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Why be excited that Gonzalo Higuain could sign for Arsenal?

Why i am very excited that Gonzalo Higuain Could sign for Arsenal

By Ian Jenkinson.

I write this as the speculation reaches fever pitch as to whether Gonzalo Higuain is going to sign for Arsenal or Juventus. Why any player would like to join the corrupt, boring Italian League is beyond me but let us hope that Gonzalo does the right thing and ignores the Old Lady’s advances and heads on over to London.  All the signs are pointing to him signing on the dotted line at Arsenal and I would be one very excited Gooner if he did. And this is why.

When we are heavily linked with a player i am not the type to go on to YouTube and see what he’s made of as YouTube can make anybody look like a superstar (Chamakh even looked handy before he signed for us!). Not that we would need to check YouTube for someone as high profile as Higuain but you get the idea.

I do the boring thing and check out the players stats, especially if he is a striker. I try and forget the fancy flicks and so on (which are great if they have an end result!), I want to know has the striker a history of hitting the back of the net. And boy does Gonzalo know where the back of the net is. Some Arsenal fans out there are not happy that we are being linked to him and I have no idea why.  Just check out his stats.

I am at the World Wide Web’s mercy here, if any stats are wrong then I apologise as I can only trust what is put in front of me, but if they are wrong it will only be by the odd goal or appearance; I have checked many sources which match so they won’t be far off. And please note that these are based on league games only.

At first glance Higuain’s stats are very impressive: 107 goals in 190 league appearances for Real Madrid. That’s a goal in every 1.78 league games. Add 39 assists to that and you have a “goal involvement” total of 146 in 190 league appearances. Which means Gonzalo either scored or created a goal once every 1.30 league game he plays, which is about one goal every 120 minutes roughly. Impressive right? There’s more….

What do 190 appearances mean? You can be brought on as a sub in the 3rd minute of injury time in a game, play for 60 seconds and that is counted as an appearance or you can play 90 minutes in a game and it is counted in player’s stats as the same thing. This is hardly fair and can distort overall statistics for players. So i wanted to dig deeper and see what my new best friend Gonzalo’s 190 appearances really equated to.

Let me break his 190 league appearances down:

He started 127 of the 190 games which means he was brought on as a substitute 63 times. But of the 127 times he started a game he was taken off or “was substituted” 73 times. So this means that of his 190 appearances Gonzalo only played 54 full games. Let that sink in, he played the full 90 minutes of his league games less than 30% of the time.

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Less than 30% of the time was he on the pitch for the whole game and yet he managed to have a “goal involvement”  146 times (107 goals and 39 assists). In any man’s language that’s a phenomenal record.

Let me break that down one level further. Sure he was substituted 73 times but that could mean he played 89 minutes instead of 90 minutes right? Or when he came on as a sub those 63 times he could have come on early and got lots of game time. Not really. Not in Gonzalo’s case anyway.

Of the 190 league games that Gonzalo played for Real Madrid he was only on the pitch 11,957 minutes. That is an average of just under 63 minutes per game, again let that sink in. He averaged only 2/3rds of a game and yet he scored 107 goals and had 39 assists.

So instead of saying that he has a “goal involvement” to game ratio of 1 in 1.30 (or 120 minutes) based on 190 full appearances, he actually has a “goal involvement” of 1 in every 82 minutes based on his minutes played over the 190 games.

That is better than a goal a game ratio!! And he is on the brink of being ours!

And his record of 20 goals and nine assists in just 32 internationals for Argentina is just mouth watering.

Arsenal are a football team who create many chances in a game and as you can see from the stats above Gonzalo Higuain is a man who would know what to do with those chances.

When Arsenal sold Robin Van Persie last summer I was told by all my friends that we were finished etc. Blah blah blah. In retort to my short sighted buddies I told them that I was not in the slightest bit worried because Arsenal are a team who create many chance in a game and the only difference would be that the goals would be shared out. We would still create lots of chances but instead of RVP being the main beneficiary of our creativity we would see other players take advantage.

