Feature | Jean-Pierre Nsame: Can Cameroon’s lethal finisher move to Europe’s big leagues?

One player who has not been heavily discussed in the media recently is Cameroonian forward Jean-Pierre Nsame of Young Boys. With 32 goals in 32 games, the lethal finisher has had a season to remember in Switzerland – raising the question: can he move to Europe’s big five leagues?

When Jean-Pierre Nsame made his professional debut in 2012 with French Ligue 2 side Angers, it was impossible to predict that the herculean striker would find the net at the level he has this season.

From his battle to enjoy first team opportunities in France to his unsuccessful trial at English side Walsall, the ball winning striker visibly went through the untold but has grown to become a confident, reliable player and lately nearly irreplaceable for his side. His lone spell with Swiss Challenge League outfit, Servette only became the genesis of his successful stint with Young Boys, whom he inspired to their first Swiss Super League title in 32 years and helped them retain the title a year later. 

The 1.88m striker’s physically imposing nature, in addition to his incredible pace, vision and outrageous finishes makes him every defender’s nightmare. His hat trick in Young Boys’ 3-2 win against FC Zurich recently was a testament to his all-around skill. 

For his first goal he ran onto a through ball and beat the keeper with his first touch, before settling and scoring at a tight angle from the side of the box. Minutes later he rifled home his second of the night by perfectly volleying a cross on his right foot into the top left corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance. For his third goal,with his side tied 2-2 in the 85th minute, Nsame rose like a salmon to head a corner into the top right corner to win the game. 

The Cameroonian has notched 66 goals in his three-year spell with the Swiss champions. He has greatly evolved over the years and his goal scoring feats have continued to rise. From 13 goals in his first season to 15 in his second, and now 29 (and counting). 

His immediate rival in the league’s golden boot race, Cedric Itten of FC St Gallen, has only scored 19 goals – nearly half of Nsame’s. Even the coronavirus stoppage could not stop Nsame’s hot streak, as he has continued his fine form netting 14 times in 11 league games after the resumption of football.

Nsame has made commendable contributions for his Swiss outfit and has played a key role in establishing their domestic dominance. Since his arrival in 2017 the potent forward has enjoyed a superb start and has even been backed to earn a place in the club’s hall of fame. After winning back-to-back Swiss Super League titles and emerging as the Swiss Super League’s top scorer this season, I believe Nsame can be an ace in a more established European league.

There has been much debate if the Cameroonian star forward can secure a berth in Europe’s top five leagues. The pressing question linked to a potential move is: can Nsame replicate his impressive goal scoring figures outside of Switzerland? 

English side West Ham United were reportedly keeping tabs on the Cameroonian during the recent winter transfer window. But otherwise, reported interest in the 27-year-old is low. 

Transfermarkt values the striker at $4.95m, so any transfer fee would likely only be a drop in the bucket for a side in Europe’s elite leagues. 

While it is highly improbable that Nsame scores 30 a season in the English Premier League or in Ligue 1, it couldn’t hurt if he were added to a squad as a backup to improve depth and competition for the striker spot. 

Former Swiss Super League top scorer Albian Ajeti made the switch to West Ham – who seem to monitor Swiss football more than their peers – for $9.57m a year ago, but has only appeared 12 times in all competitions for the Irons, failing to score in his limited play time. He was sold to Celtic on a permanent basis after the season. 

Judging by his match footage, Nsame appears to be largely superior to some strikers in the big five leagues. And given his eye for goal, it’s not out of the realm of imagination that he could challenge for a starting spot at a mid-to-lower table side in the big five leagues. 

AFHQ reported last week that Nsame was targeted by Rangers, a move which could get him on the radar of bigger clubs. 

With a cast of improved creators around him, one could see how Nsame could emerge as a deadly striker in a new league.