Arsenal are trying to hijack Everton’s move for Barcelona winger Malcom, according to reports in the UK.
Gunners boss Unai Emery is said to have turned his attentions towards the Brazilian as they don’t believe a move for Wilfried Zaha is realistic.
With Malcom apparently available for £31.5m, he would be a cheaper option, but it’s clear that he would be a massive downgrade on the Crystal Palace winger. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Zaha is a unique talent on the ball
Anyone who has seen the Ivorian in possession will know he is notoriously difficult to get the ball off. That is why, combined with his pace, he is a superb player to have on the counter-attack.
Comparing dribbling stats with Wyscout, you can see just how unique a talent he is. Last season, Zaha averaged 12.94 dribbles per match, 72% of those were successful.
In contrast, Malcom managed 5.69 dribbles per match, which is not bad for a winger, but it isn’t even close to the Ivorian. The Eagles star can escape pressing situations with his dribbling ability and strength; something which can help create chances and goals.
2) Zaha is a greater goalscoring threat
Although Malcom was not a regular first-team player for Barcelona last season, we can still see how each compares in terms of their threat in front of goal.
Zaha averaged 1.97 shots per 90 minutes for Palace last season, while Malcom, despite playing in a more offensive team, averaged just 1.44.
It must be said that the Brazilian has a better ratio of shots on target, and is slightly better in turning chances into goals, but overall, Zaha is generally more of a direct threat to the opponent’s goal.
3) Malcom has less impact on the game compared to Zaha
Being effective in terms of shots, assists, dribbling, crossing and progressive runs is all part of being a successful attacking player. Wyscout can measure all of these metrics and collate them into one number which they measure as “Successful Attacking Actions per 90 minutes.”
In the top five European leagues, Zaha comes out twelfth overall, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard and Neymar ahead of him.
Statistically, the Ivorian is up there with the best in Europe in having an impact in the final third of the pitch. In contrast, Malcom is not even in the top 300.
It’s clear, then, why Zaha was the club’s top priority signing this summer to improve in wide areas. You do get what you pay for, and there’s no doubt that if Malcom is signed instead, the Gunners would have settled for second best.