Watch Out for Musa Al-Tamari—The 'Jordanian Messi' Destined for a Big Transfer

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportMarch 6, 2020

SEVILLE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 03: Sergio Escudero Palomo of Sevilla FC competes for the ball with Al Tamari of APOEL Nikosia during the UEFA Europa League group A match between Sevilla FC and APOEL Nikosia at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on October 03, 2019 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
B/R Football

You might not have heard of him yet, but Musa Al-Tamari is grabbing the attention of scouts from leading clubs all across Europe.

Plying his trade with Cypriot champions APOEL, the 22-year-old wide forward has been dubbed the "Jordanian Messi." And he's destined for a big move this summer.

In late 2018, he was being linked with Cagliari and Fiorentina—but bigger clubs now have him on the radar, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Atalanta and Lille all taking a look this season, according to Bleacher Report sources.

He's been playing in Europe for two seasons and quickly became a fan favourite in Cyprus.

His transfer in May 2018, after time on loan with Amman's Al-Jazeera Club, is regarded the biggest made by a Jordanian player. It took just a matter of weeks for APOEL fans to take to their new hero from the Middle East.

His chant, to the tune of "La Bamba", quickly caught on:

"We've got an Al Tamari.

Videos you might like

"He's so much better than Harry and Dele Alli

"The Jordanian Messi!"

Tommy Oar played and trained alongside Al-Taamari in those opening months at APOEL and told Vince Rugari of The Sydney Morning Herald:

"He looks very unassuming, but...when we were playing in the Champions League and Europa League qualifiers before I came home, he was tearing teams apart.

"It's only a matter of time until a big team snaps him up. There's already, every week a new team that's going to sign him."

Al-Tamari was crowned the Cypriot First Division's MVP in his first season, and his playing style turned heads.

Jordanian football expert Mohammad Elidy has followed his career closely and told B/R: "There are a huge expectations from Jordanians for him—especially after that marvellous first season with APOEL. He became the best player in the country before reaching 21 years old—and also without playing for the two best clubs in the country, Al-Faisaly and Al-Wehdat.

"Despite a great interest from them, he—unlike other Jordanian players—refused them and refused Gulf money. He waited for Europe. The mentality, his desire to play at bigger clubs like APOEL and his self-confidence is what made reach this level.

"Yes, he's labeled as a Jordanian Messi."

There are some traits that are comparable to those of the Barcelona captain.

He dribbles with the ball close to him and uses swerving body movements to trick defenders into going the wrong way. He can score great goals too.

But most people who watch him say a better comparison might be Bayern Munich legend Arjen Robben.

Elidy explains: "I think he is much like Robben. He has a lot of pace, is very skilful from the wing and can score gorgeous curved goals.

"It's not common to see a Jordanian player go from Jordan to Europe and succeed in the way Al-Tamari has."

Ahmad Mallah is a Jordanian journalist closely tracking Al-Tamari's career. 

"He gives the impression of someone who is more mature in terms of football decisions on field and has an explosive acceleration that helps him go through defences," Mallah told B/R. "He has benefited from joining a European club at a relative early age.

"He is called Jordanian Messi by fans, and this may be down to his dribbling and fast decision-making when in possession of the ball—he is considered the best Jordanian player at the moment."

This season, Al-Tamari's stats have not quite mirrored those of the previous year, when he scored nine times. However, his assist count has risen to nine and counting from one last term, and his tricky style of play is very much still impressing admirers.

He has played 32 times for his country, scoring seven times. Jordan has never had a global football superstar, and there is hope he will make that breakthrough.

"He has a huge following in his country, and everyone wishes to see him wearing the shirt of a bigger European club," Mallah says.

"They are looking for him to be an ambassador of the country—and to do for Jordan what Mo Salah did for Egypt."

Listen to Dean on the B/R Football Ranks podcast. New episodes every Wednesday. Subscribe here.

-