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Neymar v Lautaro Martinez: Who should Barcelona sign?

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Neymar and Lautaro Martinez have been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona. We use Opta data to see who would best suit the Catalans.

Football may be on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Barcelona are reportedly already planning their transfer business ahead of the window reopening.

The LaLiga champions have been short of options up top this term as a result of injury lay-offs for Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele and reinforcements are being sought.

Two players continue to be continually linked with a switch, with Barca supposedly torn between a move for Inter striker Lautaro Martinez or ex-Camp Nou favourite Neymar.

Martinez has once again starred for Inter this season and the possibility of a move to Catalonia has been talked up by compatriot Lionel Messi.

But speaking earlier this week, Rivaldo claimed Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar would be a better option for his former club given his added experience.

Using Opta stats, we compare the form of the two players in all competitions this season and establish just who would be the better signing for Barcelona.

 

GOALS

Whoever Barcelona bring in to lead the line, they will need to have the ability to link up with others in the final third and continue getting the best out of star man Messi.

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But first and foremost, Quique Setien’s side need a goalscorer that can find the net and make a difference in key games.

Both Neymar and Martinez have the ability to do just that, scoring 18 and 16 goals respectively in all competitions this term.

However, Neymar has played nine games fewer than Martinez, giving him a minutes-per-goal ratio of 106 compared to 152.

ALL-ROUND ABILITY

There is little between the two players in terms of where their goals are scored, each netting two apiece from strikes outside the penalty box this term.

Neymar is comfortable using both feet to find the net, though, using his left foot seven times and his right 10 times to beat the opposition goalkeeper.

Inter striker Martinez, by comparison, has only managed a couple of goals with his weaker left.

But the Argentina international is better in the air, the stats suggest, given he has scored three headed goals in 2019-20 – two more than Neymar.

 

ASSISTS

The deciding factor in which of the two players Barcelona should sign may well come down to their relationship with Messi.

Neymar knows Messi well from his previous four-year stint at Camp Nou, while Martinez regularly links up with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner at international level.

READ   Neymar available and ready for PSG return – Tuchel

In terms of pure team play, this is another category Neymar edges having assisted nine goals this season, with Martinez lagging behind on two.

 

BIG GAME CREDENTIALS

If Barcelona are to spend a nine-figure sum on a player, they will expect to be reimbursed with goals in big matches and at key moments in games.

It is arguably Martinez’s form on the biggest club stage of them all, the Champions League, that has fuelled rumours of a move to Barcelona.

The 22-year-old scored in four successive Champions League games during the group stage, making him the fifth Argentinian player to do so, though it was not enough to prevent Inter from exiting the competition.

PSG remain alive and well in the competition and that is in large down to Neymar, who scored in both legs of the last-16 comeback win against Borussia Dortmund.

In fact, since joining the French giants in 2017, Neymar has been involved in a goal every 70 minutes in UEFA’s showpiece competition.

It is that ability to have a say on the biggest matches, plus his individual brilliance and underrated ability to set up others, which just gives Neymar the edge over Martinez at this moment in time.

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France

PSG Part Ways With Silva In Pomp And Fair

Thiago Silva has been described as one of the greatest players in Paris Saint-Germain history as he prepares to complete a transfer move to English side, Chelsea FC.

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On Thursday, August 27, French Division One side Paris Saint-Germain, PSG paid an affectionate honour to departing captain, Thiago Silva.

PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi in video tribute said, “Thiago, thank you for eight years of unforgettable memories, leadership and commitment. You are one of the greats and your legendary status at PSG will live forever.”
He added, “My very best wishes to you and your family for your new adventures, you will always be part of our family and our history, Merci Captain.”

Silva, 35, is expected to sign a two-year deal with Chelsea, according to reports in Britain.

In France, Brazil’s centre-back enjoyed eight trophy-laden years with the French champions, winning the Ligue 1 title seven times and five French Cups while making 315 appearances for PSG.

By Etienne Mainimo

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France

End of the road for Choupo-Moting at PSG?

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Recruited by Thomas Tuchel  as a “supplement” player, Choupo-Moting was quickly adopted internally, both by the squad’s managers and by the players but his performances were below expectation, giving way to a series of disapprobation from PSG fans and sports analysts.

His heroic entry  against Atalanta with the winning goal at the 93rd minute in the quarter-finals of the Champions League therefore changed prospects and attitude towards him. Fans and some players would like the management to extend the 31-year-old for another season, as L’Equipe reported on Monday, the day after the final defeat to Bayern (0-1).

Unfortunately, the Indomitable Lion didn’t feature regularly for PSG (9 appearance in the Ligue 1 championship), but he can still make a decent reserve.
According to PSG pundits, Leonardo (PSG’s sporting Director) is working on the arrival of an additional international-level center-forward, called to be a “joker” behind the Mbappe-Icardi-Neymar trio, or even to become a starter in case Icardi doesn’t live up to expectation.

READ   Thomas Tuchel 'totally happy' with Mauro Icardi at Paris Saint-Germain

Under these conditions, it is far from certain that he is offering a new lease to Choupo Moting, as he looks forward to the recruitment of a free agent forward who will be offering more guarantees than the Cameroonian.

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France

Vincent Pajot stays at FC Metz

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Vincent Pajot stays at FC Metz

Vincent Pajot played with the Greens between 2015 and 2018. (Vincent Van Doornick / Isosport / Presse Sports)

FC Metz formalized the final transfer of Vincent Pajot, Wednesday afternoon.

Loaned by Angers with option to purchase on December 31, 2019, midfielder Vincent Pajot (29) will remain in Lorraine. FC Metz formalized this Wednesday afternoon i its final transfer. Author of three assists in eight matches in the jersey with the Lorraine cross, the midfielder is now linked with the garnet club until June 30, 2022.

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