Thursday, August 15, 2013

Romelu Lukaku - 8.0m

So here's my excuse: the players listed in each team section within the team reviews are those with stats from last season. The players listed in the transfer section are all the new signings (per Transfermarkt). Romelu Lukaku doesn't fit into either category (his data all relates to West Brom, of course) and thus I somehow excluded one of the most exciting prospects in the league from my eBook (I think I got everyone else though so check out the rest of the book if you want to see what I'm talking about).

If I'd had a bit more sleep, and a few less wedding tasks to complete, here's what I would have written:

Lukaku enjoyed a tremendous first real season in the Premier League, notching 17 goals and seven assists, supported by excellent underlying data including 97 total shots with an impressive 45 on target. These totals ranked 8th and 4th among all forwards respectively: excellent numbers for a player in a mid level team with a mid level price tag. What's even more incredible though is if we gross up the Belgian's numbers to put him on a level playing field with his pricier rivals. For example, if Lukaku played at this rate for the same minutes as van Persie, he'd have racked up 151 total shots with 70 of those coming inside the box, which would actually exceed the Dutchman's haul of 141 and 63. Now, it might not be fair to set that as our expectation, but to even be mentioned in the same postal code as a 14.0m forward is noteworthy.

Now, the issue coming into the new season is playing time and where as at West Brom he was able to solidify his place as an every week starter by mid-season, at Chelsea this sporadic playing time may continue all year. Back in September when we highlighted Lukaku as a 'Moneyball' player over at Fantasy Football Scout, it was fairly evident that if he continued to play as he was, he would displace the likes of Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie, but with Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and even Andre Schurrle providing stronger competition at Stamford Bridge, it's far from clear how Lukaku will feature this year.

We all want to get in on players with upside as early as possible, and if this were a typical baseball-style draft competition then Lukaku would absolutely be a player to target and perhaps even reach for. However, as appealing as the double gameweek is, it's far from clear that he'll start both games, and if you were assigning probabilities, you'd probably suggest the odds are against him doing so. This status could quickly change with indications that Lukaku will lead the line more often than not, but until then, the prudent move is to grab someone like Paul Lambert or Dimitar Berbatov and then react to Lukaku's situation after Chelsea have been to Old Trafford and had their off week in GW3.

Editors's note: Apparently by addressing a careless mistake I've decided to add another. Despite his 14 goals for St Mirren between 1986 and 1993 (thanks Wikipedia!), Paul Lambert is absolutely not a great pickup for 7.5m. Rickie Lambert however does appear to tick all the boxes.


Julius said...

*Rickie Lambert

Chris Glover said...

Thanks Julius. Apparently I've been away for too long!

Derek said...

I have a dilema

I either go;

Lukaku Saldado Dzeko

and have a pretty weak 4.5 all round defence or I drop one(which one?) for Anelka and strengthen my back line with someone from arsenal and chelsea. e.g Ivanovic and Mertesacker ;)

What do you think.. my mid field is almost as strong as you can get without bale.

See full team here:

Jerrysbodyguard said...

check out my blog, i will have team profiles, player profiles, match predictions, fixtures and results, football tips and other stuff. Heres the link

Nick Howden-Steenstra said...

Hi Chris,

Your blog has been my number 1 source of stats and info over the last two years, so obviously I bought the ebook and used it as my bible for picking my team, amazing work as always Chris. Helped me win my private leagues for two years straight ^

Barkley + Cole too early to jump on the bandwagon? Cole limited by age and Downing? Barkley by age and Gisbon?

Cheers, happy Honeymooning and congratulations!!

Junaid Effendi said...


visit mine!

Steven said...

Lukaku is useless. Should have saved your time and not written this :)

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