Is he the answer to Chelsea’s current striker woes?
Fernando Torres – £50m from Liverpool. 45 goals in 172 games.
Álvaro Morata – £58m from Real Madrid. 24 goals in 72 games (to date).
Callum Wilson – £50m from Bournemouth… ???
If the rumours are true in regards to Chelsea are seriously considering a £50 million bid for Callum Wilson, would it be a case of third time lucky for the club spending that amount of money on a striker?
We’ll come back to that later on. What we can do right now is see if that Wilson can be considered to be a worthy replacement (upgrade) to all of the strikers currently contracted to Chelsea.
With both Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham on loan at Valencia and Aston Villa respectively, we will be focusing on comparing Wilson only to the two strikers who are currently competing for the striker role at Stamford Bridge – Álvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud.
The Cherries ace has been in good form so far this season – scoring nine goals in 20 games in all competitions, which led to a maiden England call-which Wilson duly marked with a debut goal in a 3-0 defeat of the USA in November last year. And the 26-year-old is also in the hunt for the Premier League’s golden boot, being only behind the likes of Harry Kane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Salah, our very own Eden Hazard and Sergio Agüero. A stellar list of goalscorers to be a part of in my opinion.
This has led to many believing he’s ready for the next step in his career and that could possibly be at Stamford Bridge. It was a surprise then to see that interest confirmed by assistant coach Gianfranco Zola recently. “Callum is doing well and is of interest to not only us but many others,” Zola said. “He’s strong he’s fast and he sees the goal. I like him because he’s also strong in the air, which is a very important quality, but I don’t want to go into it too much. He’s doing very well and I am pleased for him.”
With this in mind, how does the Bournemouth man compare to Chelsea’s current pair of strikers?
I think it’s fairly safe to say that neither Morata or Giroud have set the world on fire since joining from Real Madrid and Arsenal respectively last season. Both the misfiring Spaniard and World Cup winning Frenchman haven’t been able to cement their place as the club’s first-choice striker, a problem that has affected both previous manager Antonio Conte and the incumbent Maurizio Sarri.
After a solid first six months of his Chelsea career – 12 goals in 27 games – Morata’s fall from grace has been stark with only another 12 goals in the next 45. To say his goals have dried up is an understatement. Giroud – brought in just under a year ago for £18 million – has also floundered in front of goal with a meagre 10 goals in 41 appearances.
These stats don’t fully explain everything however so let’s go into more detail and compare all 3 strikers:
2018/19 Premier League – stats current as of 10th January 2019
Álvaro Morata – 16 Apps, 951 Minutes Played, 5 goals, 0 assists.
(xG – 6.41, xA – 0.21, xG90 – 0.61, xA90 – 0.02)
Olivier Giroud – 16 Apps, 596 Minutes Played, 1 goal, 4 assists.
(xG – 2.43, xA – 2.17, xG90 – 0.37, xA90 – 0.33)
Callum Wilson – 20 Apps, 1670 Minutes Played, 9 goals, 5 assists.
(xG – 9.41, xA – 4.25, xG90 – 0.51, xA90 – 0.23)
xG = Expected Goals
xA = Expected Assists
xG90 = Expected Goals per 90 minutes
xA90 = Expected Assists per 90 minutes
Highlighted stats = best in comparison
(Statistics courtesy of understat.com)
If we look at the all the stats compared, it’s a clear sign that Callum Wilson leads the way in the majority of them. 9 goals & 5 assists in 20 appearances – you could see why Chelsea are considering the England International. However, some could argue that is only due to the fact that Wilson has played 700+ minutes more than Morata and over 1000 minutes more than Giroud.
To put that into actual matches, that’s a lot more game time under his belt in comparison. Who’s to say Morata or Giroud (or both even?) could not have contributed the same?
With that suggested, it’s the expected goals (xG) column that adds most weight to the argument being in Wilson’s favour. The Coventry City youth graduate has been very efficient in front of goal so far this season, scoring at an average of nearly every other game. Morata’s contribution has him at just over 1 goal every 3 games, whilst Giroud’s measly return is 1 in 16.
Neither Morata’s or Giroud’s form this season can suggest that their time at the club will last much longer and that Chelsea is looking for someone with a far superior goal return, which is what you expect from a striker at the highest level in the profession.
Comparing the strikers Chelsea has at their disposal to Bournemouth’s number 13, Chelsea needs a proven goalscorer sooner rather than later if they want to maintain their success in recent years gone by. How soon you ask? Now… that soon.
With everything looked at, 2 questions need to be answered:
– Is Callum Wilson good enough to play for Chelsea?
– If so, is he worth the suggested £50m that Bournemouth values him at?
For the first question – if we go on the statistics alone – maybe. But that’s a big maybe. The reason why I’m not saying yes (as of right now) is that this is his first real season at Bournemouth (and in the Premier League for that matter) where he has had a consistent run of goals and form without injury. So, would Chelsea be wise to consider buying Wilson off a half-season of genuine form? That’s risky in my opinion.
This then leads to the second question and obviously – considering what was mentioned in relation to the first question – the answer is no. Wilson is a good striker and has the potential to become a striker at one of the ‘Top 6’ but as of right now, he’s not worth the £50 million that Bournemouth values him at.
With their previous track record of purchasing £50m + strikers, Chelsea currently has a case of “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” The club cannot afford to be fooled three times.
If Chelsea really wants to solve their goalscoring problems, they can’t be looking at striker of ‘mid-tier’ calibre, they have to look at only the best and nothing else. No question what-so-ever. In recent years, Chelsea has been at it’s most dangerous and most successful when they’ve had the likes of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka or Diego Costa leading the front line. Someone of that ilk coming to the club would tremendously help get the club back to where they always were in recent memory – challenging for the biggest trophies both domestically and in Europe.
One thing everyone can agree on though – whether it’s Wilson or any of the other strikers rumoured recently (Gonzalo Higuaín, Edinson Cavani, Mauro Icardi, etc) – Chelsea badly needs someone to easily do what is the hardest job in football… put the ball in the back of the net.
Written by Terry Sazio (@sazio1984)
For a different perspective on Callum Wilson and what he could bring to Chelsea in comparison to other strikers currently linked in this transfer window, please check out the latest article from Jimmy Funnell (@JimmyFunnellCFC).