Rúben Dias has moved from Benfica to Manchester City for €68m, @DuncanCastles reports. Here are his stats at a Premier League standard – good attacking output and ball retention, great defending quality, awesome tackler, good in the air on dead balls:

But what's really exciting about Dias is his attacking. He was involved in 45% of Benfica's goals last season, which is huge for a RCB. He generated even more ball progression expected goals from receiving as from passing, too, taking high-quality shots (and finishing them):

Here's our smartermap for Dias last season. He got deep into the attacking half for Benfica, leaving room on the flank for the RB, and with Manchester City he should have opportunities to do the same. He even took some of those good shots in open play!

A while ago we compared Dias with Nicolás Otamendi and Jules Koundé, another mooted signing. Otamendi was the most aggressive RCB in the league in 2016-17, but he's slowed down quite a lot. Dias will juice things up a bit as he grows into the role.


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More from @smarterscout

22 Jun

Norwich have signed forward Milot Rashica ("hra-SHEET-sa") from Werder Bremen for €11m. We've been following him since 2015 – and he hasn't been as productive lately as he was in 2018-19. Let's find out why not.

Stats at a Premier League standard:

As you can see above, Rashica has played mainly as a striker for Werder Bremen, with great skill in 1v1s but declining attacking output. His style hasn't changed much, but his passing has gotten less aggressive and his dribbling has declined a little bit:

The share of Rashica's ball progression contributions from receiving doubled since 2018-19, while the share from passing is about the same. The remainder is his individual actions – so he's not taking the ball forward and winning as many duels as he used to:

Read 7 tweets
21 Jun

THREAD: Ryan Gravenberch gets the start today for the Oranje. The 19-year-old Ajax phenom and smarterscout young prospect had an amazing breakout season. Apart from aerials in open play, there's not a bad number on here. Stats at a #UCL standard: 🔥🙇‍♂️🚀

Gravenberch operated mostly on the left for Ajax, and we'll expect to see him working there in a two again today. He's got a wide range of passes but is a storming dribbler up the left channel. He takes corners from both sides, too. Multitalented, you might say...

Oh, and Gravenberch can score from outside the box in open play, too. He's 19 years old, people.

Read 4 tweets
14 Oct 20
🧵 THREAD: Charlie Kelman steps up!

The British-born #USMNT youth player has left Southend for QPR. Last season was tough for Southend, and Kelman didn't get on the end of many balls in the box. At 1.69m he can't do much in aerials, either. Second striker might work better.

Kelman's involvement in Southend's most dangerous moves was rather low for a central striker, though he did take decent chances on average. He was active in both channels, a bit more on the left, usually linking up the play but also dribbling on the corner of the box.

Here are Kelman's shot maps. He scored a couple of longer shots from open play. From dead balls it looks like he wasn't always around the six-yard box, which isn't surprising given his height. Again, second striker looks best for him.

Read 5 tweets
29 Sep 20

Rhian Brewster is reportedly close to a move from Liverpool to Sheffield United. At first glance, the 20-year-old's stats from last season with Swansea don't look too impressive at a Premier League standard. But read on...

1/4 #LFC #TwitterBlades #SUFC Image
Brewster was involved in a surprisingly high share of Swansea's goals while on the pitch despite being part of less than 40% of its shots. One reason was his finishing, which was well above par and partly made up for his low underlying output in attack.

2/4 Image
As Brewster's smartermap shows, he was active all over the attacking half for Swansea and got into good positions to shoot. He liked to shoot head-on from the GK's right and at more oblique angles from the GK's left. Overall he was more active in the right channel.

3/4 ImageImage
Read 5 tweets
29 Sep 20

We now offer ratings for head coaches in all of our 48+ leagues around the world. We measure effects on attacking and defending, style, and more.

For example, our ratings suggest Leeds United would not be in the Premier League without Marcelo Bielsa.

Here are Bielsa's average differences (per league match) in expected goals for and against versus our predicted results, given his players' performances in previous seasons:

2018-19 xGF +0.44
2019-20 xGF +0.23

2018-19 xGA -0.23
2019-20 xGA -0.27

In each case above, our statistical tests suggest with nearly 100% confidence that Bielsa offered a positive effect.

Interestingly, this was not the case at Lille, where Bielsa's numbers were not as impressive. So the fit and the ability to put across ideas are important!

Read 4 tweets
26 Sep 20

Leeds may be signing Utrecht's Gyrano Kerk for around €10m. He improved last season and is an average attacker by a Premier League standard, a great finisher, but his ball retention was low – he's a big dribbler who may lack skill to beat PL defenders:

1/4 Image
Kerk is a rare winger (at least for the Premier League) in that he likes to dribble the ball forward from deep. He can hug the touchline or come inside and has an unpredictable mix of actions near the corner. His style at RW bears similarities to Sarr, Zaha, and Sterling.

2/4 Image
As the smartermap in the previous tweet shows, Kerk gets into good positions to shoot – better than average for a winger. That may be a bit more difficult in the PL, but he's still an outstanding finisher. It's part of why he was involved in so many goals for Utrecht:

3/4 ImageImage
Read 4 tweets

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