Who is Adam Maher? Probing Toon’s latest target

Posted on March 20th, 2012 | 37 Comments |

Adam Maher.
Adam Maher: Precocious talent.
After the news (broken on this site, incidentally) that Newcastle United have already signed a pre contract agreement with Romain Amalfitano. The latest name which has been coming up in recent reports about Newcastle United’s scouting activity is that of precocious 18 year old AZ Alkmaar midfielder, Adam Maher.

One thing which is certain is that the club have been scouting him quite closely, and if they were planning a “daring raid / swoop” on the player, the fee could be probably be in the area of around £3 – 5 million for this very promising youngster, who is the youngest player to score for any Dutch club in the Europa League (apparently). The bad news is that the club may face some fairly stiff competition from several other suitors, though this is hardly surprising with excellent young players like Maher.

Despite his young age, the Dutch-Morroccan teenager has been a regular in the AZ Alkmaar first team (who are currently topping the Dutch Eredivisie). He is a product of their youth academy, having been on the club’s books since the tender age of eleven.

Another mischief making making story in the execrable Daily Fail has been reporting that Newcastle have been looking at Maher as a replacement for Cheick Tiote. Though the players are both central midfielders with Maher also playing on the right, they are both different animals with Maher being more of the attacking and playmaking variety, and he certainly isn’t goal shy (see below).

Anyway, here are his stats for AZ Alkmaar so far (from ESPN).

Maher’s AZ Alkmaar stats (All competitions)
27 4 10 0 15 9 1 0 14 17
0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

GS: Games Started, SB: Substitute appearences, Gs: Goals, As: Assists, Sh: Shots, SG: Shots on goal, YC: Yellow Cards, RC: Red Cards, FC: Fouls Committed, FS: Fouls Suffered.

As you can see, he has a fairly remarkable return in terms of goals for a midfielder, but interestingly, nothing in the way of assists, although he is a playmaker with top notch passing skills.

Here’s what a scouting report has to say on the youngster:

“Technically excellent, comfortable with both feet and with a commanding confidence, he’s not afraid to seek possession anywhere on the pitch, and then uses his mature decision making to rarely give it away.

“Maher ‘s game is all about passing and movement. On the ball, he has exceptional vision, can pick instinctive long and short range passes and always keeps the ball moving, to help quicken the tempo. Off it, he has good timing with bursts into the box, has illusive movement and spots spaces incredibly well.

“He needs some work on his finishing, but with delightful close control, composure and a good range of power in both feet, it looks like being only a matter of time before he can find the number of goals Cesc Fàbregas does – a player Maher’s assistant coach Martin Haar compares him to. It’s easy to see why.

“The ground work may well be there though, but he’s not quite polished yet. At five foot seven inches, he’s not the biggest, and not the strongest. Maher’s physical work is improving, but he is still susceptible to being roughed up. On top of that, he’s still quite raw, which means he hasn’t held down a set role in central midfield yet.

“He’s at his best when given a licence to roam behind the strikers, where he can drift wide and create space, or deliver dangerous crosses. However, Maher has looked cultured and effective in a deeper play-maker role, so a future as a box-to-box player may well stand him in good stead. Finding the balance is important.

“Overall, Maher is a brilliant prospect. His exceptional range of passing, both in variation and accuracy, combined with close control, movement and intelligence, make him unlike many teenage sensations, in having hype that is genuinely warranted.”

And another one:

“Maher is technically top-class, as you would expect from a player coming through any youth system in Holland – but he is already a step above.

“His passing is top-class, comfortable in possession he very rarely gives away the ball.

“He is already attracting interest from Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester City and Lyon – highlighting his progress in the last 12 months.

“Maher actually only made his debut for AZ in December 2010, but within that small period has already become a key member of Gertjan Verbeek’s squad.”

All of which seems to be fair enough from the little I have seen of him in Eredivisie games, so I can’t really add anything to that, especially so as I wasn’t “scouting” him, concentrating more on Ajax and the considerable talents of Jan Vertonghen, another Eredivisie star who will almost certainly be led to market in the summer, though with Arsenal being the team being currently most closely linked. But I digress. I will certainly be keeping more of an eye on Maher when I can, and you can judge a little bit for yourselves using the Dennis Wise scouting method.

Do you think that he would be a good Summer signing for the Magpies?

Adam Maher on video

There certainly seems to be no shortage here! (Once again, apologies for the generally awful music soundtracks)

Adam Maher – 2011-2012.

Adam Maher vs Feyenoord.

