Just a quick note here: I am not at all a football talent scout and don’t fancy myself as one. If a football club asked me to do anything for them, at all, around talent scouting I would laugh and tell them to hire a professional. I do, however, like to look at player numbers and pretend that I can use them to see if a player is going to be good in the future. I also like to call myself out when I get that wrong. That’s what I’m doing here. Don’t take this seriously, this is just fun, looking at numbers for players. That’s all!
Lacazette: Last article I said “I wonder how his season will turn out now that he’s injured?” Well, he’s scored 21 goals in Ligue Un. That return takes his total to 84 league goals in the last 4 years for Lyon. His overall total is 102 goals in the last 4 years for Lyon. Arsenal are rumored to have failed with a £29m bid this summer and both Lyon and Lacazette are suggesting that a move is in the offing this summer (2017) though his price tag has doubled and he is now a £60m player.
Lukaku: “No player generates as much fervent hatred (from Gooners) as Romelu Lukaku.” His dribble rate has exploded this season. Formerly a 50% dribbler on 2 or so attempts per game, he has increased that to 66% on 3 attempts per game, that’s 2 successful and 1 failed per game. That’s not as prolific as Alexis Sanchez who is 2.9/4.3 but both dribble at about the same proficiency, 67%. His finishing percentage is still ridiculous, he’s scored 16 goals on a mere 63 shots for a 25% finishing rate. Last season he was a 15% finisher. Which is still good, it’s just not 25%, which is ridiculous. Still weird in that he’s just 41% in aerial duels but still scores goals with his head and has 4 already this season. Yet another forward I expect to move this summer and who will command in excess of £60m.
Milik: “Watch this player, I have a feeling he will be Man United’s next record signing. He’s a Man U fan, by the way.” Spent the season injured. Has scored 4 goals in 440 minutes. Only 22 years old. Still a long way to go before I call him a washout. However, probably not signing for Man U this summer.
Griezmann: “4 goals in 3 matches, still the only man in the world who looks good with a mustache.” Has since been on a huge slump and only added 5 more league goals. Still leads Atletico with 9 goals and 6 assists in la Liga. Overall, he’s scored or assisted in 18 of his 33 matches this season and his total haul for Atleti is 17 goals and 8 assists. Which makes his league record look quite strange. Still the best little forward in the world. Behind Alexis Sanchez, that is!
Vardy: “The 29 year old rejected Arsenal this summer and frankly I hope him and Leicester get relegated. Has scored 2 goals in 5 starts. Still doesn’t do much else for the team. He does run around a lot.” LOL. I might get my wish! Arsenal bought Lucas Perez instead of Vardy and Perez has been at least equal to Vardy. Vardy has scored 7 goals this season a number which is artificially inflated by a hat trick against the hapless Man City defense. Meanwhile Lucas Perez has also scored 7 goals this season with a hat trick against Basel. Perez also has 4 assists to Vardy’s 2. Both players seem to have some kind of strife with management at their respective clubs with Leicester seemingly on the verge of relegation and Perez making noise that he wants to leave Arsenal this summer, a claim which was recently squashed by an interview with the Arsenal official site. Still, Arsenal got the better deal I think, since Perez has performed as well as Vardy with less than half the minutes.
John Brooks: His numbers have all softened and he’s looking like a bit of an average player. In his credit, he spent most of this season injured. Makes a lot of tackles and blocks for a center back. Looked like one of the star men in Hertha Berlin’s 1-1 draw to Bayern Munich. I’m not yet ready to say I was wrong about him but I am certainly less impressed.
Granit Xhaka: passing, great. Passing range, fantastic. Ability to break opposition lines, right on. Tidy in possession, absolutely. Ability to keep his head in a game? Non-existent. He picked up a yellow card in the match against non-League Sutton United when Craig Eastmond dribbled past him and he felt like he had to wrap him up with both arms. I guess you could say that was smarter than the crazy ass tackles he used to try whenever this happened in the past. I’m really worried that I got this one wrong. He’s extraordinarily slow and often caught out of position. His passing is fine and of course that was what I based my assessment on but his red cards and generally poor defending has put too much pressure on Arsenal’s midfield and forced Wenger to play Coquelin in strange positions in order to try to maximize his midfield. Would really love to see what he could do playing next to another guy who is more mobile and also good with the ball, someone like Kante. Buying that player has to be Wenger’s priority this summer.
Mkhitaryan: “started one match for Manchester United and was dropped at half time. Currently playing backup to Wayne Rooney and his walker. No sense even looking at his stats. I do fear for his career however. Mourinho is notorious for hating players and this weekend saw Mou bring on Juan Mata instead of Mkhitaryan. This is important because Mou hates Mata and if he’s playing Mata over Mkhitaryan then clearly the player has fallen way down the pecking order. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him loaned out this January.” Well, I was wrong. Not completely, but wrong enough to say “my bad”. It looks more like Mourinho wanted time to bed Mkhitaryan in. Mki has been man of the match in two of his last three appearances and could be heating up at just the right part of the season for Man U.
Mahrez: “Shame that he didn’t make the move to Arsenal, I suspect he would have been fantastic.” Goals are down, assists are down, dribbles down, key passes down, number of times he’s been fouled is down, turnovers are down, minutes played is down, crosses are down, through balls are down, tackles and interceptions are down. He looks down. I can’t tell if he’s off the pace because the whole team sucks or if he’s the one sucking the team down. Either way, I have to admit that I don’t think he would be fantastic for Arsenal. Certainly not in his current form. Will be interesting to see where he goes this summer. I would put big money on a move.
I’ll take a look at these players tomorrow: Mbappe, O.Dembele, A.Saint-Maximin, Malang Sarr, Iwobi, Timo Werner, Benjamin Henrichs, Diogo Jota, Davinson Sánchez, Kasper Dolberg, Enes Unal, Jeremiah St. Juste, Tammy Abraham, and
Please add names if you’d like!