Colchester United suffered their way through the 2015/16 Football League season, finishing 23rd in League One with only nine wins to their name, and conceding 99 goals in just 46 games. They were more than poor, and ended the campaign a mere ten points clear of safety.
One silver lining on the cloud that was Colchester’s season however, was the form of midfielder George Moncur, the 22-year-old son of former Swindon and West Ham United hero John. In only his second full year at the club; having initially signed on loan from West Ham at the beginning of the 2014-15 season and then permanently in a free deal, Moncur made 44 appearances in the league and scored 12 goals to end the season as Colchester’s top scorer.
This kind of form, particularly for a club that spent the whole of the 2015-16 term struggling at the bottom of the table, is impressive. So much so that almost as soon as the season ended, other clubs were circling, hoping to poach the midfielder.
Peterborough, Charlton and Barnsley are the three sides that have so far shown the most concrete interest, but other clubs including Swindon were also reportedly keen. Colchester accepted bids from both Barnsley and Peterborough, whilst Charlton withdrew their interest after having a reported bid of £300,000 rejected by the Essex outfit.
It was reported in the Gazette and Herald that Peterborough Director of Football Barry Fry had said that the club had agreed personal terms with Moncur, although as of yet no official announcement has been made.
However, how good is this player that clubs in both League One and the Championship want? Is he worth more than the reported £300,000 that Charlton offered?
Well, to start with, his impact in 2015-16 has been obvious for all to see. Colchester only scored 57 goals in their league campaign, and top scorer Moncur got 12 of these – a fairly big proportion, particularly from midfield. The next top scorer for the club was Chris Porter with seven.
In retrospect it is not hard to see why Colchester went down, but this kind of statistic makes Moncur’s individual endeavours over the campaign even more impressive.
However, Moncur’s importance to Colchester did not only begin this season. In 2014-15, he made 41 appearances and scored eight goals, an impressive tally for a 21-year-old midfielder who had only just joined a new club at the time.
He is very well experienced for such a young player too, which in itself is an asset and offers evidence to suggest that he will perform for prospective clubs. At 22 years of age, Moncur has made 121 senior appearances in all competitions which is quite a lot, and Colchester fans seem to agree that any replacement for Moncur would have to replace the experience that he would take with him, ideally in addition to his undoubted quality.
Furthermore, Moncur offers versatility in terms of his position on the pitch. Whilst he scored a lot of goals from an attacking midfield position for Colchester last season, he can also be utilised in a deeper role in the centre of midfield and can play out on the left if needed.
This kind of versatility will put him in good stead should he move to a club with a small squad as it will allow him to get more game time which can only be a positive.
Given the level of interest that has been shown in Moncur, both during the January transfer window and now when he seems certain to leave, Moncur seems to be the real deal. Moreover, with just a year left on his contract at Colchester, they will be looking to cash in on their most prized asset before he can depart for a pittence.
So far in his short career, George Moncur has clearly been given the chance to play and develop on the pitch, which will have inevitably improved his game. He should be looking to continue this and not move to a club where he might end up sitting on the bench.
If he does end up at Peterborough, the side will have gained an experienced but young player who has plenty of time to develop further into a special talent. For Moncur, he is likely to join a club that has a track record of picking up young players and giving them the space to develop into better footballers before moving on to play at a higher level.
Hopefully, he can earn the right move that allows him to progress and improve properly. With the right coaching and enough games under his belt, he could end up featuring in the Premier League just like his dad.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Richard Blaxall