Neal Maupay: Made in France, polished in Brentford and shining in the Premier League at Brighton
It's clear Neal Maupay has a burning desire to score goals.
The French striker, signed from Brentford for £16m last summer, already has six Premier League goals so far this season - two headers, two with his left foot and two with his right.
It's been a productive week for Maupay who netted the winner with an excellent header at Arsenal and followed that with a brilliant strike during the entertaining 2-2 draw against Wolves at the Amex on Sunday.
Maupay said, "Two goals this week is good. The third game of the week is never easy, especially against a good team. We had a couple of chances in the second half. We're not happy but we will take it. Overall I think it is a good point."
Six in 16 Premier League matches is a decent return for the player who scored 45 goals in the Championship with Brentford from 95 appearances.
Maupay's pace enables him to run in behind defenders but his work-rate and ability to hold the ball up has also impressed. The 5ft 8in striker, who played twice for France under-21s is also a highly-competitive character.
He isn't afraid to let a teammate know if he should have received a pass, as demonstrated when he berated Aaron Connolly in the first half against Arsenal and also Leandro Trossard against Wolves.
It is however that edge and determination that keeps the goals coming. After scoring earlier in the season against Tottenham, a journalist praised him on three goals in eight PL matches following his step up from the Championship.
He smiled at the compliment but quickly added, that three goals is nothing and many strikers get 20 or more goals each season year after year. That is Maupay's mindset and an insight to the high standards he sets himself.
And once again after Wolves, his response was he just wants to keep improving and working hard.
His goal on Sunday was excellent. There was talk goalkeeper Rui Patrício's position was off but it was the speed and accuracy of the strike that deserved the credit.
Maupay's pace was too much for defender Coner Coady. He saw Dale Stephens shaping to play the pass over the top and his left-footed finish arrowed into the corner from 20 yards.
“I just tried to shoot the ball as quick as possible because if you shoot quick, the keeper doesn’t have time to get ready," Maupay said. "It was a good ball from Dale (Stephens). A good finish. But we didn't get the win so I am a bit frustrated."
Graham Potter left Maupay on the bench during the 2-1 loss at Liverpool and the breather appears to have helped. Prior to Anfield he hadn't hit the target against Norwich, Manchester United or Leicester.
Two fine strikes in his last two matches shows he is refreshed.
“I am always confident," said the Frenchman who says Zinedine Zidane is his footballing idol. "That is the hardest part for a striker because you go through struggles and you don't score and you don't know why.
"You don't understand why because if you are doing the right things. But it's a striker’s life, I just try to get ready and walk out every day in training and I have been lucky to score two goals this week so I am happy with it."
Maupay was born in Versailles, just west of Paris, and moved to the Côte d'Azur with his family at the age of five. He started his career at Nice and moved on to St Etienne in 2015. He enjoyed a successful loan spell at Brest before signing for Brentford for around £1.6m in 2017.
The former France under-21 is eligible to play for France or Argentina due to Argentinian descent on his mother's side. Maupay however is purely focused on scoring goals in the PL for Albion.
“We had a lot of big games the last few weeks," he added. "We played some top teams and to finish this week with a win away and a draw it gives us a lot of confidence and it gives us a bit more than a week to recover and get ready because we have got a big game (Crystal Palace) on Monday.”
At £16m, Maupay shows all the early signs of being a successful signing for Albion...and boy the club certainly needed it. The recent high-profile and expensive arrivals of Jurgen Locadia, Florin Andone and Alireza Jahanbakhsh all failed to take off.
In Maupay, they appear to have finally found their man.