While Kieran Trippier’s move to Atlético Madrid was one that caught many people by surprise, the news that the LaLiga giants are prepared to cash in on Argentina international Ángel Correa is less of a shock.
In fact, Correa‘s potential departure from the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium has an air of inevitability to it.
Despite racking up 178 appearances in all competitions for Atleti, the forward has spent much of his time under Diego Simeone’s tutelage on the bench and has only started 92 games during four seasons with the club.
That’s not to suggest that the 24-year-old’s spell in Madrid has been unsuccessful, far from it in fact, with his side reaching a Champions League final and winning the Europa League while he was involved in the first-team set-up.
But a goal return of just 30 across four campaigns was always going to invite questions about his potency and Los Rojiblancos are in need of a sacrificial lamb to help balance the books after spending £107million on Portuguese wonderkid João Félix.
Tottenham aren’t the only club thought to be considering a move for the former San Lorenzo frontman, however, with Europa League new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers also rumoured to be interested in securing his signature.
If these reports are accurate then both clubs can clearly see beyond Correa’s poor goal record and believe that he can offer something that transcends his lack of predatory instinct. So what will the Rosario-born striker bring to the party if he ends up in the Premier League next season?
The statistics certainly suggest that Correa could improve both teams in multiple areas, with the 11-cap international excelling in a whole host of metrics when compared with other forwards playing in LaLiga last season.
He completed the thirteenth most passes of any attacking player in the Spanish top tier (25.31) per 90 minutes and was ranked fourteenth when it came to big chances created (0.37 per 90), indicating a level of passing accuracy and vision that surpassed many of his peers during the 2018/19 campaign.
This is backed up by the fact that only one forward completed more through balls than the Argentinian – he is a player always looking to bring his teammates into the game and who largely delivers on that desire.
Correa is good with the ball at his feet too, and completed the fourth most dribbles per 90 minutes of LaLiga’s attackers (2.95). That technical ability is matched by his desire to get on the ball, and his impressive average of 57 touches per game is testament to a man who wants to be in possession at every opportunity.
While three goals for the campaign is a poor return, Correa’s 0.09 goals from outside the box per 90 minutes was the eighth-best among strikers in Spain’s top flight, so the forward is perhaps more deadly from long range than he is often given credit for.
His ability to play others into a shooting position also can’t be underestimated – the Atlético man had the fifth most shot assists from open play in 2018/19, with 1.64 per 90.
But it’s Correa’s defensive statistics that really shine a light on the complete contribution he makes to Simeone’s side. He recorded more dispossessions than any other LaLiga forward (3 per 90), while attempting the fifth most tackles (1.87 per 90) and sixth-most interceptions (0.98 per 90).
When you consider that he is also in the top twenty among attackers for defensive duels and possession regains across all areas of the pitch, it’s hard to argue against the idea that Correa is a truly all-round player who brings everything to his team apart from goals galore.
For that reason the diminutive striker would be a great fit at either Spurs or Wolves. If he ends up at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium then he would presumably be willing to provide cover for Harry Kane up front, having been happy to spend so much time on the bench while in Madrid.
Or alternatively Mauricio Pochettino may consider deploying Correa out wide – his versatility would certainly be a bonus, with the Spurs boss tending to utilise a smaller squad than his top-six rivals.
It’s hard to imagine Correa being anything but a starter at Wolves, and the thought of the forward linking up with Diogo Jota and Raúl Jiménez is an idea that will have Wanderers’ fans licking their lips in anticipation.
The Midlands-based club are yet to splash the cash this summer, and it’s quite conceivable that this could be their flagship signing ahead of a maiden Europa League campaign.
Whichever club Correa ends up at, everything points to him lighting up the Premier League next season.