Akor Adams’ fine start in Ligue 1 has added to the growing list of Nigerian forwards setting Europe’s top divisions alight, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
While Victor Osimhen, Victor Boniface, Gift Orban, Terem Moffi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi have all been on the lips of fans for their impressive performances, the young striker, who is the new sensation in France, is making a case for himself.
Adams has hit the ground running in Ligue 1 since his €4.5m move from Lillestrom in the summer.
On Sunday, the 23-year-old scored twice in the 17th and 72nd minutes in Montpellier’s comprehensive 3-0 defeat of visiting Toulouse in Ligue1, which took his tally to seven goals in nine Ligue1 appearances.
The former Nigeria U-20 striker boasts an impressive goal return, which is only bettered by France captain, Kylian Mbappe, who comfortably sits at the top of the scoring chart with 10 goals from nine appearances.
Mbappe has been in the French league all his life, moving from the Monaco youth team to the senior team before joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2018, unlike the Nigerian who has barely settled fully into life in France.
Knowing he was coming into the league that has one of the deadliest strikers in the world, Adams in August said his intention was to help his team and also set a personal best.
“I want Montpellier to finish in the top three and I want to be top scorer, but the club comes first,” Adams said.
“I am going to work hard and do my best to progress every week so that I can play in the Champions League, but also play for the national team and take part in the World Cup. For now, I have to give my all for Montpellier.”
Adams has always been a dreamer, and despite his young age, he is already accomplishing some of them.
“I talk about my dreams and then people laugh. It sounds ridiculous, but that’s how I am. I think anything is possible. I told my mum that I wanted to play in Europe. She actually believed me,” Adams said in the lead-up to Lillestrom’s Norwegian Cup final loss to Brann.
The Kogi-born forward left Nigerian side Jamba F.A. to join Norwegian second-division side Sogndal in 2018, initially on a loan deal, before making the move permanent.
It didn’t take long for him to establish himself as one of the most prolific forwards in the division, and after 23 goals in just 38 games in the Eliteserien, he got his move to the top flight.
Adams formed a formidable partnership with Thomas Lehne Olsen up front for Lillestrom and both were a source of concern for defenders in the league.
In his final season in Norway, the Nigerian scored 17 goals and registered two assists in 17 games, proving he was ready to play among some of the best players in the world.
After earning a move to Montpellier, Adams is already showing the world the kind of stuff he is made of and just three months since joining the French outfit, he has already asserted himself as a mainstay in Michel Der Zakarian’s side.
Adams’ successful start to life at Montpellier has come as a surprise to the head coach.
“Our surprise has been seeing him score immediately, but that’s football. Andy Delort went a long time without scoring a goal, Elye Wahi as well,” Der Zakarian was quoted as saying by Ligue1.com.
“It is fair to say that Adams’ form has allowed Montpellier to quickly forget the latter, who joined Lens this summer.
“We knew it would take some time to adapt to Adams. He needs to adapt, but others do too, they should want to play with him. We looked back on the match against Rennes and he made many good runs, but he wasn’t fed. Players in possession of the ball should see things and should want to give him the ball, especially in behind,” said the Montpellier head coach.
However, contrary to the surprise of his coach, club president Laurent Nicollin foresaw Adams’ explosive start. “I am convinced that he can be a great surprise,” he said at the start of the season.
What certainly isn’t a surprise is a Nigerian striker performing at the top-level in Europe.
Adams is the latest to stake a claim for a spot in the Super Eagles squad, and his case is only getting stronger by the week.
Adams’ volley against Toulouse in Montpellier’s 3-0 win at the Stade de la Mosson on Sunday has been listed among the top three goals of match-day 10 in the Ligue, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Adams, Paris Saint-Germain’s Warren Zaire-Emery (vs Stade Brestois), and Stade de Reims’ Josh Wilson-Esbrand (vs Lorient) scored the best goals of the gameweek.
Ligue 1 posted the video of the top three goals on the Ligue 1 Uber Eats official website writing, “Watch Warren Zaire-Emery’s thunderous effort for Paris Saint-Germain, Josh Wilson-Esbrand’s fine strike for Reims and Akor Adams’ cool finish for Montpellier. The pick of the goals from Round 10 of Ligue 1 Uber Eats is here.”
Adams scored a brace in the game against Toulouse to help La Paillade rise to the 11th spot in the French topflight with 11 points.
Montpellier started the game well, and they needed just 13 minutes to take the lead. Adams received a pass from Teji Savanier and struck a superb volley from the left corner of the box.
Montpellier scored another goal in the 63rd minute courtesy of Khalil Fayad then Adams added the third in the 72nd minute. He went on a quick counter after Toulouse lost the ball in Montpellier’s half.
Despite his remarkable performances for Montpellier this season, the 23-year-old disclosed that he has not been contacted by Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro.
“The Nigerian selection? For the moment, I remain focused on my performances with Montpellier, I have no contact with the selection,” he was reported as saying by France Bleu via allezpaillade.
With Nigeria initiating their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers next month, against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, and star striker Victor Osimhen recovering from an injury, there is a possibility for Adams to receive his first call-up from Peseiro, but before then, he is set for his toughest challenge in France next weekend, when Montpellier make the trip to Paris to face champions PSG.