Since the start of 2013, Manchester City have sold Mario Balotelli, 22, and Carlos Tevez, 29, for roughly £30m and replaced them this summer with Stevan Jovetic, 23, and Alvaro Negredo, 27, for £42m. Spending money is great but, have they actually improved their strike force or have they just gotten different players hoping they will perform better? Based on playing styles and physical builds, you can asses this as two like for like swaps between Jovetic and Tevez and Negrado and Balotelli.
Jovetic vs Tevez
Jovetic and Tevez have both been played as leading the line strikers but are arguably better fitted to play behind the striker as a second striker or even an attacking midfielder. Both are creative players, but Tevez was slightly more creative than Jovetic last season with eight assists as opposed to Jovetic’s five, a key pass every every 45 minutes as opposed to Jovetic playing one every 50 minutes, and having better pass accuracy, 84% to 78%. When it comes to goal scoring the two had very similar numbers. Jovetic had 13 goals while Tevez only had 11 but their chance conversion rates were nearly identical with Jovetic at 14.9% and Tevez at 14.7%. Stats say that City didn’t get a worse player but they didn’t get majorly get a better player either, which when you spend £22m on Jovetic like they did you hope to accomplish. They did get a much easier player to manage and one who could grow into a better player than Tevez.
Balotelli vs Negredo
Balotelli and Negredo both play as the classic number nine. Negredo and Balotelli had very different seasons last year. Negredo had a normal season in Spain and played 36 out of 38 league games for Sevilla. Balotelli on the other hand, had a very up and down season where he played sporadically with City, and got into a fight with Roberto Mancini at one point, but once he left for the San Siro, with AC Milan, he had a fantastic season. Negrado had 25 goals, while Balotelli had only 13, but Balotelli played substantially less and their minutes per goal were much closer with Negredo scoring every 120 minutes and Balotelli scoring every 128. Negredo had a better shot conversion rate at 19.5% compared to 14.4% but Balotelli was more accurate with his shots hitting the target 53% of the time while Negredo only hit the target 45% of the time. None of the numbers really give either a significant edge, but Balotelli has the potential to become one of the best strikers in the world, but he also has the potential to just keep blowing up his bathrooms and be an off the field distraction.
Stats would say that, City do not get better on the pitch nor did they get younger with these deals. When spending a net of £12m, you would hope to buy significantly better players but what City did do is get two huge distractions out of the team and that will hopefully make it easier for Pellegrini to manage the locker room. Statistically though, you would say that City spent £12m on what was virtually the same production.
Alvaro Negredo and Stefan Jovetic stats from last season were taken from Whoscored.
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