On the face of it, Hakeem Araba’s first season in Sweden seems mediocre at best. His side, Falkenberg, came third-bottom in the Allsvenskan and at one stage of the season, the English forward went thirteen matches without a goal.
However, from the end of April to the end of May, Araba scored in every game. Six matches yielded six goals.
Not quite Jamie Vardy territory but scoring in six consecutive matches is certainly no mean feat.
That run of games effectively prevented Falkenberg from being relegated. His six goals in six games single-handedly won his side an additional four points, the margin which is side finished above the relegation spots.
From 1:54, Araba is interviewed after his first goal for Falkenberg
Araba’s eight goals throughout the season secured a third-bottom finish, resulting in a play-off against second-tier side Sirius for the right to play Allsvenskan football in 2016.
The former Peterborugh United youngster only played a small part in the play-off, as his side earned an away goals victory, but his heroics during the season were enough for him to cerment a spot in our top 10.
24-year-old Londoner Araba was looking for more first team football after a disappointing six month spell with Greek Super League side Panthrakikos where he failed to score in seven appearances.
He had arrived in Greece with high hopes, having fired eight goals in his first season away from England the year before with Cypriot side AE Kouklion.
Araba starring for Cypriot side AE Kouklion
The move to Greece did not work out but a fresh start in Sweden was exactly what Araba needed and he repaid Falkenberg’s faith with eight goals in 19 starts.
Not bad for a striker who spent the majority of his career in England as a non-league footballer – a career which also incorporated a role in a move alongside Hollywood Walk of Famer Orlando Bloom. A teenage Araba starred in the film The Calcium Kid alongside the Lord of the Rings star.
At 190cm, the 24-year-old is not afraid to put himself about but his goals have come in several different ways since his move abroad.
Of course, he has been a useful asset for his sides at set pieces using his aerial prowess and also as a target man, the vocal point his team’s attacks but Araba has more to his game than that.
He is equally skilled at finishing, especially playing as a poacher. At least of a couple of his goals this season for Falkenberg were scored following up on a teammate’s strike.
At 24, Araba has already played for 14 different clubs but at Falkenberg, he has a base, somewhere he can grow. The club needs him if they are to survive relegation once more and he needs the club if his career overseas is to continue to impress.
2015 has been Araba’s best abroad to date. 2016 needs to see him maintain consistency throughout a season.