Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United have been majorly linked to their second player in the space of a week, ahead of the January transfer window, which gets underway in three months.
Today, we are going to carry out a statistics-driven tactical analysis to assess the validity of the rumour, whether the star would get ahead of and how he compares to the Hammers’ current players in his position and whether the club should pursue him.
The rumour in question has connected the East Londoners with a January move for Chelsea centre-back and England International, 32-year-old Gary Cahill.
The defender has been out of favour at Stamford Bridge since the arrival of new manager Maurizio Sarri, barely seeing any game time this campaign, which has sparked rumours that he could be on his way out of West London.
It has become clear in recent times that he will not settle for a place on the Blues’ substitute bench as he has only appeared three times this campaign and being out of contract next summer, it’s understood that Chelsea will be keen to sell him off in January.
As it stands, there doesn’t look to be any competition standing in the way of the Hammers for Cahill’s signature, should they actually want to bring him to London Stadium in the next transfer window, but how does he compare to one of the club’s current first-choice central defenders?
In the next phase of our analysis, we are going to answer that question for you, with the help of our friends over at squawka.com and more specifically, their fantastic Player Comparison Matrix.
As you can see, we have used the tool to create a comparison between the 2017/2018 respective Premier League and Ligue 1 seasons of Cahill and West Ham starting centre-back Issa Diop and their key defensive stats during the campaigns.
We have selected four of these and decided to take the stats from last season as they played a comparatively similar number of games and number of minutes in the league, whereas, so far in 2018/2019, Diop has played far more.
Without looking too deeply into any of the stats, we can see that the French youngster beats the English veteran in three of the four or 75% of the stats we are going to be analysing.
The first is clearances, but there is not that much in this one, just three clearances, in fact, with Diop managing 119 for the term and Cahill right behind him with 116.
The next stat is one that Cahill actually reigns supreme in, percentage of aerial duels won and by quite some distance too, coming out on top in 73.87 per cent of his aerial duels, that’s 16.7% more than Diop.
While the last statistic may show off the aerial prowess of the 61-cap England man, his one more defensive error leading to a goal than Diop displays his costly-error prone nature, albeit he did make just the one for the whole of 2017/2018, however. That is still one more than the Irons summer signing from Toulouse, though.
And finally, our final stat is total defensive score, whereby all of the defensive stats offered by Squawka are crunched into one to produce a final rating, judging the player overall.
This is where there is the biggest margin between the pair, Diop weighing in with a superior effort of 276.24 to Cahill’s 167.3, showing us who was the better all-around defender for their team last season.
In conclusion, our statistical analysis today has found that veteran Cahill is the far-inferior centre-half, when compared to West Ham’s rock at the back Diop and without looking at the stats, the same has to be said with the 21-year-old’s partner, Paraguayan International Fabian Balbuena.
Clearly, this is a potential transfer that Pellegrini’s Hammers need not pursue, especially when you consider the fact that the likes of ex-Juventus star Angelo Ogbonna are currently being kept out of the team by Diop and Balbuena. Cahill would bring little form and confidence to Stratford only to play fourth and possibly fifth fiddle, the stats have shown us it would be an unnecessary move for the club.