Forwards on the move? Rooney Vs Suarez Vs Bale... Michu?

Forwards on the move? Rooney Vs Suarez Vs Bale... Michu?

With less than 4 weeks before the new season kicks off,  the Premier League has not seen any marquee signings, barring Manchester City completing the transfer of former Fiorentina star Stevan Jovetic. Arsenal, with an improved financial status, and Chelsea and Manchester United, with new managers, are all eager to add additional ‘quality’ to their respective squads.

Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger has gone on record to say that Rooney, Suárez and Higuaín (now gone to Napoli) were all realistic targets, Mourinho & Chelsea have made Rooney their ‘only’ target, and United, after missing out on Thiago Alcantara, have had a bid for Gareth Bale rejected. It also looks very unlikely that they could sign Cesc Fabregas, the alleged culprit of the ‘Battle of Buffet’.

Forwards on Move

David Moyes has publicly stated that unless he spoke in ‘double dutch, Rooney is not for sale.’ The player, however, appears adamant for a move away from Old Trafford. This could drag on until the final day of the transfer window. Arsenal, amidst all this chaos, have apparently triggered a clause in Suarez’s contract (with a bid of 40 million + 1 pound) which allows the player to be more than just informed. Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, seems to be determined not to lose his most talented striker for anything less than the British transfer record.

With 70 million still in the kitty, Arsenal could easily match the demands of Liverpool but it looks highly unlikely that Wenger will smash the British transfer record for a player who will be a mere spectator in the first 6 games of the season. On the other hand, Chelsea (because of Abramovich’s money) look highly likely to sign Rooney and Real appear to be hands-down favorites to get Bale on-board. No matter which way the saga unfolds, there will be at least 2 teams needing reinforcements upfront. Towards the end of the transfer window, we may see a bidding war over a player who netted 18 times last season, Miguel Cuesta, a.k.a. Michu.

Lets see how his 2012-13 stats match with the stats of Bale, Rooney and Suarez.

I. Appearances and Discipline:

Appearances - Rooney-Michu-Bale-Suarez

Despite missing the last 4 games of the season, Suarez made a total of 33 appearances, as compared to 35 from Michu, 33 from Bale and 27 from Rooney. Michu played the most number of minutes (3017) and had the best disciplinary record of a yellow card every 503 minutes (or a little over 5 and a half games). None of the players were red-carded, however, Luis Suarez was banned for a total of 10 games for the infamous biting incident. In his very first season in the Premier League, Michu has impressed one and all. It is hence very surprising that none of the ‘top’ teams have shown the willingness to sign him up.

II. Passing Zone:

Passing Zones Rooney-Michu-Bale-Suarez

Statistically, Rooney has had the best record in terms of accurate passes. The arrival of RvP may have reduced the stature of Rooney at United, but by no stretch of imagination can anyone deny the unbelievable footballing skills that he possesses. In this particular comparison, all 4 have equally impressive stats and Michu is at par with Suarez and Bale with regards to passing accuracy.

III. Possession and Interceptions:

Possession Interceptions - Rooney-Michu-Bale-Suarez

The only stand-out features of this comparison is Bale’s interception-rate (minutes per interception) – 69.62. Apart from this, Michu has the best statistics for possession won in the mid-field, Suarez in the Attacking 3rd and Rooney in the Defensive 3rd. Michu, however has lost possession the least number of times and has been dispossessed only 30 times in 35 games, the best amongst the 4.

IV. Creativity and Attack:

Creativity - Attacking Rooney-Michu-Bale-Suarez

Coming to the most important comparison, Luis Suarez is clear-cut winner. With 23 goals in 33 games, Suarez has had the best goal strike rate (minutes per goal) – a goal every 129 minutes! Suarez has created the most number of chances, has taken the most number of shots and appears to have had the best dribbling skill, all highly important for a forward. Bale has created the most number of clear-cut chances and has had a shot on target every 40 minutes, finding the back of the net on 21 occasions, followed closely by Suarez. Rooney provided a goal assists every 202 minutes and netted 12 times. Michu, on the other hand, has the best conversion rate – 20%, 4% better than Suarez and Bale and 2% better than Rooney. Michu scored 18 times for Swansea City and also played an important part in them winning the Carling Cup.

In only a year, Michu has gone from being an unknown face in England to becoming one of the most exciting players to watch. He has shown the appetite to compete at the highest level against the top teams. With 5 weeks remaining in the transfer window, all the top clubs are still in the market looking for marquee signings. It may be too early to gauze the real potential of Michu but the signs are there and it will benefit him if he was to make a move to one of the top clubs in England. Wenger and Mourinho are seasoned campaigners and it is not advisable to count them out even until the final hours of 31st August.

Arsenal, after many years, are in a position where they have no compulsions to sell players. There may be an argument that there isn’t any star player to cash-in on, barring a few exceptions. To counter that, I would only like to say that Arsenal finally have the muscle to pull off high-profile signings and be competitive in the transfer market. Luis Suarez is 9/10 to make a switch to the Emirates but in case the deal doesn’t fall in place, Wenger would be smart to make a move for Michu (and make it fast) and use the surplus funds to get reinforcements in the center-back and defensive mid-field positions. Chelsea’s gamble on Ba seems to have failed, just like their infamous winter swoop of Fernando Torres, and they need a top-class player to lead their attack after the departure of legendary Didier Drogba. Michu may not be that player which is why they need to step-up their chase of Wayne Rooney.

At the end of the day, we can only make speculations and suggestions but the onus lies with the club management. They must do what they feel is the right thing to do. Please note that the comparisons made and inferences drawn are based purely on statistics, which may not always correlate with the actual performances of the players. Some of you may have a different point of view or may look at the statistics differently, so feel free to share it with me here. Until next time, this is me signing off.

[box_light]All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at –Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Check out our new Top Stats feature on the Stats Centre which allows you to compare all players in the league & read about new additions to the stats centre.[/box_light]