Despite the striker having not left the club yet, preparations for life without Marko Arnautovic are well underway at West Ham United as the club appears to have identified the man they want to replace him, wasting no time in launching a bid.
With their rumoured €40 million bid for Poland international Krzysztof Piatek reportedly being accepted by Genoa, Manuel Pellegrini is very eager to bring him in before the end of the month. Today, we ask the question of why West Ham are so keen on Piatek as Arnautovic’s replacement and attempt to answer it through our statistics-driven tactical analysis. Join us.
First of all, we will take an in-depth look at a brief profile of the 23-year-old striker, which is contained in the below image, provided by our good friends over at wyscout.com.
As you can see from the graphic, the Poland forward who made his senior debut for his nation in September of 2018 is a tall and physical player as his height and weight suggest. These are two traits Arnautovic possesses, already making him like-for-like.
Another similarity between the stats are the exact positions they play, as evidenced by the heatmap and position map on the right side of the image, alongside some league stats from this campaign, including a high five yellow cards. His recent form being something we’ll get onto next. Piatek is very much an out-and-out striker, often playing up front on his own or in the middle of a three, a bit like someone else we know.
A pure indication of the rich vein of form the promising frontman also being chased by the likes of AC Milan, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich has enjoyed for most of 2018/2019 is the fact that only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more Serie A goals.
Just one more, in fact, with Piatek sitting on 13 and the world football icon, 14. Furthermore, the product of Lechia Dzierzoniow’s academy has notched these at a rate of a goal every 123 minutes, though is perhaps a tad on the selfish side with zero assists to his name. But what club would not want a player with these kind of stats?
Piatek’s scoring spree in his first campaign in Italian football following a €4 million move to Genoa from Krakow-based Cracovia in summer 2018 started on the opening day of the Serie A season in a home win over Empoli. And has continued throughout, only stopping for a lull of more than two games in October and November for five matches and has helped his team achieve a comfortable mid-table position at the halfway stage.
The Serie A second-top scorer’s habit of finding the back of the net has also extended to the international stage, scoring on his competitive debut for Poland against Portugal in the UEFA Nations League last year. In addition, he has two Coppa Italia strikes for the Red and Blues this term, both coming in the same game against Virtus Entella. Make that 16 in 22 appearances in all competitions for club and country in 18/19.
However, it hasn’t just been this season that Piatek has been banging them in and producing wonderful stats, it’s been the whole of his career, earning him a move to one of the top leagues in Europe in the first place.
To prove that 18/19 thus far simply hasn’t been just a flash in the pan for the relatively young hitman, we have brought to you the final Wyscout graphic of this analysis, containing his key career average attacking statistics per 90 minutes.
Alongside a broader career heatmap backing up our earlier points about the centre-forward’s positioning is our first stat, goals per 90 minutes, of which Piatek has managed a highly impressive 0.52 over his career.
The evidence for a lacking creative side to his game and perhaps a selfish style on the pitch of no assists this season is furthered by his average of just 0.06. It may be a side of his game that he needs to improve if he moves to England.
One of the aspects that makes Piatek so attractive to the Hammers is how much of a threat he poses to any opposition defence, with over three shots per 90 minutes, even if only 43.6% of them are on target. An expected goals rating of 0.42 over his seven-year senior career so far very much speaks for itself.
A mere 0.62 shot assists and 0.87 crosses per 90 minutes have been recorded by Piatek, often choosing to shoot instead of passing to a teammate in the final third and rarely finding an opportunity to deliver any balls into the box, playing as a centre-forward.
Aside from scoring, the Pole does have other strong parts of his game, however. As we can see, dribbling is one of those with an eye-catching 3.07 dribbles and 64.2% completed, along with duelling, entering a high 11.04 attacking duels on average and winning nearly half of them.
Though he often only needs one to find the back of the net, Piatek does manage a dangerous 3.45 touches in the opposition box, just 0.73 offsides and a not-so-handsome total of 0.74 progressive runs per 90 minutes. Finally, over his rising career thus far, the striker has averaged 2.3 fouls drawn, helping his side out greatly in winning free-kicks and penalties time and time again.
For a forward just 23 and improving all the time, these career average stats are wonderful figures to boast and ones that should only get better as the years go by. With these stats, it’s no wonder the Bayern’s and Real’s of this world have their eyes set on prising Piatek away from a move to London Stadium.
One final attribute that the born-goalscorer possesses that puts him at the very top of the East Londoners’ wish list when it comes to replacing Arnautovic is the fact that he has age on his side.
Piatek is 23-years-young and won’t turn 24 until July, meaning that the best years of his career, including his prime, are well and truly ahead of him. Also, at 23, he is six years younger than the man he could replace in Claret & Blue. This would mean that by signing the national teammate of Lukasz Fabianski, the club would be replacing an ageing striker with a young, hungry one.
Many believe that Piatek would not only be a replacement for Arnautovic, but an improvement on the 29-year-old and our statistical tactical analysis has certainly suggested that today.
It’s hardly surprising that West Ham are so keen on Piatek, based on the evidence we’ve given you in this analysis, and if reports today are to be believed, they are just personal terms away from getting him. Whether the prolific forward would cut it in the Premier League having competed only in sub-standard leagues so far, is something that will remain to be seen until if/when he signs on the dotted line, though Hammers fans have the right to be very excited about this deal.
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