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By The Numbers: What Sunderland Would Be Getting With Steven Fletcher

Steven Fletcher could well be on his way to the club for a hefty fee, but what would we be getting for our money? Hopefully this answers some questions.
Steven Fletcher could well be on his way to the club for a hefty fee, but what would we be getting for our money? Hopefully this answers some questions.

With the possibility of Steven Fletcher coming to the club, as has been speculated since the beginning of time (or so it feels) we have to imagine a move is coming sooner rather than later.

I've actually no doubt that Fletcher will one day be a Sunderland player, and I think it will be a very good move for us as just looking purely at his play, he looks like he'd fit in well to our system.

However, some folks are still a little on the fence about any potential signing, so with that in mind we at Roker Report delved into the stats books and looked at what Fletcher will bring to the team on that front. It may open your eyes, it may confirm what you already thought, it might not do anything at all. Whatever it is, we hope these facts and figures make for an interesting read...

Regularity Of Goals

When it comes to Fletcher's scoring record, it's pretty decent with a goal every 220 minutes. Obviously we'd like that to be lower, but given he's consistently played in teams in and around the relegation zone, and in turn creating less chances, it's a good return.

Last season - his most prolific in the Premier League - he hit the net every 195 minutes, and for his Wolves career to date his return is an impressive 170 minutes.

Fletcher's shots-to-goals rate from last season shows that he finds the back of the net every 5.9 shots - more prolific than any striker in our squad from, and indeed all our 'attacking' midfielders.

A Creator As Well As A Finisher

While Fletcher gets goals, he's not one to particularly set up others directly. Only two assists last season proved to be the same amount as Ji Dong-Won - not a particularly great return.

Obviously the stat column marked 'assist' only measures the final pass before the ball struck the net, so if we look to the key passes column, we can see that Fletcher will bring others into play, as he did on 36 occasions last season - a figure only beaten among our current crop of players by Stephane Sessegnon and Seb Larsson.

Only one area where Fletcher could pick things up a little is the accuracy of his passing, with only 71.9% of his passes finding their intended target.

Fox In The Box

For quite some time we've needed a player to get in the box and finish chances. Last season it was what we missed perhaps more than anything. It was proven in the stats column that the likes of Sessegnon, Larsson and James McClean will create chances, but unfortunately nobody was ever there to convert.

Fletcher likes to get in the box, and when he does, he tends to finish. 11 of Fletcher's 12 goals last season came from inside the box, while he's only hit 2 from outside of the box his entire Premier League career - the other 28 coming from inside the area.

Aerial Ability

Last season Fletcher won 68 headed duels. To put it into context, that's 30 more than our leading central defender - Wes Brown - who only manged 38 lat season.

What's more interesting however is the amount of headed goals Fletcher gets. Last season 7 of 12 goals came from his noggin. The previous season 5 of 10 came from his head.

Fletcher could be on for a good year with the right personnel around him. For example, Seb Larsson provided more accurate crosses last season than any Wolves player not named Matt Jarvis, although the Swede attempted considerably less than the once capped Engalnd winger. Put McClean on the other side, and Fletcher's goal-getting bonce should see plenty of action.

Clear Cut Chances

Having just talked about Fletcher converting chances, he was the Premier League's leader in converting clear cut chances last season. Using what Opta classify as a clear cut chance, Fletcher converted 7 of 10 last season, missing only three.

This 70% conversion rate ranked as the best in the league among strikers. More than Robin van Persie's 45%, more than Sergio Aguero's 48%, more than Papiss Cisse's 62%. The figure was only beaten across the entire league by Frank Lampard with 82% of his easier chances converted.

Missing only three was also the lowest in the league.

Points Winning Goals

Of Fletcher's 12 goals last season, 5 of them were directly responsible for gaining valuable points for Wolves, and you'd have to imagine with a better team behind him he could have made the difference between Wolves being relegated as they were, and Premier League survival.

They accounted for six points, which wasn't much in the grand scheme of things, but were the difference in four games for the Molineux outfit. Six points was also the amount of points won by our leading striker last season, Stephane Sessegnon.

Goals Against The Big Boys

While many of these goals didn't count for much in the grand scheme of things, but Fletcher did manage to grab goals against the better sides in the league too, hitting the net against Manchester Untied at Old Trafford, Arsenal at the Emirates and Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Not to mention scoring against us twice in the game between Steve Bruce leaving and O'Neill being appointed, and netting against the Mags earlier in the season.

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