After an injury-plagued season at Nottingham Forest, Algerian forward Hillal Soudani completed his move to Greek side Olympiacos.
Opening up about his time in England, Soudani recently spoke to Croatian outlet Sportske Novosti about how much his injury affected his time in England and how he still thinks he had something to contribute and I agree with him. I personally think that Martin O’Neill was slightly harsh in being so willing to let him leave so quickly.
The best example that I can give is when Jimmy Bullard made his move to Fulham back in 2006. He suffered a terrible injury in his fourth game away at Newcastle and was sidelined for 18 months, and was a crucial part in Fulham’s successful fight to stay up that season. The fact is that then manager Roy Hodgson didn’t just dismiss Bullard as an injury prone player when he took over, he gave him a chance to prove himself.
The fact that O’Neill let Soudani go so close to the start of pre-season is a baffling one. Whilst Soudani says he isn’t fully fit yet, I think that O’Neill should have let him stick around for just a little bit longer to prove himself in this squad. Surely that’s what pre-season games are for? He didn’t have to play ninety minutes, but ten-minute cameos to get him up to speed and see what he had would surely have been fair enough.
Now whilst I can’t entirely blame Soudani for wanting to move to Olympiacos, in the grand scheme of things and with no disrespect intended, they are a bigger club than Nottingham Forest and this will give him a chance to play Champions League football.
But I think O’Neill could have at least tried harder to keep him, or give him a chance to prove himself. Maybe there was a chance he could coax a few more goals out of him, maybe he couldn’t but the fact that O’Neill was so willing to just chuck him to one side to me showed a bit of a lack of class by the Irishman.
Some fans were willing to let him stay and have another go after his impressive start for the club, scoring two goals in his first four games, and whilst you can never afford to get too sentimental or pay too much attention to the fans, they saw what he could offer in a Forest shirt, O’Neill didn’t, and he could end up regretting letting him go so quickly if he rekindles that form abroad.