And I was right, Theo, Olivier and Lukas amongst others all weighed in with impressive totals (especially since it was Olivier and Lukas’s first season). We managed to finish three points better off without RVP and only scored two goals less. Oh we were finished all right!

And on we build, I mention this last section because if we do add Gonzalo Higuain to our squad then we will have moved up a notch in overall class. With his record he will be a massive coup for us. He will add so much to the team and I feel he will thrive in England and terrorise defences everywhere.

I don’t know about you but I am very excited about this possible signing.

Please Arsene, finalise this ASAP. Pretty please…..

————————————

25 June Anniversaries

  • 25 June 1904: Fred Coles goes to Grimsby
  • 25 June 1975: Steve Gatting signed as apprentice profession
  • 25 June 2007: Thierry Henry goes to Barcelona for €24 million

 The Almost Complete Arsenal Anniversary File

The books…

The sites from the same team…

 

54 comments to Why be excited that Gonzalo Higuain could sign for Arsenal?

  • Savage

    The goals per minute stat is very interesting – thanks for that.

    Is everyone expecting him to play at the front, or is there a chance of putting him out wide and keeping Giroud as a target man to lay balls into his path?

  • Rupert Cook

    I wish someone would sign him, preferably us, because all this feverish speculation is annoying.

    @Shard, are you still in London? Want to meet?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice work on the stats .Am salivating at the prospect of a true opportunistic finisher joining us .
    Let the rest tippy-toe around the box but pass it on to him to smash it in .

  • Fantastic stats breakdown, Ian. This just underpins how lethal of a striker he really is. He simply just ticks all the boxes in what we need from a striker. He will finish chances that were missed last season, which means we will likely compete for trophies this year.Give him the ball in the box and he will terrorize defenses.

    Looking at his stats from whoscored.com his notable weaknesses are offside-awareness and heading. But it doesn’t worry me at all. Giroud excels in those areas to complement Higuain. Everything else is top notch. He can finish with aplomb, tackle and hassle for the ball, dribble, play off the shoulder, pass and has decent pace.

    Man, this just fills me with genuine excitement for next season. Sign him up, AW!

  • Gotku

    @ Savage:

    Higuain is not a wing man. He don’t really have the quality to do that.
    He is just a pur front striker, and imo one of the best finisher in Europe (top 5). That will really be a great sign for Arsenal.

    To expect to win trophies nowdays, you need a world class striker, and Higuain is definitly one of those.

    And the scariest thing, he is only 25!!!

  • nicky

    Like every right-minded Arsenal supporter, I would like to see Higuain at the Emirates.
    I mildly question the value of his stats at Real Madrid, though.
    Surely Barcelona and Real are so far ahead of the rest in the Liga Primera that their stats are meaningless…..a bit like Rangers and Celtic of yesteryear.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Ian for this nice article. I had been thinking of trying to do the same as you did. You saved me some time 😉

    Now I did went on Youtube to see some of his goals. And I felt like crying if we would miss him. I think under the guidance of Wenger he could turn in to a 30+ goal scorer for Arsenal.

    I usually don’t try to get carried away with all the rumours but if this would come through I would be delighted.

  • Dominic

    He has scored consistently over 5 several years proving he’s not a flash in the pan. Sign him.

  • nico

    The only exciting thing about Higuain is that he is 25…
    He will develop well here…

  • elkieno

    You paint a great picture but all this leads me to think it won’t happen. Why aren’t the other big clubs in for him something not right.
    God I hope we get him!

  • WalterBroeckx

    In a way he is not the flashy player a C. Ronaldo is. or a Messi at Barcelona. A Cavani or a Falcao.

    He is used to play second fiddle to the big name but never really gets the chance to be the main star himself.
    That might change if he comes to Arsenal and performs well.

  • Patrick Anaekwe

    Great job Ian. Higuain is the lynch pin Arsenal needs to excel again. Arsene Wenger the Prof, get this arrow head.

  • WalterBroeckx

    OFF TOPIC but could have an influence on the Higuan transfer.

    Got to love the Italian police and investigation forces. After discovering Calciopoli and other scandals they just have confiscated documents of some 41 Italian clubs in a case of possible tax evasion and irregularities over the buying and selling of players.