Adam Maher – August 2011.

Adam Maher: Goals, assists, skills.

Adam Maher skills.

Adam Maher I’m Star [sic].

Adam Maher Talent.

Adam Maher – AZ Alkmaar 2011.



NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1091 articles on this blog.

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37 Responses

  1. newyorkfan says:
    March 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    “The amount of red cards the stats show scares me.. unless its a mistake”

    Aye, I was just changing that NYF! My HTML blunder when I was enterring the figures. One yellow and that’s it. Don’t worry, he isn’t Cheick Tiote or Alan Smith :-)

  2. Christ !! He sounds like George Best and Maradonna rolled into one ! Is it his dad writing these reports ?

  3. Ricdhe says:
    March 20, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    “Christ !! He sounds like George Best and Maradonna rolled into one ! Is it his dad writing these reports ?”

    One of ’em, and his own coach, compares him to Cesc Fabregas, and he would do, at a push!

  4. Maher ?, sure one for the not too distant future but not ready for the EPL, needs to work with the weights and build upper body strength, not unlike Ferguson and he just does’nt have the required experience in an unforgiving league

    If Tiote is to go IMO it would take a big offer to get him, as again, IMO he is probably over-rated by the like’s of Llambias and Ashley, expecting another killing like the Carroll deal.
    And it’s Doubtfull with the present quality of keepers at Chelsea, they are interested in Krul.

    But i have no doubt following last seasons daylight robbery of Liverpool, they think they can make a repeat
    performance, with perhaps Ba or Tiote.
    Which in turn would finance the further strengthening of the side.
    In truth if they can, then i wish em luck as i dont see Tiote as a finished player.
    Sure he is picking his passes a bit better, but will never be that midfield engine room who can do it all like a Billy Bremner or Roy keane.
    More of a stopper and even then lays it on a bit too heavy.
    Also upsets the line up with Cabaye, who should be playing as the back end of a diamond,he can put his foot in, lay on the perfect pass and like Ya Ya Ture, get those clean up goals from rebounds.
    With two good attacking wingers who can play with flair and power, Marveaux and Hoilett, with HBA as the front of the diamond, with Ba And Cisse up front, a formidable attacking unit.
    Problem is thats herasy to Pardews eight men defending game,so if you want to see some entertaining football, perhaps you should watch, Swansea or somebody, cause what you see now is what you will get next season, as this geezer only knows how to play defence and hoofball.
    Look, there’s both a salary cap and a transfer cap, for all intents and purposes and there’s some good young talented players on the way, hopefully!
    With Carr and his guys doing a good job recruiting and building a side here.
    So why not complete the final part of the puzzle, with a manager and coaches who can get the best out of those players ?
    Theres two guys named Clarke, ones a coach at Pool., the other is an ex NUFC player and ex manager who did a good job at Huddersfield, they are not yes men, but can no doubt utilize talented players.
    Think about it.

  5. chuck behave yourself, you were doing so well up until the last part. Is Clarke better than Carver… jury’s out but not for my money. And Lee Clarke is still a rookie.

  6. “Theres two guys named Clarke, ones a coach at Pool., the other is an ex NUFC player and ex manager who did a good job at Huddersfield, they are not yes men, but can no doubt utilize talented players.
    Think about it.”

    Chuck, if you wanted to bang on about an alternative manager, you were probably on a better wicket with Steve Clarke’s Chelsea mate and Swans’ Supremo, Buck Rogers. He started coaching when he was 20 and Jose Mourinho wouldn’t just pick some unknown gadgie from Ballymena for no reason. I don’t think he’s just having a bit of beginner’s luck like Phil Brown at Hull or Holloway at Blackpool. He’s quite dignified and contempletive like Chris Hughton though so Llambias wouldn’t get on with him.

  7. JOE
    Bit of an oxymoron, how do you criticise something you did,nt read,perhaps you couldda learned summat ?

    I know Clarke @ Liverpool is better than Carver, in fact considered one of the best coaches in the league.
    Who we tried to get, but he opted for Liverpool and the other Clarke was at least offered a managers job and was quite successful.
    Wheras Carver had to opt for a managing job in Canada, where he did’nt last long.
    Just cause he’s a Geordie doesnt nessessarily make him a good coach or manager.

    I only mentioned people either out of work or in a position where a managers job would be a step up and who most clubs would be willing to let go for that reason.
    Yeah, i like the entertaining way Swansea play and Rodgers is one of the new breed of managers that understand the modern game and who has obviously got a brain in his head.
    Except he’s gotta job.
    Take just about anyone over Pardew, but he will eventually be found out.

