ANDRE Moritz arrived as “a present” to the Wanderers fans – but is the Samba star now heading for the returns desk, with his contract up in the summer?
An injury-flecked season now appears to be over after Dougie Freedman revealed on Friday night that the midfielder picked up a hamstring strain which is likely to keep him out of the remaining three games.
It has been a depressingly familiar tale for the former Crystal Palace man who has shown some genuine flashes of brilliance but has rarely been far away from his next spell on the sidelines.
When Freedman snapped the immensely-likable 27-year-old up on a free transfer at the end of July, he had no qualms in branding the Brazilian a “difference maker.” And in that respect he has enjoyed a far more successful campaign than the other mercurial genius in the Wanderers pack, Chris Eagles.
But the same fitness problems that hampered his 12 months at Selhurst Park followed Moritz to the North West.
Many of those problems can be put down to the fact the well-travelled playmaker has missed the last two pre-seasons, either in sorting a move to England from Turkish club Mersin, or the six weeks he spent in limbo at Wanderers waiting to see if finances could be sufficiently juggled to offer him a deal.
When fit, Moritz has looked the part. His best spell came just before Christmas when he netted four of his seven goals, including a superb double at Leicester City. At that point it seemed the Brazilian ace was going to be an integral part of Wanderers’ New Year push, yet injury intervened again and his last two starts – against Derby in March and Barnsley earlier this month – have been disappointing in the extreme.
There is no doubt Freedman would like the chance to work with Moritz over the summer and have his medical team iron out the niggling problems that have prevented him hitting top gear.
But just as he found on his arrival – spent wandering the halls of the Whites Hotel for several days while a contract was slowly haggled – finances are not as straightforward as they once were.
It comes down to whether Moritz is viewed as a luxury or someone who could genuinely drive a promotion push next term.
Just as Eagles found this season, Freedman has little time for inconsistency, regardless of how talented the individual may be. And while Moritz’s attitude has always been praised by the Wanderers boss, even whilst out of the side, the lack of cast iron guarantees about his fitness may well prove the decisive factor in offering him a new deal or not.
After a few years travelling between Turkey, London and the North West, Moritz understandably wants to put down roots and said recently that his next deal will have to be an extended one.
Whether Wanderers are in a position right now to make such an offer looks unlikely.