    18 of the clubs play in the Serie A and Juventus is one of the clubs apparently.

  • gooner son

    The latest @ goal.com is that juventus have bulked at the asking price for higuain and have turned their attention to signing tevez instead.
    I hope this is true.

  • Rufusstan

    In truth I’m trying to keep my excitement down, because this guy is such a good fit for us that if it doesn’t happen then…..

    The thing that flags it up more than anything is his chance conversion rate. Last year was a bad season for him, but it was about 32%, I’ve seen figures for prior years ranging between 43%-48%. As a club, we make a hell of a lot of chances (460ish last season).

    To compare, Theo is about out best from last year, and as far as I can figure it, his conversion rate is about 26%, everyone else well under 20%.

    I’m not 100% on the figures because different sources mean slightly different things with chance conversion, but they are good enough to give you the idea.

    There was a comment I saw yesterday that sums it up for me (and I wish I had thought of it):

    ‘we get to listen again to the line we were so used to when Eduardo played.

    “He just doesn’t miss does he?”’

  • Cristian

    hi,

    my only concern is WHY did he finish only 1/3 of the games he’s started? could it be a fitness/injury concern? otherwise, indeed, it does look like impressive stats, but also bear in mind, in the Spanish league, only Barcelona and Real really count, so scoring goals against the rest of the Spanish teams would be easier than scoring against PL opposition (I believe the EPL has become the most balanced of the big Europeans leagues and the differences between 1st and last are not so big as they used to be, plus at any point there are at least 4 teams with a shout to the title – maybe not so much last season, but very much so in recent years)

    don’t get me wrong, I think Higgy would be a splendid signing, I’m just trying to prepare myself for a potential fizzzzzz of this bubble…

  • @Swales1968

    I have a problem with Higuain signing for Arsenal, for a change it is a good problem a nice one for Wenger to have. Where do Arsenal play him and who with?

    Do they go 433 or 442 or 4411 where does Giroud fit into this system. If it’s 442 where does Cazorla play, how do Arsenal get Theo into the inside right position that the seems to score from more often than not?

    I have played around with formations on http://footballformation.co.uk/
    all I can say is I am glad I am not Wenger

  • ARSENAL 13

    Well, this could happen. Us signing Higuain……Well if therz only Juventus to compete with.

    But with all the hype and people shouting from the top of the London eye to sign him…….looks like he will be under a huge pressure to get going from the start. I hope people give him (if he signs for us) or any other new player time to settle down..

  • Dazzler

    Ian – an absolutely outstanding post, extremely well researched and underlined precisely what I have been trying to explain to a whole bunch of negative (yes believe it or not there are some who don’t think Higuain is good enough)Gooners in more detail and with more substance.

    Splendid work. I also love the fact that Higuain’s stats playing for his national team Argentina are significantly better than Messi’s as well.

    Only 25 years old. Imagine if he developed in the same way RvP did but without the injuries we could have a PL top scorer or thereabouts for a good 4-5yrs or more.

    I’m excited, very very excited.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Christian,

    maybe a lot of job done, now lets put on some more defensive players to finish the game off?

    If he keeps his stats I wouldn’t mind him having substituted after 70 mins 😉

  • Ong Bing

    Good write Ian.

    If I must choose, I choose Higuain than Rooney.
    Sign him up, por favor.

  • Ong Bing

    Aha, Madrid already sign Ancelotti, so we will hear Higuain news soon.

  • Gf60

    I’m not much of a one for youtube highlights but having a quick look at Higuain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi-Hm09ZRBw
    I managed to stumble onto these long range Gooner goals from 5 years back and more. What a marvelous way to spend a spare 8 minutes. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glsaOQka-Mg

  • americangooner

    Gonzalo against Barca:
    Matches: 22 (includes league, supercoppa, copa del rey, CL)

    Minutes played:1079 minutes (11 times as a sub, playing less than 30 minutes)

    Goals + assists: 3+1

    Not prone to injuries, however, he did miss 2 months last season.

    stats from: transfermarkt.co.uk

  • Stuart

    Ian,

    I love your analysis and the fact that you’ve explored the facts to bare details rather than just presumed things.