  8. Chuck… What’s your problem with pardew? He has us sitting in sixth and fighting for Europe for the first time in years!! Plus all this achieved with a midfield stalwart you say is over rated, an inferior assistant and after losing arguably the form centre half of the season months ago! He has nothing to be found out about IMO

  9. I personaly think pardew is doing an excellent job, t he club is on the best footing for years, young talented squad, that is appreciating in value for a change, and we dont play hoofball, we play decent football at times, but ultimatly play to our strengths, nothing wrong with that. Man u tried to play football for 90 mins against bilboa the other day and where did it ge

  10. Did it get them?, they should of started banging balls into the box in the second half with berba up front maybe it would of worked.and on tioite let him go for the right price, he isnt the finished article, too many booking clumsy in the tackle, get caught with the ball under his feet, buy another 3 mil player and spend the other 15 on a winger and centre back

  11. Shortyuk says:
    March 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

    “and we dont play hoofball, we play decent football at times”

    Actually, we do play quite a bit of “hoofball” as you put it, especially away, though we can be quite comfortable in possession in the opponent’s half too sometimes. Whatever our current position in the league, there’s no point in kidding ourselves that we’re Barcelona upon Tyne.

  12. Shortyuk says:
    March 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

    “Man u tried to play football for 90 mins against bilboa the other day and where did it ge”

    Athletic Club are a very interesting side, who are playing some great football under Marcelo Bielsa now they’ve got over the initial shock of getting into a completely new way of doing things. Bielsa’s one of the best coaches in the world.

  13. chuck,

    Clark, Clarke & Carver are all Geordie boys mate.

    As for the ‘players having to take to the weights’ to ‘beef up’…er!..Ever heard of that little guy/s called messi, Beardsley etc?

    Certain players ‘beefing up’ ruins their natural game & speed. Look at players like Shearer & Owen, soon as they ‘beefed up’ they lost pace &, more importantly, stared getting lots of niggling leg injuries, especially thigh & calf.

  14. CLINT
    It’s obvious you have no clue concerning weight training.
    Does Bolt the world’s fastest man not use weight training to enhance his performance, along with every other proffessional athlete?
    Get your facts straight, if you are going to critisise someone, to just state what you thing off the top of your heed is not the way to do it.
    You a physician ?
    To make the claim both Owen and Shearer lost pace and started to get injuries, due to weight training is even more ridicules.
    And to use Messi as an argument is cheap, because he is short as is Beardsley, by no means proves anything.
    The guy is a short stocky player who, i would bet uses weights in training as do the majority of professional athletes.

    If you dont get the difference between, say a manager like Rodgers at Swansea and a Pardew….
    Who plays an attractive and successful game of football with a bargain basement group of footballers.
    Who can adapt and adjust his sides tactics to fit the situation.
    It’s not just Pardew, it’s the majority of EPL managers, they just dont get the modern game.
    Hey i saw a more advanced game of football by NUFC in the fifties, when everyone played with one CF, they were using G Robledo and Millburn as twin strikers.
    Most English managers play an outdated tactical game, one rhat is becoming not unlike the way the Italians played throughout the nineties, with everyone concentrating on defense, an ugly game!
    Look,if you want to know exactly what i mean, watch the game between Man. U. and Bilbao, unqueationably one of the best managers this Island has produced, against someone, who has possibly revolutionized the game as we know it, a guy who Guardiola based his whole approach to how the game should be played.
    And you cant argue with success !
    But i believe this was about Pardew.
    This is a guy who plays not to loose, eight men defending, who has yet to show he can change tactics, in other words plays same size fits all defensive football, with either Krul or a defender hoofing it up with a 50/50 ball to the forwards.
    Get it now ?

  15. Is chuck trying to claim the novel crown from me? I thought I was the multi-chapter king of the blog.

    Arise king chuck. Long live the king.

  16. chuck says:
    March 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    “a guy who Guardiola based his whole approach to how the game should be played.”

    That was Cruyff, Chuck, though he did recently hail Bielsa as “The best coach on the planet”. There are differences between the Cruyff / Guardiola approach and Bielsa’s. Bielsa is actually a fairly “direct” manager, though not in the way most understand the word, ie lots of long “hit and hope” percentage balls. He believes in direct vertical movement but through short passing, whereas Cruyff / Guardiola’s approach is about more indirect triangular passing routines. Guardiola is intrigued by Bielsa’s method, though he is still a child of Cruyff.

