Akor Jerome Adams: Nigeria’s Next Top Striker?

From Victor Boniface to Gift Emmanuel Orban, we’ve seen quite a few Nigerian forwards polish their skills in Norway before earning a move to a big club, and the latest player to do so is Akor Jerome Adams. Born in Benue State, Nigeria, Adams developed at the Jamba Football Academy before making the move to Norwegian side Sogndal in August 2018, netting 10 goals in 28 games before making the move to Lillestrom in December 2021, where he would emerge as one of the best strikers in the league with 27 goals in 47 appearances. This prompted Montpellier — who were on the verge of losing top scorer Sepe Elye Wahi — to sign him in August on a four-year deal, paying just €4.5 million.


It looks to be money well spent — Adams scored twice in the span of three minutes to give Montpellier a 2-1 lead at the hour-mark, only for Samuel Grandsir’s 90th-minute equalizer to snatch a point for Le Havre in their return to Ligue 1. The following match, he scored the fourth and final goal to secure a 4-1 win at Lyon, starting up top in the next four games as Montpellier lost to Reims and Lille before coughing up an early two-goal lead and drawing 2-2 in Strasbourg and 0-0 at home against Rennes.


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Whilst he has a tall task ahead of him as he looks to beat out the likes of Boniface, Victor Osimhen, Taiwo Awoniyi and Ademola Lookman and secure a maiden Super Eagles call-up, Adams’ availability — he missed just two months last year with a shoulder injury — and goal-scoring ability could go a long way towards ensuring that Montpellier — who have not played in Ligue 2 since 2008/09 — enjoy yet another comfortable mid-table finish this season.


Player Model: Michail Antonio







Adams is very adept at pressing, and instead of making those very common angled runs to cover a passing lane, he tries to switch it up, varying his pressing approach(running in a straight line or bending his run) at every opportunity. He makes similar angled runs to block off passing lanes and rush opposition players, but more interestingly, he also switches up his pressing method depending on where he’s charging at the opposition player on the ball from or how unsettled he feels the player is.


Instead of always making that angled run that the opposition might have prepared for, he sometimes switches it by making a straight run, changing to an angled run before quickly switching back to a straight run (all in a single press) which usually confuses the player he is pressing, forcing a quicker decision out of the player. He has various ways of mixing up his pressing pattern of which, the illustration below is just one example.



Defensive Awareness


Adams has a very good tactical understanding of his team’s defensive structure and pressing triggers. Montpellier set up out of possession in a 4–4–2/4–2–4, depending on which player holds the ball, and Adams knows perfectly well when to hold off from pressing to draw the opposition player in and when to also start pressing once the press has been triggered. His first job out of possession when in his own half is to block any possible pass into the opposition midfielders before jumping on the player with the ball when he feels he’s close enough. He’s also really good at staying on his man to cover passing lanes into them. 



This is one place he can improve in though as he can sometimes be far away from the rest of his teammates when out of possession, not following them when they’ve retreated into their own half.




Adams usually elects to strike the ball hard and low into the bottom corner mostly with his right in-step. Whenever Adams is able to get on the end of crosses or through balls in the box, he tends to go for one-touch finishes, be it with his head or his feet and he hits the ball with real accuracy too.


Aerial Ability


Adams is very tall (1.90m) and makes sure to make full use of his height by always contesting and winning his aerial duels, to either help his team regain possession, serve as an out ball to relieve pressure when his team are trying to bypass a press or to bring others into play. He has a very impressive success rate for Aerial duels in the just concluded season, winning 53.66% of his aerial duels in the recently completed league season compared to Erling Haaland’s 50%, and Michail Antonio’s 36.23%. For the times he’s not able to win his aerial duel, he still manages to throw his body about making himself a nuisance for the opposition.





At Lillestrom, Adams played in a front 2 of a 3–5–2 formation and was usually given a license to drift across the front line. He shows positional intelligence and very good understanding with his strike partner to always interchange positions (right to left or left to right) when they are both central. This action confuses defenders that man-mark them since they will have problems knowing who is meant to follow whom. When outside the box, he varies his movements running from left to right, right to left, coming short, or running off the last defender.



Awareness Of Attacking Space


Adams has a very good mastery of when to attack space or drop into space to get on the end of a pass. He is usually able to sense when his teammate is about to get on the ball to give him a pass and immediately attacks the space available, giving him a better chance at getting on the ball. Likewise, he’s also able to pick the right moments to drop deep to get on the ball and bring others into play.



