The feud between Diego Costa and Antonio Conte shows no signs of slowing. And, with the war of words between player and manager escalating in recent weeks, Chelsea may soon need to make a move for a new striker.
Reportedly, options for strengthening this position include Fernando Llorente, Andrea Belotti and Christian Benteke. However, according to the Daily Mirror, above that trio on the shortlist is Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
The England international has hit 39 goals over 72 Premier League appearances in the last three seasons, helping his club to a league title and Champions League football in the process. His rise from non-league football is an incredible one that could be topped off perfectly with a big-money move to one of the country’s top clubs.
However, would Vardy improve Chelsea’s attack? Here Football Whispers digs into the data to answer that question.
Antonio Conte on Alvaro Morata | Chelsea | FWTV by FootballWhispers
Currently, Conte’s top two strikers are Álvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi. However, the latter barely played last season and doesn’t seem to have an exciting future at Stamford Bridge with rumours of a move to Lille emerging recently.
Thus, it is more relevant to compare Vardy with Morata and Costa. And, in the final third, the Englishman isn’t quite as efficient as his Spanish counterparts.
His 13 goals and five assists in league action are impressive, especially when taking into account the fact they came while playing for a struggling Leicester side, but in other areas he wasn’t quite so productive.
In terms of shots per game, his 1.5 was less than Morata and over half that attempted by Costa. Meanwhile, his 0.9 key passes per game was also bettered by the latter.
In addition, his 0.5 dribbles completed on average was fewer than that achieved by both of Chelsea’s current primary striking options.
Vardy did complete more passes per game than Morata, who spent last season at Real Madrid, but his 62.5 per cent completion rate was comparatively lower.
Perhaps what is most surprising is that, in a team that tended to average far less ball possession, the Leicester man also contributed less in the defensive phase than the Chelsea duo.
His 0.4 tackles per game was below Costa’s 0.5 and Morata’s 0.6, while his 0.2 interceptions only just bested the latter’s rate and equalled the former’s.
Finally, it is worth noting that Vardy is older than any of Chelsea’s existing strikers, meaning he has far less upside and room to improve.
While tactically, his relentless running and work ethic would suit Conte’s style, he doesn’t compare to Morata or Costa statistically, while he is also older than both at 30 years of age.
Vardy would give Chelsea an extra option in attack, but it would be a short-term addition. And, given his aforementioned comparatively low output, there is no real need for the champions to pursue his signature.