The English spearhead has averaged 18 goals in the league every season for the past 5 seasons. This incredible feat is contrasted by the fact that he is at the twilight of his career at 34. Thus, if they hope to sustain their progress, Leicester must look to find a long-term replacement for Vardy.
This scout report provides a tactical analysis of 3 strikers that could potentially develop into the next Vardy – a role that is essential to Brendan Rodgers’ tactics. Our analysis considers statistical similarities, market value and the overall likelihood of the transfer to happen.
1. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)
Celtic‘s underwhelming performances this season have been contrasted by Odsonne Edouard’s remarkable form. The 23-year-old Frenchman has recorded an impressive 16 goals and 3 assists in the 2020/21 campaign. This has merited sustained interest from the Foxes for the striker.
The first glance into both players’ respective dashboards reveals the inherent similarities in their attacking output. This is attested by their similar Expected Goals (xG) per 90 and Touches in the opposition box per 90.
In addition, their heat maps introduce differences in the respective styles among the 2 players. Vardy is a poacher, heavily concentrated around the 6-yard box whereas Edouard participates more in possession chains.
The above radar chart compares the attacking output of both players. Edouard outperforms Vardy in every metric here bar Headed goals per 90. At 187cm, the Frenchman would have to impose his physicality to thrive in a more demanding Premier League.
The major difference between both players is Edouard’s creative statistics. The above radar chart highlights that the Frenchman makes significantly higher overall passes, and passes to the penalty area per 90. This could serve as a starting point into a tactical evolution for Leicester and help them break down structurally rigid sides.
2. Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)
This one may come off as a surprising wild card to many, but Callum Wilson has been the most important player for Newcastle United. With Wilson in the starting 11, Newcastle averaged 1.14 points per game. Since his injury, the Magpies have drawn 3 and lost 5 with a shocking 0.38 points per game
The differences in Wilson’s passing and defending comes down to the playing styles of both teams. For instance, Wilson averages 0.67 through passes per 90 as opposed to Vardy’s 0.21. Conversely, Vardy records a higher output in Expected Assists (xA).
And while Leicester’s talisman is uncontested in Aerial Duels per 90, both strikers have an uncannily similar shape in the following radar chart.
The takeaway here is a similar xG/Shot indicating a fairly even finishing ability amongst the two strikers. If Wilson can integrate into Leicester’s style, the surrounding stats in his radar chart are bound to increase.
3. Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad)
Alexander Isak has had a breakthrough season after gradually improving at Real Sociedad. The 21-year-old Swedish youngster has recorded 12 goals and 2 assists this season. Despite having a heat map quite similar to Vardy’s, Isak plays a crucial role in Real Sociedad’s possession chains.
The aforementioned eye for strong positioning is a trait that Leicester should break their bank on. Moreover, Isak outperforms the Englishman in the majority of attacking metrics.
The above image highlights that even though Isak records higher shots per 90, his xG per shot leaves a lot to be desired. Isak is still young, and under the right coaching staff, will improve upon this over time.
All in all, each of the above players will improve Leicester tactical philosophy and output in the long-run.