Comment and Analysis @ghostgoal
Leicester’s new signings: The stats that made them stand out
Last Updated: 27/07/16 12:43pm
Leicester’s former head of recruitment Steve Walsh may have left for Everton but only after signing off on another round of spending.
The Premier League champions have a reputation for their savvy use of statistics. Marc Albrighton's chances created per minute and N'Golo Kante's high number of interceptions were factors that led to their recruitment.
So what is it that the Foxes have seen in their new summer signings? We take a look at some of the possibilities…
Luis Hernandez (Sporting Gijon, free)
Available on a free transfer having reached the end of his contract at Sporting Gijon, the 27-year-old central defender has arrived on a four-year deal. Having never been capped by his country and with only one top-flight season behind him, in which Sporting survived relegation by a point, Hernandez might not be regarded as an obvious signing by the English champions.
La Liga interceptions 2015/16
|Luis Hernandez||Sporting Gijon||140|
|Pedro Bigas||Las Palmas||121|
|Hugo Mallo||Celta Vigo||117|
However, there is one statistic that could have caught the eye. Hernandez's total of 140 interceptions in La Liga last season was more than any other player. Leicester themselves highlighted his "excellent ability to read the game" and this habit of cutting out attacks could be crucial for a team that likes to make the most of their transitions.
Nampalys Mendy (Nice, £13m)
The loss of Kante is huge for Leicester but what's interesting is that, despite superficial similarities, the acquisition of Mendy does not represent a like-for-like switch. Kante's tackles and interceptions were a feature of Leicester's success last season but Mendy's defensive numbers are unremarkable, but as an efficient distributor is where he stands out.
Ligue 1 passes 2015/16
|Jean Michael Seri||Nice||2708|
In Ligue 1 last season, the 24-year-old made the highest total number of passes (2950), the most passes per game (78) and boasted the best passing accuracy (92 per cent) of any player not wearing a Paris St Germain shirt. Indeed, Mendy made 999 more passes than the man with the sixth-most in France. It seems Leicester will look for him to tick things over this season.
Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, undisclosed)
While Jamie Vardy has signed a new deal keeping him at Leicester, it's perhaps understandable that the signing of Ahmed Musa was seen as a potential replacement. "I think I am like Jamie Vardy," said Musa himself. "I have speed, I like to work hard. We are similar in lots of things. Am I faster? I'm looking forward to finding out."
In good company
Ahmed Musa, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Paco Alcacer, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi and Ahmed Maghoub are the only players aged 23 or younger to reach double figures for goals in each of the past two seasons in Europe's top seven leagues.
Musa was the fifth highest scorer in Russia last season and has reached double figures in each of the past two seasons. That's a surprisingly rare sign of consistency for a 23-year-old forward. In fact, only six others of his age or younger have managed that feat in Europe's top seven leagues. Even at £16m that means Musa can be seen as a signing of substance rather than a gamble.
Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover, £2.6m)
Assessing the performance of a goalkeeper can be challenging from a statistical point of view, but for those studying Ron-Robert Zieler in action last season at least the Hannover man was kept busy. The Bundesliga side were relegated with Zieler facing more shots on target than any other goalkeeper. Leicester's scouts still liked what they saw.
Bundesliga saves 2015/16
|Lukas Hradecky||Eintracht Frankfurt||126|
The 27-year old German, part of his country's World Cup winning squad in 2014, made the second most saves in the Bundesliga last term with 90 of them coming from inside his own 18-yard box. Zieler is expected to act as back-up to Kasper Schmeichel but at £2.6m they have acquired a deputy of considerable top-level experience for a bargain price.
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