  17. 1 booking in 34 appearances?! He can’t replace Cheick!

    “He’s at his best when given a licence to roam behind the strikers…”

    Being serious, don’t we already have a player like that for whom our manager can’t find a spot?

    Cheick sometimes looks reckless in a tackle…that is difficult to make, needs to be made and will be made by nobody else. He is the finished article. I guess some people just won’t believe it until they see him starting regularly for a CL side. If we’re going to consider selling him we need to get Guthrie locked up long term.

  18. tunyc
    I dont know who you are refering to, who should be roaming behind the strikers ?
    However on Tiote.
    Look these are all personal opinions.
    But it’s my belief, that Tiote would have been snapped up long ago, had he been the finished article.
    But the fact the guy at present is a one dimensional player, which is a sweeper in front of the back four.
    Point is he is a luxury, Roy Kean could do that, so can Scott Parker, but in addition, they can pass and score goals.
    In effect they are/were the engine rooms of their sides.
    We also have a guy who can do that, his name is Cabaye. And to play them in tandem is to exclude an attacking midfielder.
    Plus the fact he is over the top when it comes to tackling, sending opponents into the stands, when an easing off the ball, or a bump to put the guy off balance, would suffice.
    He’s gotta lot to learn and i understand, fans love their hit men, banging bodies, but this is not a positive thing for the side, plus the constant card collection is also a negative.
    Rumor has it that Chelsea are willing to pay around twenty million for him, personally i doubt it, but if they do, grab it!
    As for why he and Cabaye play to-gether?, should be obvious, Pardew is a guy who concentrates on defending and to have both wingers tracking back, plus two defensive central midfielders and also use the strikers as part of a high defensive line, gives him ten virtual defenders.
    It’s a wonder we ever score a goal.
    If you dont think thats true, we have two good strikers, in Ba and Cisse, but look at our goal average compared to our rivals in the table, +1.
    Thats because we have no one supplyong our strikers, they are all defending.
    On the other hand, we play the most boring football in the league, when we in fact have talented players with good technical abilities who are never gvien an opportunity to display them,having to play that one size fits all Pardew defensive style.
    And if thats not obvious to many of you, pay more attention.

  19. tunyc says:
    March 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    ““He’s at his best when given a licence to roam behind the strikers…”

    Being serious, don’t we already have a player like that for whom our manager can’t find a spot?”

    That’s one of the difficulties of running a footballer farm tunyc, where footballers are bought young and cheap, developed, then put in a worldwide shop window to be sold on for, hopefully, considerable profit for the owner.

    The kinds of players who can reap the biggest dividends are players such as Ben Arfa, and of course, strikers like you know who. Of course there are the odd exceptions, like Cheick “bites yer legs” Tiote. They must be put in the shop window though. In the Premiership however, there is a limitation on the managers who will work under those conditions, especially so when it is under an odious little man like Llambias.

  20. Workey
    I could’nt agree more, compare Barca with Arsenal.
    At times while watching Arsenal play that boring short triangular passing game and going no where , with their opponents given time to track back and set their defense.
    I either want to nod off or change the channel.
    I much prefer a more direct form of attacking, using wingers to spread defenders and using a fast counter attack, which for the most part can be successful, due to the fact the opposition are not set.
    The same goes for the long ball, which can be devastating if used properly.
    But all of what we discuss is old hat, the varying tactics are not something new, it’s about having both the knowledge of those tactics, plus the courage to implement them.
    Which takes time and effort to impart to players, plus the fear of failure as it does’nt take long in to-days game if you are not winning, to lose your job.
    As most owners demand instant success.
    Ah well, would be nice to see a guy like Bielsa or even a Rodgers arrive on Tyneside and apply his stuff to our NUFC.
    But dont hold your breath waiting!

  21. Chuck, if you’re interested in proper football, you may be interested in this piece about Ajax, Cruyff, Van Gaal, De Boer etc, how Marcelo Bielsa fell for by Cruyff’s / Van Gaal’s 3-3-1-3 Ajax team of the 80s and 90s, Cruyff and Van Gaal’s seemingly endless handbags, the Michels / Cruyff model vs the Van Gaal model and so on.


