Christian Nade to Dundee

January 18, 2014

Why It Makes Sense

For The Club

Christian Nade may have been injury prone the last couple of years but before that time he was reliable in the sense that he was healthy enough to feature regularly – you see how we avoided saying “match fit” there. If he can’t repeat his Hearts track record when it comes to injuries at Dens Park, then he’ll immediately be an upgrade on Craig Beattie because he’ll actually be available for selection.

John Brown stated at the signing that Nade will give Dundee something different. He is absolutely correct. Peter MacDonald is a wily veteran who lives off chances created for him by others, Martin Boyle is quick and direct, and Craig Wighton is a good technical forward but still a very young boy. Beattie rounds off that corps nicely when he is able to play, but recently his time on the park has been dwindling.

Nade imposes immense strength in that huge frame of his and will have one of the better first touches in the first division. He can be the perfect target man for MacDonald, Nicky Riley and Ryan Conroy to play off, so long as they don’t expect him to jump for the balls; he does his best work backing into defenders and taking the ball into his feet. And don’t be fooled by his size; he has bulk and girth but is not fat. It’s one of Scottish football’s greatest myths. His problems is actually that he has too much muscle in his body, which restricts his movement for a footballer. He should have been an NFL running back.

He may not have attracted many loyal followers from his time at Hearts, but if he can perform to that same level a league down then he’ll be a good addition. Plus, the thought of a Peter MacDonald-Christian Nade partnership does sound pretty strong.

For The Player

You only have to look at the recent struggles of Derek Riordan to know that any footballer with a bad reputation for work ethic struggles to find a job in the modern game. Nade is nowhere near the pariah that Riordan is perceived to be off the field, but accusations of laziness have dogged him throughout his entire career. The fact that it took a three week trial for Dundee to eventually be sold on his motivations tells you exactly how low his stock had sunk. Furthermore, when he left Hearts he would have been doing well to immediately sign for the club top of the second tier, nevermind three-and-a-half years later.

There was no chance a Premiership club was going to sign him – even Hearts would probably have said “no thanks, we’ll stick with the 12 year olds” – so there is little better a move that he can ask for. It is now very likely that Nade will be a top flight footballer once again later this year.


Why It Doesn’t

For The Player

We always try to write something in each section of these transfer blogs in order to cover it from every conceivable angle. However, as you may have gathered from the previous section, there is nothing we can see about this deal that wouldn’t be beneficial to the player. Even the length of contract is the best he could have hoped for. With his track record, what manager in his right mind would have given him a multi-year deal?

For The Club

In his press conference after signing, the Frechman claimed that his dreadful goals tally (11 in three seasons) was down to the fact that he was used as a lone forward whose job was to provide for others. While it’s true that Hearts played 4-5-1 the majority of the time Nade was there, he was not exclusively used within that system. In the latter half of his first season, Stevie Frail used the striker in a 4-4-2 alongside Calum Elliot, and throughout most of his third, and last, campaign he played in a two-man attack first for Csaba Laszlo and then for Jim Jefferies. Laszlo had been rigid to the 4-5-1 at first but when Bruno Aguiar departed the manager switch things around, sometimes playing Nade and David Witteveen in attack (I’ll leave a pause to allow any Hearts fans reading this to shudder). Then Jim Jefferies came in and preferred a two-man strike-force with Nade alongside Gordon Smith. All in all, in 19 starts in his final season at Hearts, Nade played with a strike partner on 11 of those occasions. He scored only twice, and played only one more match under Jefferies after he punched Ian Black in the dressing room at Celtic Park. That’s not really relevant, it’s just funny.

So despite what Nade says, he’s neither a goalscorer in the lone-striker role or in a two-man attack. The problem with him isn’t a system or formation issue, it’s his sheer lack of predatory instincts as a front-man. When attacks are developing on the wings it is common to see Nade 20 yards out, on his heels, playing the role of spectator instead of making a run into the box to give a teammate something to aim at. He just doesn’t possess that ruthlessness, the thirst for goals, that makes every great goalscorer what they are. Without exaggerating, he probably received an opportunity to score, on average, once every three games while at Tynecastle, and he’s not even a particularly good finisher to take those opportunities when they come.

If Dundee are content with him to solely play the role of provider then there is a chance that this relationship could work out for the better. Even if that’s the case he’ll need to replicate form of five years ago, which is far from guaranteed. What’s more, if he struggles with injuries once more then they’ll just have bought themselves someone to keep Beattie company in the physio’s room.


To listen to the podcast discussing the striker’s move, along with Morton signing Garry O’Connor, Michael Moffat’s suspensions, Rangers troubles and much more, then all you have to do is click here.