Ousmane Dembele could be the best replacemet for Neymar


Barcelona have identified two targets to replace Neymar. The Catalan club want to bring in Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele this month after the Brazilian moved to Paris Saint-Germain for a record €222 million last week.

Neither club want to sell, however, and with the figures being quoted well in excess of €100m for both the Brazil attacker and France forward, Barca may ultimately decide to bring in only one. And if they do, statistics show that Dembele could be the best option as a replacement for Neymar.

Dembele is right-footed and although he plays mainly on the right for Dortmund, Barca like to operate with inverted wingers who can cut inside and shoot. That means he could slot in on the left at Camp Nou in the position recently vacated by Neymar.

Opta’s expected assist (xA) model measures how likely it is that a completed pass becomes an assist based on factors such as pass type, distance to goal before and after the pass, and pass length. This assigns an xA value that reflects how likely a pass will lead to a goal. And it shows that Dembele (with a mark of 10.73) is only just behind Neymar (11.53), while his number is the fifth best in all of Europe’s top five leagues.

Opta’s expected goals (xG) model measures how likely a particular shot is to be scored based on distance to the goal, angle to the goal, assist type, whether or not it was headed and a variety of other factors. This assigns an xG value that reflects how likely the shot is to be scored.

Dembele’s xG mark is much lower (5.73) than Neymar’s (12.42). However, the French winger is still only 20 years old and should be able to improve that side of his game as he continues to develop.

At Barcelona, he would also be likely to have more goalscoring opportunities, while he would be able to shoot with his favoured foot if he starts on the left and he would be playing alongside two forwards – Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez – who have netted 96 and 95 goals, respectively, over the past two seasons.

Source: Goal.com


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