Nathaniel Clyne vs £22m Liverpool’s Right-back Target – A Statistical Comparison

Sime Vrsaljko

Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne vs Atletico Madrid’s Sime Vrsaljko – A Statistical Comparison

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are right in the mix in the race for the top-4 in the Premier League and the manager will be relatively happy with the progress his squad has made this season. However, the squad at Anfield needs some improvement to get Liverpool back to their previous best and it does not come as a surprise that Klopp is looking at further additions to his squad.

A number of exciting players have constantly been linked with a move to Anfield but one name now making the rounds is La Liga ace Sime Vrsaljko.

A right-back by trait, the 25-year old is currently playing for Atletico Madrid as a backup full-back and has made just three league starts this season in Spain. However, he is the first choice full-back for his national side and has already made 32 appearances for Croatia, which means he is an established star in Europe.

Liverpool are reportedly ready to meet Atletico’s demand of £22m, and want the player to compete with Nathaniel Clyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold for a place in the first-team. This will free up the young Joe Gomez to play as a CB but is Vrsaljko the right man for the Reds? Here is a statistical comparison of the 25-year old’s most effective season, 2016-17, to Nathaniel Clyne’s numbers in the same season.

Having made 11 starts and 14 appearances in total last season, Vrsaljko failed to pick up a single goal or an assist, but was solid at both ends of the field, throughout the campaign. Averaging 0.4 key passes and 0.6 successful dribbles per game, he is no match to Clyne, who had 1.4 key passes and 0.6 dribbles per game.

Nathaniel Clyne

Defensively, Vrsaljko won 2 tackles per game and made 2.3 interceptions per game, numbers that he has managed to achieve in most games this season as well. Clyne, who is also solid defensively, managed just 1.9 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game.

The Liverpool man made 0.6 fouls and 0.2 blocks per game along with 1.7 clearances per game. The Croatian made 1.6 fouls per game, which is one more than Clyne. However, he made 2.4 clearances per game, which is far more than Clyne.

The Englishman is slightly more effective with his passing, with an accuracy of 83.3% compared to just 68.5% from the Atletico Madrid man.

These stats make it clear that Vrsaljko is a more defensive minded full-back, who will add stability to their backline. Whether he fits into Klopp’s style of play will be interesting to see.

Stat Credit: Whoscored.com

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