Physical Strength To Receive The Ball


Together with his height, Adams also has a great amount of strength and tenacity to help him hold off opposition defenders. He has an incredible ability to get himself between the ball and opposition, using his bum and hands as support for gauging where the defender is as well as helping him bounce off defenders. This strength makes it easy for him to receive the ball, bring others into play, get on the end of crosses, and win the ball back for his team.



Ball Carrying


Adams is very good at carrying the ball vertically at a very high speed. Adams is able to run in straight lines with the ball at his feet whilst also holding off opposition defenders at high speed.



Strong In The Box


Adams, as a result of his strength, is able to show a remarkable ability to bully defenders in the box which enables him to get on the end of crosses.





Adams at only 23 shows very good leadership skills. He is always encouraging his teammates or directing them on who to mark, which spaces to cover, and always manages to engage them.








Due to the positions Adams takes up in the box, he is usually not able to get on the end of crosses in open play. When in the box, he likes to run toward the center of the post which is usually the tightest part of the goal, so it’s understandable for the ball to not get to the center of the goal(clearance from a defender or his teammates aim crosses to the back post or front post which is usually the easier pick-out).


A positive from this is that he is usually still on the move after first contact is made with the ball in the box by his teammate or opposition (which can be a knock-down, clearance, scuffed shot, and so on) so he can still get on the ball if eventually, anything breaks. When he does decide to run to the back or near post he’s usually able to bag a goal or shot.




On The Periphery During Set-Pieces


Despite Adams’ strength and height, he is never really able to get on the end of attacking or defending set-pieces and this is not for a lack of effort as he does his best to put his body around but he’s just usually unable to get himself in the right positions to do anything meaningful from set-pieces in both boxes.



Desire To Get Into The Box


As we’ve seen with a lot of the most lethal modern strikers in the world right now, there is usually a hunger or desire to get into the box at every opportunity even if the ball has gone ahead of them like Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, and Robert Lewandowski among others, but Adams doesn’t always do this. A lot of the time, when Adams has held up the ball and brought someone who is ahead of him (someone closer to the goal) into play, he shows a lack of intensity/conviction to get back into the box to get on the end of something. 



Congesting Space


Adams likes backing players up to receive the ball and possibly turn on his own or bring others into play, which is a good thing on its own, but sometimes he doesn’t recognize when he’s supposed to switch it up and make a run to drag defenders away to open up space for others to run into or someone on the ball. This causes him to sometimes congest space, making it harder for his team to play through the opposition. He needs to have a better balance of running behind and holding up play.





Current Ability


A club/level of club where the player has the qualities to play at least 70% of available minutes right now.


6/10 — A struggling mid-table outfit in the Premier League or Ligue 1.

  1. Everton
  2. Crystal Palace
  3. Reims


Potential Ability:


A club/level of club where the player has the qualities to play at least 70% of available minutes at his career peak.


7/10 — A strong European contender in the Bundesliga or a mid-table Premier League club.


  1. Eintracht Frankfurt
  2. Bayer Leverkusen
  3. West Ham




Akor Adams has carried on with his fine form from the Norwegian league to France’s top-flight, with 3 goals in 6 Ligue 1 matches for Montpellier this season, who sit 13th and who will travel to Lorient at the weekend before hosting Clermont Foot. He has an incredibly well-rounded game and is skilled at holding up play, making intelligent pass selections in the opposition’s third, and he is very active defensively and aware of his team’s defensive structure.


A physically imposing striker with an impressive finishing ability, Adams is a natural leader, but one area where he needs to improve is his work inside the box. He is very one-dimensional and predictable in the box, preferring to wrestle defenders to get free which is something he is going to have to work on, as he can be more effective and dangerous if he does less tussling and instead works on getting more dynamic movement in the box. 


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Adams also really has to show more conviction in getting into the box as this will greatly increase the number of chances he gets on. He is one to look out for this season, and if he continues with the form he is currently in, a move to a better club is certainly on the cards next summer.


By: Tomisin Lai-Oke / @_tomlinsin_

Featured Image: FEP / Icon Sport


This is part of a series of player and opposition video scouting reports. If you’re looking to source my video scouting expertise for your club or organization you can reach out to me at laioketomisin9@gmail.com or on twitter @_tomlinsin_.