After such a hectic summer with transfer records being repeatedly broken and big names constantly linked to moves away there’s quite a few moves that seemed to slip under the radar. Here are five you may have missed.
Vincenzo Grifo to Gladbach
Continuing his impressive form from Freiburg’s promotion season, where he scored 13 non-penalty goals and assisted 11, Vincenzo Grifo wasted no time in getting used to top division football being one of the contenders for Bundesliga left-winger of the season.
Last season playing for newly promoted Freiburg Vincenzo Grifo had the 7th highest xA p90 of all under 24 players in the Bundesliga with 0.237 p90. His xG p90 of 0.148 isn’t as impressive but still fairly respectable for a winger on a newly promoted side.
An xG + xA of 0.385 p90 means he should be contributing a goal or assist just under once every three games.
His actual output meanwhile was slightly more impressive with a G + A of 0.469 p90, contributing a goal or assist around every other game.
Grifo may have had a good season but his new club Gladbach had a disappointing year, actually finishing behind Grifo’s 7th place Freiburg in 9th.
Wanting to turn this around and build for the future Gladbach have spent around £30m on new signings this summer with Grifo being the oldest at 24.
Grifo represents great value for money for Gladbach, though a lot of his xA comes from set-pieces he did manage to create 2.06 chances p90 last season as well as completing 2.922 passes and crosses in the box p90.
There are still places where he could improve, his xG per Shot is very low (though he does take direct free-kicks) meaning his shot selection could be better. While his xP Rating is slightly below 1 at 0.961 but this could be because he tends to try risky passes with an xP per pass of 0.755.
However this transfer represents great value for money, with all the money floating around £5.4m seems almost like pocket change to top clubs.
If he can continue his progression at Gladbach they should have a great player on their hands.
It has to be said though, what’s going through my mind when looking at Grifo’s stats is why weren’t Everton in for him?
Everton have recently agreed a fee of £45m for Gylfi Sigurddson but take a look at their actual and expected goal and assist numbers below.
|Player||Team||DOB||xG p90||xA p90||G p90||A p90|
Sigurdsson slightly outscores Grifo by around 0.07 in xG + xA p90 and roughly 0.05 in G + A p90 but given the difference in price and age it could have been worthwhile for Everton to take a risk and get Grifo for around a ninth of the price they bought Sigurdsson for.
Leandro Paredes to Zenit
There’s somewhat of an Argentinian revolution going on at Roberto Mancini’s Zenit. The Italian manager has brought in four young Argentine’s this summer with the most expensive of these being the £20m Leandro Paredes.
After having an impressive loan spell with Empoli in 2015/16 the young midfielder managed 1469 minutes for Roma last season. Which isn’t bad considering he had an ankle injury from November to January and the experienced midfielders that were available for manager Luciano Spaletti.
The Argentinian is particularly technically-gifted and is more-than comfortable in possession of the ball, displaying a great proficiency to evade opposition pressure and create space for himself in a congested midfield. Using quick feet in order to fend off attempted challenges, Paredes’ pressing-resistance is one of his biggest strengths as he shows good agility to pivot his body to quickly carry the ball out of the direction of any incoming tackles. – @tompayneftbl
@tompayneftbl continues to praise Paredes’ vertical, line-breaking passes – which his stats reflect.
Paredes shone last year as a defensive midfielder who was also able to create.
The young midfielder had an xP Rating 1.07 – the 6th highest of under 24 midfielders with over 1000 passes in Europe’s top 5 leagues last season – with the highest only being slightly more at 1.102.
Sticking with the same group of players (under 24’s with over 1000 passes last season) he also managed the 8th most possession adjusted tackles and interceptions p90 and the 2nd most chances created p90 – behind only Philippe Coutinho who spent the majority of the season on the wing.
There wasn’t another player with more than 900 minutes in Europe who can match these 3 stats from Paredes. Filtering for over 1.05 xP Rating, over 5 possession adjusted tackles + interceptions and over 2 chances created p90 Paredes is the only player who comes back.
The closest comparison statistically is probably that of RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita.
Keita is in the same ballpark for xP Rating and possession adjusted tackles + interceptions but created 1.4 chances per game rather than over 2. Keita did have a much bigger goal threat however with an xG p90 of 0.184 compared to 0.047 p90 from Paredes.
While on the pitch they may not be all that similar it’s just they have a similar output it seems strange that clubs are willing to throw £80m at Keita but let Paredes go right under their nose for a quarter of that.
Paredes could have been a good midfield signing for pretty much any of the top six in the Premier League but no one wanted to take the gamble.
It’ll be interesting to see how he does at Zenit (as well as their other Argentine signings) and how it’ll effect interest in him in the future.
Bruno Fernandes to Sporting Lisbon
Sampdoria seems to have been the home to many talented young players last season. Young forward Patrik Schick made some headlines, young centre-back Milan Skriniar completed a £20m move to Inter Milan while 21-year-old midfielder Lucas Torreira’s release clause was never called in to play and he instead signed a new contract (more on that another time).
Another of their young midfielders who did actually move though was Bruno Fernandes and despite having a good season the fee that Sampdoria got was only £2m more than the price they bought him for.