  22. WORKEY
    Indeed an interesting read, as was the article on our friend Bielsa.
    And i do recollect reading about the strife between Cruyff and Van Gaal at Ajax this year.
    Hell we should have such problems, De Boer, Van Gaal, Jol,Cruyff, take any of them over who we have.
    But as i stated, the arguments still exist concerning football and it doesnt stop in regards to tactics.
    Some believe in the individuality and skills of the player.
    While others believe in the disciplin and combined efforts of the team.
    As to who was the original innovator, that i believe does’nt belong to any single individual.
    I’m sure it was built on the efforts of many over the years and in turn, refined by others.
    Sure there are well known names who are given credit, the Hogan’s, Michaels, Cruyffs, etc.
    However i’m sure there are many who’s names we are for the most part unaware of.
    An interesting book could come out of that study and research, of who all of these people were and their contribution to the game, from the earliest to the present.
    And those of us who love the game and believe we have an understanding of it, we all have our ideas of how it should be played.
    Even though we may not be able to accurately articulate our ideas in that regard.
    And of course there are those who will arrive at the conclusion, that a side that achieves any measure of success,then the credit belongs to the manager, which may not in fact be the case.

  23. And yes, i do recall one interesting fact about that particular world cup, was the fact that a pretty decent Scotland team beat the Dutch side in that competition.

  24. Chuck, I’m Mr.1974 World Cup. The only team Scotland beat 2-0 in that competition was Zaire (‘Arry’s right hand man, Joe Jordan, scored in that one). They were then annihilated 9-0 by Yugoslavia a few days later. They never played the Netherlands. The only team to beat them were the Sausagemunchers, 2-1 in the final. That bastad, Beckenbauer. That Muller gadgie certainly knew where the goal was too. It was a battle of good vs evil for me back then, and the wrong side won!

    Dutch football soap, there’s still nothing more full of intrigue.


  25. “And of course there are those who will arrive at the conclusion, that a side that achieves any measure of success,then the credit belongs to the manager, which may not in fact be the case.”

    Some might say that the role of the coach grew in importance the more football moved on. When Brazil won in 1970, they actually rebelled what thay saw as Zagallo’s overly defensive strategy and played their own game. As the analysis says in that 1974 match says:

    “It proved, decisively, that cohesive, collective movement in both attack and defense is an essential part of modern football. Brazil 1970 may have triumphed thanks to their ridiculous talent alone, they would be the last side to ever do so.”

  26. WORKEY
    Yes i got the wrong world cup, was it 78 ?
    Yes it’s an ongoing argument (your last paragraph) and i believe there was an interview of one of M.O’n team during his spell at Villa.
    When asked about tactics, the player looked puzzled and replied, we dont do tactics, we just go out and play.
    In which case he is obviously in the Brasil camp.
    Though how much veracity there is to the story, dont know?
    If true, i wish our guy would give the same instructions, couldnt be any more boring than that which we now suffer through.
    Face it, how many fans were more frustrated and relieved at the final whistle of the Norwich gam.
    Entertaining it was’nt !

  27. chuck says:
    March 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    “When asked about tactics, the player looked puzzled and replied, we dont do tactics, we just go out and play.”

    That was drivel, Chuck, though O’Neill’s tactics are hardly innovative or worth getting particularly excited about. He’s not overly fussed about possession, and tends to like counter attacking football, ie luring teams into attack, then trying to hit them on the break at pace.

    Yes, Scotland did beat the Netherlands in 1978, but it was 3-2 when the Netherlands were already through to the next stages. It was the game which included the legendary Archie Gemmill goal which was indeed rather good, and was featured many years after Irvine Welch’s film about the Scottish smackheeds, “Trainspotting.”

  28. tunyc says:
    March 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    “I haven’t felt that good since Archie Gemill scored against Holland in 1978!”

    That was 3-1 and kept them in tunyc, but then Johnny Rep scored a second goal for the Cloggies and put Scotland out in the end anyway. Incidentally, I think it was the Netherlands’ first goal, by Rensenbrink, which was the 1000th World Cup goal.

  29. Whatever happened to Scot’s football ?
    I understand the side that beat Holland were not exactly behaving themselves in 78 ?
    But i certainly remember the late forties and fifties, when they produced sides that were equal or better than their southern neighbors.
    With players like Billy Steel, George Young, Willy Waddle and our own Bobby Mitchell, Frank Brennan and Ronnie Simpson.
    What were known as the home Internationals, which generated as much if not more interest than darbies or cup games.
    Why they abandoned them is still a mystery?
    Yeah i dont wanna hear aboot the annual invasion to Wembley, handbags and emotion.
    Ah well, seems we are in the twi-light of Scot’s football, with both old firm sides about to apply for first division membership?, like i always say, it’s aboot the money, tv contracts.
    Ah well nowt lasts forever.