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Stats: How Do Sunderland's Attackers Compare To Khazri?

Stats, stats, lovely lovely stats.

Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images
New signing Wahbi Khazri is, on paper, anything but a typical Sunderland signing. Khazri's injury record is fairly average, and with the player headed into his prime on the back of plenty of playing time at Bordeaux it makes it rather difficult to digest that we've actually bought him.

Our new number 22 may have battled against world class sides like PSG in Ligue 1 but it's important to remember that the general standard of French football falls below that of the Premier League, and the element of risk when signing a player from overseas is generally greater.

Due to differing playing time the stats have been set over the per ninety metric system, meaning all data is the average a player achieves over ninety minutes of football. It's not only a chance to look at what our new signing could bring, but also a chance to see how our existing players fare in comparison.

The disclaimer - as always, stats never tell the full story. There's no substitute for watching football, so I encourage you all to use the stats to help form an opinion and not provide the basis. In other words, it's simply a guide to learn a bit about our new man.

Goal Threat (based on league appearances only)

Stat data from Opta via Squawka. Player images safc.com. Graphics Roker Report

It's only natural to wonder first and foremost is if he's any good in front of goal.. Khazri has a 1:4 goal-to-game ratio this season, netting five in twenty league games - not bad.

What is most encouraging is when he shoots. He more often than not hits the target, with a very impressive 61% shot accuracy over 1578 Minutes - such devastating accuracy can of course create chances in itself, with a dangerous predator like Jermain Defoe lurking in the box. Only young Duncan comes close on shot accuracy, but with only 686 minutes under his belt it's tough to imagine Watmore maintaining such a percentage as more game time comes his way.

This set of stats doesn't particularity put Borini, Johnson and Lens in good light. Goals need to come from everywhere, and if a couple of them can find their shooting boots and start notching it would be invaluable in our quest to survive this season.

Stat data: OPTA via Squawka. Player images: safc.com. Graphics: @Funkyphallusfor Roker Report

Adam Johnson may have lost his hunger to beat a man but of all our attackers this season it's AJ you want on the ball. In Khazri, it looks like we've now got another player who likes to see a bit of the old pig bladder too - very welcome that, considering how often we give up possession high up the pitch.

Jeremain Lens' main flaw is his passing accuracy. Since being deployed in the middle the Dutch international hasn't improved either, after achieving a poor 65% pass accuracy against Spurs and a measly 55% success rate against Bournemouth dragging down his average.

Duncan Watmore statistics perhaps show he's better as an impact sub, with his raw direct game not really suited to putting his foot on the ball and pushing it around.

The assists and chances created areas highlight another of my worries with the squad this season. Lens hasn't had an assist since Swansea at home in the third game of the campaign, and Borini only got his first of the season last Saturday against Bournemouth. Duncan Watmore is yet to register an assist.


I don't doubt Jermain Defoe will score goals for us if he's given the chances, but a lack of composure on the ball in the final third twined with a lack of an eye for a pass means Jermain has been feeding off scraps. It was imperative that a creator was on Big Sam's shopping list.

Stat data from Opta via Squawka. Player images safc.com. Graphics Roker Report

Adam Johnson has noticeably slowed down in recent years - his technical prowess and deft touch meant he used to be a weapon for beating players. He was exciting. Though he's not quite the player he once was, Johnson's ability on the ball has shown at times and the hope is that he can regain his form and fitness and become a real asset to Sam Allardyce in the latter months of the season.

With a hungry forty-four attempted dribbles in just 686 minutes of football, Duncan Watmore is a full backs nightmare when he's on his game. With an average of 2.49 successful take-ons per game, Duncan tops our list here. With a bit of work on his final ball and decision making, we could have one hell of a player on our hands.

Wahbi Khazri isn't just technically good - it appears there's a strong, hungry, direct element to his game too. His 60% success rate for take ons is fairly exceptional. Given how frequently he likes to get past his man he should be a real threat in the Premier League, experienced or not.

Summary

The stats show he can do just about anything with the ball at his feet, but this a big step up from the French league and we need him to settle instantly. It's a big ask, but if you caught our Scouting report, there's an element of physical strength to his game which could well ease him in. Players like Florient Thauvin and Remy Cabella struggled to make an impact having made similar moves from France to Newcastle but with Khazri showing he has a more direct and physical style it should be interesting to see just how long it takes him to get into the swing of things.

Have we finally found a replacement for Stephane Sessegnon? Fingers crossed - we need this one to come good, and quickly.