Currently on loan from West Ham United, the career of Modibo Maiga had looked to be getting back on track after the centre-forward scored four goals for FC Metz in four games, but his time France could be cut short after the Malian striker resorted to old ways this weekend.
With Metz set to take on Olympique de Marseille at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday night, the story broke that Maiga had missed the club's flight to the south of France and would miss the game.
Albert Cartier named only six substitutes for the 3-1 defeat to Marseille, pouring fire on the rumours that Maiga was absent without permission.
For the midweek game against Bordeaux, Maiga started on the bench despite his upturn in recent form, and the forward would have expected to start in place of Juan Manuel Falcon for Sunday’s game. Reports are suggesting that Cartier and the striker had a disagreement in a midweek training session when the forward was told he wouldn’t start against OM, but this hasn’t been confirmed.
On Monday, while speaking to Bein Sport, the quotes from Cartier suggested that Maiga was still to return to the club.
“We expect his explanation during training on Tuesday. He did not turn up for Sunday’s flight, there is no news since.”
This is not the first time Maiga has pulled a stunt of this nature. While playing at FC Sochaux, the striker went AWOL twice in protest at not being able to make a move to Newcastle United in the Premier League.
He was relegated to the reserves on his return, but his goal-scoring ability led to his return to first-team duties. For it to happen once is explainable, twice is a worry, but a third time shows a habit not a misunderstanding.
Metz could terminate the player’s loan deal and return him to West Ham, but it will all depend on his excuses. That would also depend on the player actually making his return this week.
Metz are in need of a goal scorer. Maiga’s ability when playing with confidence is unquestionable, but the last thing you need in a relegation battle is a player that can upset the team harmony.
It’s unlikely that Sam Allardyce would want someone like that in his squad either.