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Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

Nedum Onuoha is in the SAFC headlines this week, having come out and said he’d very much welcome a move to Sunderland if given the chance, but should we be making a move? Roker Report assess the stats to try and find out...

What struck me the most though was the fact that nearly all reports said something along the lines of "City could do business for £6-8m, but SAFC may be unwilling match that."

Is that too much? Is it too little? How does our Nedum compare with the ‘top’ right-backs in the league? Well it’s time to find out, so that’s what I’ve done.

To use for comparison, I’ve used arguably 3 of the top right-backs in the league; Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea, Bacary Sagna of Arsenal and Glen Johnson of Liverpool. Now I know some of you are going to say "but Glen Johnson’s shite!"... I agree, but countless commentators and managers would disagree, so he’s included.

All four of this lot have played a similar number of games too, which makes this all the more easy to compare.

Before we get started in analysing their performances this season, what value would you place on all four players? And let’s see if you think it should be more or less after reading. For the purposes of impartiality, I have consulted to get the ‘market value’ of each player...

Branislav Ivanovic: £18.4m
Bacary Sagna: £14.9m
Glen Johnson: £13.2m
Nedum Onuoha: £5.2m

That’s their opinions, not mine, but I could realistically see Sagna, Ivanovic & Johnson all moving for those prices if put up for sale.

Now into the stats. There are many things a modern fullback need to be able to do well ranging from the fundamentals, to passing and chipping in with the odd goal here and there. I’m going to start with the most basic of things; defending. Anyone in a defence has to defend well, making plenty of tackles, cleanly.

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So as we can see, Onuoha is certainly holding his own when it comes to tackling success, with a greater or equal percentage to the much lauded Sagna & Johnson. Onouha also has conceded fewer free kicks than Johnson & Ivanovic (whose 35 is the most in the league). While Sagna has given away fewer free kicks this season, he’s considerably dirtier, as are all those mentioned alongside Nedum.

Make of the results of this what you like, but I think it makes for very good reading. Nearly three quarters of his tackles won, and a very clean player unlikely to get suspended any time soon. Nedum is doing the defending part very well indeed, and earns thumbs up from Roker Report.

As I mentioned earlier though, defending is only one part of the modern fullback’s game. Attacking is also a key, and is exactly why the likes of Ashley Cole have been so successful. They have the ability to be a force at the back and going forward.

Now, having found that Nedum is more than holding his own defensively with the best in the business, it's time to see how he looks when on the attack.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> 12.00 <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]>-->Now this on paper is an area Onuoha needs to improve if he is to push into the upper-echelons of right-backery. Nedum is slightly behind all his peers in most areas, and pass completion in particular.

Branislav Ivanovic is the runaway leader as far as ‘best right back’ is concerned when all the stats are processed, but between Sagna, Johnson & Onuoha, I don’t think there’s a great deal to separate them. Our Ned also as we've seen is fairly quick, strong and good in the air, in our opinion only bettered by Ivanovic of those we've compared to.

A bit of work on Nedum’s attacking and he could well establish himself as one of the best in the league, as he’s hovering around the second level already.

Worth noting that Onuoha has plenty of scope to improve too, at only 24 years old, he’s two years younger than Ivanovic and Johnson, and three years younger than Sagna.

If £6m or so would be considered enough a steal for Johnson or Sagna, then why not Onuoha? Nedum is certainly up there with them in the second rung of top Premier League right-backs. With Nedum being by far the youngest of the bunch too, I think Brucey should snap him up before other realise just how good the boy is.

Stats correct as of 11/02/11

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Tackles Won %





Fouls Conceded





Yellow Cards





Red Cards





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