This looks as though it could be a real bargain for Sporting Lisbon with Fernandes having the 6th highest xG + xA of all u24 midfielders (>900 mins) in Europe’s top 5 leagues last season. The only players ahead of him were Phillipe Coutinho, Paul Pogba, Julian Draxler, Leandro Bittencourt and Florian Thauvin.
Fernandes managed 5 non-penalty goals last season, 0.261 p90, which interestingly is exactly the same as his xG.
Meanwhile his xA p90 was higher than his actual A p90 making it seem as though he was being let down by him team-mates in front of goal despite him laying on an impressive 2.504 chances p90 for them.
His xA p90 was an impressive 0.236, marginally behind Coutinho and Pogba who had 0.264 and 0.262 respectively, but his actual A p90 was only 0.104. His xA Rating of 0.442 was the second worst in the top 10 of the u24s with the highest xG + xA, with only Pogba’s being lower.
His xP Rating of 0.956 is the main place where you’d want to see improvement but that shouldn’t take away from how good his output was last season for Sampdoria.
Given such a productive season and young age it seems surprising that a big side from the top 5 leagues wouldn’t have been in for him – unless it was the players choice to move back to his native Portugal.
With Sporting having a good record of producing and getting the best out of their midfielders Fernandes should be in good hands to continue his development and it wouldn’t be surprising that if he does well there his name will be mentioned with a big price tag next to it in the next few years.
Enzo Crivelli to Angers
Despite Bastia having a season to forget finishing bottom of Ligue 1, young forward Enzo Crivelli had a pretty good time on loan with them.
Crivelli scored 10 non-penalty goals with the club, or 0.451 NPG p90, not bad for a struggling side. What’s more impressive however is Crivelli had the highest xG per Shot of any forward with more than 900 mins last season (Karim Benzema was 2nd) showing the forwards ability to get into good goalscoring areas.
He did slightly outperform his xG with an xG Rating of 1.339 but given he had the highest xG per Shot this could come from a few good finishes rather than an unsustainable run of form.
His xG p90 (0.337) is incredibly impressive given his age and the fact he was playing for a bottom placed side. It’s higher than players such as Antoine Griezmann, Valerie Germain, Theo Walcott, Marcus Rashford and Paulo Dybala.
Crivelli, however, seems as though he’s only around to score goals. His pass completion of 67.3% and xP Rating of 0.832 could do with improving and he only creates 0.948 chances per game for his team-mates, but he is young enough to improve in these areas and possibly add more aspects to his game.
Given how small the fee is though even if he only repeats his 10 NPG from last season it’s a great purchase.
Having said that, with Angers finishing in mid-table for the past 2 seasons you’d expect Crivelli to get more service. Angers even had the 4th best xGD in Ligue 1 last season but bad luck at either end of the pitch cost them.
The club under-performed their xG with a rating of 0.769, the 2nd worst in the division, this is an area where they’ll be hoping Crivelli can step in and help them out, hopefully lifting them up the table towards the European sports in the progress.
Kenan Kodro To Mainz
I’ve talked about Kenan Kodro before so this section is going to be short and instead of repeating myself just check out the section on him from ‘Four Young Players In Their Last Year Of Contract’.
To summarise though, £1.6m for a striker with the 8th highest xG p90 of any u24 player in Europe and 2nd for u24’s in La Liga is incredible value for money. If it works it’s a brilliant piece of business and if not the loss is minimal, particularly given his age.
Considering Mainz’s top scorer in the league last season left in January tells you how much Mainz need a prolific forward in front of goal.
Mainz’s other transfer dealing have been equally as interesting this summer.
Viktor Fischer has joined them for £2.7m from Middlesbrough. Fischer looked hugely promising in his early Ajax days but has stagnated with various injuries not helping him, Mainz could be a good opportunity for him to play regularly again and possibly rediscover his form.
Alexandru Maxim joins for the same fee as Fischer, another player with talent but who never seemed to kick on. Then their most expensive signing of the summer was young centre-back Abdou Diallo for £4.5m from Monaco.
These young players, Maxim and an experienced Rene Adler in goal makes Mainz an interesting prospect this season.
- Lyon signing Mariano and Bertrand Traore – Having had huge success with Memphis Depay, Lyon have taken two more young players who can’t break into top clubs. Memphis, Fekir, Traore and Mariano should be a great front four to watch
- FC Koln’s summer – Top scorer Anthony Modeste has left for China but Koln have reinvested the money signing two talented young defenders in Jorge Mere and Jannes Horn for around £6m each, while spending £15m on Mainz’s Jhon Cordoba to fill the gap in attack
- Wesley Said to Dijon – An xG + xA of 0.440 p90 last season £1.8m is a good shrewd pick-up for Dijon
- Karim Rekik £2.25m to Hertha BSC – still only 22-years-old and with a great xP Rating Rekik could be a good replacement for John Brooks who left for Wolfsburg. David Selke and Matthew Leckie are also interesting buys from Hertha
- Allan Saint-Maximin £9m – Honestly I thought this was a loan when I saw he moved, one of the best dribblers in Europe and still only 20 if he can add more of an end product (only 1.582 chances created p90 last season though it was for struggling Bastia) this will be a great purchase
- Amine Harit £7m to Schalke – Similar to above Harit showed himself as a great dribbler (3.4 successful take-ons per game) last season but lacked output (0.184 xG + xA p90) but given he’s only just turned 20 and Schalke’s specialty seems to be midfielders this could be a great buy