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For months it has looked as though Manchester United would be replacing the outgoing Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Real Madrid‘s Alvaro Morata. But with both clubs seemingly at an impasse for weeks, United appear to have ended their interest in the Spain international.
The question now for United fans is, are they getting the best deal? Just Football has compared the statistics for both players’ 2016/17 seasons to see who is the best.
The most important statistic. At the end of the day, a striker is there to find the net.
Lukaku netted 25 goals last season in 37 appearances (26 in all competitions), finishing second in the Golden Boot standings to Tottenham’s Harry Kane. It’s an average of 0.68 goals per 90 mins.
26 – Romelu Lukaku's 26 goals in all comps last season was the most by an Everton player since Gary Lineker (40 in 1985-86). Crisp. pic.twitter.com/oYJEiBJU5Y
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 6, 2017
Morata’s goal tally didn’t match Lukaku’s, with 15 goals in 26 appearances in La Liga (20 in all competitions). When we look at goals per 90 minutes played, with Morata’s numbers look more impressive though, at 1.01 goals. That’s a better goals-per-90-minutes ratio than the Belgian’s.
This reflects the fact that Morata played less frequently for Madrid than Lukaku did for Everton, but suggests that he might have done more with less.
27.3%- Morata ha marcado en el 27.3% de sus remates en La Liga 16/17, la segunda mejor marca de los 59 jugadores con más de 5 goles. Diablo. pic.twitter.com/7RFJUcxnKC
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 9, 2017
Assists and Chances Created
Assists may not be what strikers are judged on, but it’s still helpful to have someone up top who can create chances a well as convert them.
Here, Lukaku is the winner. He notched 6 assists for his Everton teammates, and created 46 chances for the team overall.
Morata managed 4 assists, with 17 chances created for his Madrid colleagues.
Shot Accuracy and Total Shots
How accurate are these two when it comes to hitting the target, and how many shots do they take?
In terms of accuracy, it’s actually pretty even, with Lukaku hitting the target 64% of the time, and Morata 63%. For total shots, it’s close too. Lukaku takes on average 3.03 shots per 90 mins, Morata 3.63.
Aerial and Defensive Work
Mourinho has long wanted his centre forwards to be strong in the air and willing to work hard to be the team’s first line of defence. For reference see Drogba, Didier and Costa, Diego.
In respect, Morata has the upper hand. The Spaniard won an impressive 50% of his aerial duals last season and almost 50% (48.92%) of other duels with opponents. He also won 12 tackles and made 3 interceptions.
Compare this to Lukaku, who won half the amount of tackles (6), 45.65% of his duels and 41.16% of aerial duels, and failed to make a single successful interception. You can see why Mourinho – initially at least – preferred Morata.
Current reports suggest Mourinho has made his mind up and has plumped for Lukaku over Morata, in a rumoured £75m deal. If you’re looking purely at goals then the Belgian is the right choice and has the added bonus of Premier League experience.
But Morata’s stats suggest that he could well beat Lukaku’s goal tally with more playing time, and he seems more willing to do defensive work. Time will tell if the Manchester United manager can work on Lukaku’s weaknesses to make him the true complete striker.