    Great write up, it actually got me thinking, how do our other players, past and present, match up to this? Maybe I’ll have a look one day.

  • Dec

    Top marks Ian. That’s the kind of useful analysis that makes decent fans come to UA.

  • Slysoulman

    “…Theo, Olivier and Lukas amongst others all weighed in with impressive totals (especially since it was Olivier and Lukas’s first season).” And Cazorla. Say Gonzalo joins us and delivers only 20 goals and the aforementioned four replicate last season’s double-digit returns and the defence replicate their late-season run we would be in for some excitement. It a lot of ifs though, the biggest being him joining.

  • A. Stewart

    Over 30 goals 10 assists (total appearances) in his first season if we sign him. Top quality.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    Thanks guys for all the comments, i appreciate it a lot.

    I enjoyed doing the research on Gonzalo. Hopefully we do get him eventually!

    Walter, you are welcome, i thought you deserved a break 🙂

    Nicky/Christian, i understand what you mean about the Spanish League being a two horse race but it still takes a certain striker to finish the chances. I couldn’t imagine my pal Chamakh having those stats if he played for Madrid!

    Stuart, great idea, i nearly did an Henry/Higuain comparison but thought better of it! Would be interesting though.

    Slysoulman, exactly, if we maintain performances, especially from the 2nd half of last season and add Gonzalo then we have just upgraded our chances of silverware next season.

    I do believe if we sign Gonzalo that Wenger will turn him into one of the most prolific strikers in Europe if not the world. If he stays injury free and gets extended game time then i can see him topping the Premier League goalscoring charts in the near future.

    I really do.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Ian, he already is (and consistently has been) one of the most prolific strikers in Europe and the world (the most prolific in S. America qualifying as we speak)…

    What I can say however, and has been pointed out by several on here, is that if he gets a chance at a club (hopefully AFC) to be a) the main undisputed striker, and b) have much of the play tailored to him…then he should score in the bucket loads. He doesn’t need much improvement as a striker/player per se, he just needs improvement in terms of situation, hopefully that is provided to him at Arsenal.

  • LRV

    Good Lord! I was just barely managing to keep my excitement down. Ian, you’ve managed to buckle that now.

    Arsenal wanted to go for him just before he became an established first teamer at Real Madr, but was rebuffed. I hope we get him now. If not, containing myself will be a very hard task (and I might just blame you for it Ian).

  • Phil23

    Lots of people asking what will happen to Giroud etc.. The answer is explained in the article. Higuain doesn’t finish games so Olivier will still get a lot of playing time. Giroud will probably play as many minutes as Higuain this season (being his first season).

  • Ian Jenkinson

    @A. Stewart

    Exactly. He just needs a home where he is loved and will get more game time, he would have that at Arsenal. At the moment he is a bit in Ronaldo’s shadow. We just need to take him and push him very much into the glorious limelight.

    And it is true that he already is one of the most prolific in Europe and the world, what i meant was, i think Wenger can take him to the next level by giving him more game time and focusing our attack on him. He has the potential to be mega for us.

    @LRV

    Let yourself go! Let the excitement course through your veins!

    After all this talk, we better sign him…….

    YIKES!!

  • Adam

    He is a very, very productive player. He is 25/26 get him to sign another contract before he turns 28 and we could have a RVP equivalent for the next 7 years.

    I would put him on a par with RVP now, god knows what he could be like after Wenger works his magic. He is the type of player that will improve those around him.

  • Ong Bing

    Come to Arsenal, and Arsene will make you Premier League top score.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Ian, ok completely agree. I thought you more referencing some coaching up as opposed to the situation we could provide him.

    @ Adam, regarding “Wenger working his magic”, do you mean more than providing him the situation of playing time and belief that he hasn’t had at Madrid? Frankly, one of my bigger concerns with Wenger recently is seemignly tinkering with players’ preferred and natural roles (especially attackers), hopefully working his magic with Higuain (if he does indeed come) wouldn’t mean tinkering with his role and deploying him in various wing positions etc. The guy needs to play overwhelmingly upfront. I think the recent years’ record of Wenger improving incoming players especially attackers is very very mixed at best.

