scotland and he keeps in contact with Bournemouth regularly. A Scottish Cup win would be nice whilst with the Steelmen, but the Premiership is surely out the question, right?
“It would be nice to win my first senior trophy, so if that’s with Motherwell I’d be buzzing,” Ndjoli said. “It could be the Scottish Cup, it could be the league as well, hopefully!
“I’m settling in well. I’m still getting used to the weather but everything else has been good. Training has been intense, it’s very similar to what I’m used to, you press and the manager lets you express yourself up the pitch.
“He wants his attacking players to express themselves but also know when to help the team defensively as well. The first half of the season Motherwell got a fair share of points.
“Europe is possible, you saw it with Killie last season. I prefer to play through the middle, getting in behind, but I can play on the left on the right. It depends where the gaffer wants me to play.
“There’s a networking for players out on loan. I keep in contact with Bournemouth regularly in terms of training, gym programme, games. We do keep in touch almost every day.”
Robinson knows the Bournemouth loanee’s strengths
The Well boss knows what he’s getting and ideally wants he wants from Ndjoli. His Well plans are all based on pace in attack and he needs Ndjoli to buy into that when the Cherries forward is on the pitch.
That shouldn’t be a problem for Ndjoli as he can turn quickly and continue to travel with speed. Robinson’s excited to see his new forward get into his stride and hopefully become the latest Fir Park loan success.
“He’s a player who excites me, he’s a young player with pace, energy and invention, and he fits into what we’re trying to do,” Robinson explained. “He can play anywhere across the front three.
“He can play as number nine but we played him on the right and left against Hibs (in a bounce game). He was electric at times and he’ll get more of an understanding of what we want from him.
“I think he’s brought a real freshness to the camp, people have been impressed with him. It’s always nice to add a new face.”