The Imps have sprung something of a surprise this morning by announcing the signing of 22-year-old Dutch defender Lewis Motnsma from Dordrecht.
I recall when I first subscribed to Wyscout, I imagined I’d use it to check the formation of our opponents and pull out the odd xG stat. Never did I imagine within a year I’d be disappearing down a rabbit-hole of Dutch second division matches, watching clips of an imposing 6ft 3in defender rampaging forward in matches against the likes of NAC Breda.
So, who is the Imps latest signing? He’s a towering centre back, used to marauding forward and possessing a keen eye for a pass. He’s good in the air, standing 6ft 3in tall and on the clips I’ve seen, he isn’t unlike a certain centre back we sold to Norwich in his rather languid looking approach and style. He can play right-back too and again, watching the clips he seemed very comfortable spreading the ball down the channels for wide men to run onto.
Also, and the ladies will like this one, he’s done a bit of modelling as well. Easy on the eye for those who like that sort of thing.
In moving to Lincoln, Montsma is fulfilling part of his career goals. he told an interview in a Dutch-language magazine last year that he had always harboured an ambition to play abroad, particularly in England. “My goal is to play abroad sometime, England or Italy. And in the Netherlands among the traditional top three, but also, for example, subtoppers such as FC Utrecht or AZ.”
Montsma started his career with top-flight side Heerenveen, before a move to Cambur. He didn’t make an appearance for either, instead moving to Dordrecht which is where he has developed as a player. He made his first-team debut in August 2018 against NEC and has since impressed with a number of dominant displays. It is my understanding Dordrecht would have liked to have kept him, but their football fortunes have not been so good as they finished second from bottom of their division. He’s made 48 senior appearances for his club, 23 in each of the last two seasons as well as a single cup outing in both years as well. Interestingly, he has been a teammate of Brandon Ormund-Ottewell this season, a one-time Imps trialist.
Is he any good? Well, it is hard to tell given that his football has come in the Dutch second division. We don’t know exactly how the standard there compares with the standard here, but physically he certainly meets the requirements. He looks to have tidy control for a bigger player, but he’ll bring the height we need to pose a threat in the opposition area. He’s played much of this season at left centre back for his side, but has also appeared at right centre back and right back.
He’s certainly got a good record in the air, winning 64.9% of his aerial duels. I try to add some comparison to that, so, for instance, Michael Bostwick won 56% of his for us (please note this comparison is only to show the impact Montsma had for his side compared to the impact Bozzy had for us). He made 7.82 interceptions per game for his team (Bozzy was on 5.05 ) and had a 79.2% pass accuracy (Bozzy 81.4%). All those stats look promising, but numbers can tell you a story that might not be complete. Just to reiterate for those at the back, I’m not suggesting he is better than Bozzy (or that he’s not), merely that for Dordrecht he made more successful aerial challenges and more interceptions.
One of the worries fans might have is how he will settle as a young man in a new country, but in the interview, I referenced earlier, he gave an insight into how he deals with such pressure: “If you play at FC Dordrecht, the people of Dordrecht know you, but not outside. If you play at Ajax, then the whole country knows you. One can handle it better than the other. But I am a very calm person and I don’t do anything crazy. My parents released me very early on and trusted that I made the right choices. That is why I was able to move to Heerenveen at such a young age. It also made me mature quite quickly, I think. Everything was your own responsibility. It was possible to make one mistake, after that it was no longer allowed. ”
There we have it. In terms of ‘interesting’ signings, it doesn’t get more out of leftfield than this. At times, such signings can be inspired, with players like Montsma thriving in a new country. There is the question of how he will settle and adjust to a different culture, but he seems very level-headed from what I have seen. On video, he looks to have good control, a decent tackle and good distribution, so we’ll have to wait and see exactly what he brings to the squad.
One thing is for sure; we needed new central defenders so he will at least go some way to filling the empty spaces in the dressing room right now.
Welkom Lewis, we wensen je veel succes met onze geweldige voetbalclub.