Finding a midfielder with goalscoring ability is always a desire and a necessity for the scouting departments of any club. Assigning all the goal scoring responsibility to strikers without complementing them with profiles that have a knack for finishing or the key pass removes your squad from a plan B, forcing you to rely too heavily on your strikers. A quick and easy way to find out which midfielders generate the most value against the goalkeeper is with their Scoring Contribution. This statistic adds up goals + assists per 90 minutes.
To see it graphically, we select players who play as pivots and midfielders, excluding players who start from higher up even if they help build play, and we quickly find the players with the most ability and freedom to get into attacking areas, such as Kevin de Bruyne, who generates 0.73 goals or assists per 90 minutes, followed by Martin Odegaard and Celta’s surprising young talent, Gabri Veiga.
To translate the concept into reality we will use this and other equally specific metrics to find U21 midfielders with more than 700 minutes played in the Netherlands and Belgium, both in the first and second division, who play in midfield and who have a certain facility for finishing and effectiveness in their arrivals, making them high-value pieces within the squad.
In this table we have selected some profiles that meet certain metrics related to the arrival of second line, the shot, the generation of chances or the key passes and chances created, indicators that will bring us closer to finding an attacking midfielder profile with a high incidence in generating chances through shooting, scoring or assisting.
The value of the metric is chosen according to the average for the position, exceeding it slightly. All seven players exceeded that performance with some ease. Before being able to see them on video, the club would thus have a valuable filter on a particular role, over and above the position, which often does not provide the information in a better filtered and more detailed way.
An interesting player within the search is Thomas van den Belt, a 21 year old midfielder of PEC Zwolle who is already sounding as a possible reinforcement of important teams in the Eredisivie, standing out not only in the search metrics (shots, expected goals, chances created) but also with a very good defensive performance, which explains a great potential and competitiveness.
In this table we have added the player’s score in our Score, as well as the possibility of being able to play in the UK, with Mohamed Nassoh being the only one of the seven players currently eligible to play in the British Isles.
We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in the statistical analysis of players and teams; 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 200,000 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.