Super League leaders Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) not only hold a six points gap to second place Pahang, they now will also be able to parade the league's top scorer starting with the March against PKNS FC. Signed from Kelantan in this mid-season transfer window, Mohammed Ghaddar adds to the firepower that the reigning Super League champions have within their ranks.
All statistics and signs points towards the move to be a positive one for JDT. If Ghaddar was able to find the back of the net 18 times for Kelantan, with undoubtedly a better supporting cast at JDT, his chances of adding to the tally is very high.
As with any player moving to a new team and a new club, there will be a period of adaptation. Ghaddar not only has to build an understanding with his new team mates, the Lebanese would probably also have to alter his style of play to that of JDT.
There's an ethos at JDT that speaks of a particular brand of football - an attacking brand of football. Not quite the tiki-taka level of say a Barcelona but one which preaches the same footballing principles of building play along the ground with quick incisive passing and movements.
Ghaddar possess fantastic individual skills that often than not sees him breaking past markers to get into goal-scoring positions. It is less about discarding those qualities than marrying those qualities with how his new team intends to play football.
Credit: Johor Southern Tigers
As is the nature of life, Ghaddar and JDT's gain will turn out to be a loss for another. On an individual case, it looks likely that Hazwan Bakri will the one that will feel the pain of Ghaddar's arrival in the Southern Tigers. On a bigger scale, that impact could well propagate to the national team as well.
Prior to the signing of Ghaddar, Hazwan has been the preferred choice for Benjamin Mora as the tip of the triumvirate of attackers. A big opportunity for arguably Malaysia's best striker or forward - getting game time in a team that's competing for domestic as well as regional honours.
The former Selangor player didn't start his JDT career on the best path, however he soon grew into the team and his role. Yet, an injury picked up on the second week of April, after scoring four goals across all competitions - stifled his progress with his new team.
The 25-year-old has since recovered from his injury and has featured for JDT in their last two matches against Melaka United and Ceres-Negros FC, albeit producing mixed performances. Hazwan knows that he will have to slowly work his way back to full fitness as well as form.
However with the arrival of Ghaddar, that opportunity to play himself back into form may well be limited. Hazwan may even have to move to the wider roles - ones currently fulfilled by either Gonzalo Cabrera, Azrif Nasrulhaq or Azamuddin Akil - to get himself more minutes on the pitch.
The onus if on Hazwan to fight for this place. If the Labuan born forward can do enough to dislodge Ghaddar from the starting position when both are fit - then at the point in time, Nelo Vingada could have a very capable player on his hands.
There's no denying that the Southern Tigers are better for it because they have Ghaddar within their ranks but on the flip side, the risk of diminishing one the country's best attacking talents remains a plausible outcome.