COMMENT

Advanced stats suggest that Osimhen would have been a better signing for Manchester City than Haaland

Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Erling Haaland but here is why Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen would have been a better fit.

Victor Osimhen is a better fit for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City than Erling Haaland

Manchester City have already completed one of the biggest signings of the next transfer window by landing 21-year old Norwegian prodigy Erling Haaland.

The marquee signing has expectedly sent shockwaves through the football world because Haaland is arguably the biggest prospect in the world and his impressive goal record suggests he will thrive under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Haaland already has 134 goals in 182 career appearances as a 21-year old, there is no doubt that Manchester City’s desire to sign him was well justified.

But beyond goals and assists, some advanced stats show that Napoli striker Victor Osimhen would have been a better fit for Pep Guardiola’s style.

An average football fan most likely read the opening lines of this piece as egregious blasphemy because of the basic stats.

How could Osimhen be better than Haaland who has more than double his career goals despite being two years younger than the Nigerian?

There is no doubt that Haaland’s 134 career goals in 182 appearances is way more impressive than Osimhen’s 65 goals in 150 appearances.

But this is not about who is better or more prolific (even though that helps), this is about who fits better into the current Manchester City system and that is Victor Osimhen.

Pep Guardiola plays a high pressing style which involves defending from the front, pinning the opposition back and winning the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch.

Both Osimhen and Haaland have played just over 1800 minutes of league football each this season which gives a fairly balanced comparison scale.

Stats culled from FBref shows Osimhen as the superior player in defensive actions, with 15 total tackles this season, nine of which were in the attacking third in contrast to Haaland’s two total tackles and none in attacking areas this season.

Osimhen has pressed the opposition on the ball 303 times in the Serie A this season, 4o times more than Haaland. 207 times Osimhen has pressed in the attacking third while Haaland has done so on 180 occasions.

Admittedly, none of this would matter much to most people because strikers (especially the expensive ones) are ultimately judged on goals and not tackles or pressures.

But you know who cares about tackles and pressures? Pep Guardiola, the man who famously dropped the great Sergio Aguero for this very reason.

Pep has proven to be no respecter of name or status and will happily drop anyone who hinders the implementation of his football ideology even in the slightest.

Anyone can score in Pep’s Manchester City, wingers like Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez have been beneficiaries of the goal-friendly system at the club.

Being prolific is a plus but not necessarily a requirement to be successful at City so the fact that Haaland has eight more league goals than Osimhen this season will not matter so much in the grand scheme of things.

That’s not to say Osimhen is a slouch in the goalscoring department either, his 13 Serie A goals this season have been scored on 10.9 xG while not taking penalties.

Haaland may be more prolific but Osimhen is a goalscorer as well and offers more than just goals which makes him a more rounded player at this time.

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