A little over a year ago, we analysed in Driblab the signing of Darwin Nuñez by Benfica. The Uruguayan had left traces of an extraordinary potential that the ‘Aguilas’ were able to see and they ended up betting on him. In that analysis we made a complete profile of a player who was gradually changing the way he played. A playmaker who was gradually progressing to become a finisher.
What has happened to the Uruguayan’s performance in all this time?
In our previous analysis we pointed out the traits of an atypical attacker for Darwin’s size. A player capable of creating his own moves, of overcoming opponents and assisting other teammates, who had and has a great ability to find the goalkeeper but has serious difficulties to beat him with clarity.
That is why his development, as we pointed out at the time, has been aimed at alleviating exactly that deficit, and precisely the one that could be enough to place him among the best centre forwards of the next five years. Paid 25 million at the time to Almería, how much would he be worth today at the age of 22?
The evolution, as our database says, seems clear, modifying a concrete action -expected assists; playmaker- for a more transcendental one for a striker -expected goals and determination in the definition-. But what has not changed is his nature as a player: he continues to take many touches inside the box, a symptom of his quality and mobility to enter through corridors and win space from the centre-backs but above all taking advantage of the confidence he is gaining by being more effective to dare with many more dribbles (he successfully dribbles 25% more than last season).
As we can see in the graph, his improvement in finishing is extraordinary, both in the creation of expected goals and in his ability to finish. If in Uruguay and Almeria he missed too many clear chances, his start to the season under Jorge Jesus is showing that he has gained calmness and hierarchy in one-on-one and shots on goal.
In this way, the data gives us the possibility of being able to analyse with a few searches the performance of the player over a short or long period of time and even intuit where the evolution of a footballer can go if the volume of certain data is maintained but the effectiveness has room for improvement.
We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in football analytics and big data; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 180,000 players from more than 180 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.