Are Everton getting a good deal with Jordan Pickford transfer?
FootyOn ask is the Jordan Pickford transfer really worth £30,000,000 by assessing and comparing his 2016/17 Premier League stats.
Sunderland are reaping the rewards of the third-most expensive goalkeeper sale of all-time – now Everton have paid for Pickford.
Only Juventus and Italy icon Gianluigi Buffon and new Manchester City recruit Ederson Moraes cost more than Pickford.
Legendary goalie Peter Shilton feels the deal is value for money, but what do the stats say?
The Toffees, who are 4/1 with BetVictor for a top six finish next term, are set to flex their financial muscles beyond this purchase with other statement signings.
— Everton (@Everton) June 15, 2017
Now his arrival is confirmed on a five-year deal, here are the other numbers behind the Jordan Pickford transfer…
Potential must be factored in
Raw figures of four Premier League clean sheets in 31 appearances, an average of one shut-out for almost every eight matches played (7.75), and 56 goals conceded (1.81 per game) don’t paint a very good picture of Pickford.
A goalkeeper is sometimes only as good as the defence in front of him, though, and Sunderland were perpetual strugglers both before and during his first-team breakthrough.
The Black Cats have had an ageing rearguard, typified by long-serving and departing skipper John O’Shea.
Fellow Manchester United alumnus Wes Brown was also on the books well into his 30s until last summer, for example.
Joleon Lescott, another in the 30-something club, played for Sunderland this past season too.
While Pickford doesn’t compare favourably to Everton competition Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenburg during his short Premier League career so far, there is potential to consider.
No stats can account for that.
Robles record surprisingly better than Stekelenburg
Robles, a player not known for commanding his box as other stats below highlight, boasts the best overall Premier League averages.
The Spanish stopper’s 18 clean sheets in 51 English top-flight outings (average of one every 2.83 matches) and 64 goals let in (1.25 per game) are surprisingly good.
Robles’ numbers include nine Premier League games on loan with Wigan Athletic, during which time he also won the FA Cup.
Former Netherlands World Cup final goalie Stekelenburg, meanwhile, has played for three teams in the English top-flight.
The Dutch custodian previously kept goal for both Fulham and Southampton, where he also worked with Ronald Koeman.
A dozen clean sheets in 55 Premier League matches is an average of one in more than 4.5 games (4.58).
Stekelenburg has also conceded the highest amount of the three with 86, yet his average of 1.56 goals per game is still lower than Pickford.
Seasonal stats a mixed bag
You may argue 31 Premier League goals overall is too little to judge Pickford on, but it is all we have, and 29 of those games came this past season.
Besides keeping all four career top-flight clean sheets to date this term, he also conceded 50 goals – the fifth highest amount.
The other Premier League goalies who let more goals in amazingly came from teams that stayed up.
Ben Foster (51 at an average of 1.34 per game) of West Bromwich Albion and Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes (64 and 1.68) played full 38 game seasons.
Their averages are better than Pickford’s this past campaign (1.72) because of that.
Artur Boruc (63 in 35 for an average of 1.8), like Foster and the Baggies, played for a team that finished in the Premier League’s top 10 in Bournemouth.
Swansea City stopper Lukasz Fabianski (69 in 37 for an average of 1.87), meanwhile, had the worst numbers this term.
Shot stopping a clear strength
Only Tom Heaton of Burnley (141) made more Premier League saves this Pickford (135) this past season.
You can add Robles and Stekelenburg’s tallies together in this department (54+42) and Pickford made almost 40 more saves (39) than their combined total.
At Sunderland, he was certainly kept busy by opposition attackers and a woeful defence affording little protection.
Moving to a team in Europe like Everton should see Pickford have less to do.
It is how he occupies himself for long periods when in no danger and learns to concentrate that is difficult to gauge.
The Toffees are a very different proposition to what Pickford is used to.
If, as expected, defensive signings to bring younger legs in also materialise at Goodison Park, then we will see new dimensions to his game.
Commanding presence and not afraid to punch, but more throws required
Besides being second for saves, Pickford also made the second-most punches (22) behind Gomes (35) and more than Robles (9) and Stekelenburg (10) combined.
Although ninth in the sweeper-keeper stakes well behind Hugo Lloris of Spurs (34), Pickford’s 22 sweeping clearances is over one-and-a-half times those performed by his new Everton clubmates (Robles 5 and Stekelenburg 9).
Pickford also made the fifth most high claims with 46.
Fabianski led the way here with 71, while Robles plucked the ball out of the air 38 times and Stekelenburg on 18 occasions.
One area of Pickford’s game where there is room for improvement, though, is throwing the ball out.
He could ill-afford to do it at Sunderland with such a shaky defence.
Pickford (83) still did it more than either Robles and Stekelenburg (71 apiece), but way behind stat leader Petr Cech of Arsenal (191).
Conclusion: Pickford must fulfil potential to repay investment
So, there are the stats.
Pickford kept less than a third of Everton’s collective clean sheets this past season (13: 10 for Robles and the others Stekelenburg).
The Toffees had a better defence, though, conceding six goals less than Pickford’s 50 all season.
Any transfer for a young player is a long-term investment.
There are no guarantees, but it was the same for Buffon when he joined Juve in 2001.
If Pickford can come close to achieving just half of the Italian all-time great’s trophy haul, then he will be money well spent.
The Jordan Pickford transfer is just the beginning of the story.
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