  • Cristian

    ok, ok, I’m sold, I’ll give Arsene a call, give him the green light to seal the deal. you’ve just contributed to Arsenal history here, Ian & all! 😉

  • Stuart

    Two articles in as many days regarding transfer targets is surely a first for Untold. What is even more unbelievable is the manner in which it has been assumed this is a done deal.

    I’d prefer to be cautious and wait to see if his name appears here http://www.arsenal.com/first-team/players before celebrating it.

  • Adam

    A. Stewart, No I actually mean “Wenger working his Magic” Hogwarts has nothing on our French Magician.

    Seriously, Higuain is a bit of a natural drifter, that suits the way we play and will compliment Theo & Poldi.

    My opinion.

  • americangooner

    judging from what has transpired in europe, we are inching ever close to getting higuain. carlo has signed for Madrid, Blanc for PSG, Juve have seemed to turn their attention towards tevez according to journos, player is keen, his dad is keen & Real Mad prez Perez is also keen. the signs are pointing in the right direction for arsenal & Higuain.

    Even if the higuain saga ends another one is waiting to be brewed. the anticipation will be even higher for the second signing and possibly even third, fourth. with names floating around, the impatience gets stronger.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    Sky Sports Breaking News: Juventus have agreed a fee with Man City for Tevez.

    Surely that can only mean one thing…

    Hopefully anyway……

  • Stroller

    The really important thing is that we do actually sign at least one more top striker. This is not to replace Giroud but to augment us in this position. If you look at our main rivals they all have at least three specialist strikers which enables rotation if necessary according to form and fitness.

    When Giroud was out we had to make do with Podolski or Walcott, who whatever their other capabilities are not natural outright strikers.

    Higuain, if he does come, will suit fine.

  • AL

    Cant help but notice the mainstream media are already changing their tune to Arsenal have realised they couldn’t win anything without buying expensive world class players. This is being slowly drummed into the fans that more should come from Arsenal now that they have broken the £20m barrier, and should we not win anything next season it will be classed as failure. Another opportunity to keep the pressure on. Liverpool and other lesser teams broke that £20m barrier many years ago but we never heard the same being said about them, that they should start delivering. I welcome the signing of Higuain because he’s a very good player who I think will do weel at our club. I also think he’s a professional as other clubs with more money wanted him but he chose Arsenal.

    With regards to world class players that the media are so fixated on, what exactly is a world class player? A certain dutch traitor who was hailed as the best signing of the century last season came from Arsenal anyway, so we do have world class players, just that we don’t pay ridiculous amounts when we buy them like other clubs. Is Carrol world class because he cost “35m? If that is the case then W Ham clearly have more ambition than us as they signed a world class player. I disagree with the notion that the amount a player is sold for equates to their talent/value. Some clubs just have more dollars than sense.

  • Unbelievable belief

    Loving the good vibes from the posters today folks!
    It’s getting even better, Juventus have just bought Tevev, and if they are still in for yesterday’s bread, Jovetic (remember him anyone?) then it looks like we have a clear path to signing the Hig.
    Hope Dick Law and Wenger were waiting for Juve to pull out before we make the usual cut price offer, old habits die hard eh?
    Means a bit more money for the apparently other players the press say we need, personally I think the squad is fine once we get Hig, assuming there are no more injury disasters.
    The Spanish U-21 capt looks good, I won’t even try to spell his name.

  • Unbelievable belief

    Well those good vibes didn’t last
    http://www.afc4life.co.uk/2013/06/25/could-manchester-city-steal-higuain-from-arsenal/?
    Just hope they are too busy going for Rooney.

  • weedonald

    Calm down everyone…it isn’t a done deal or otherwise until we see one of the following:

    1)Arsenal.com announce his signing and a photo with him holding up an AFC shirt with his name on it appears on the site, alongaside a smiling Wenger, or

    2)City (or change the name as you will)drag out another 200,000,000,000 quid and pip us at the post or

    3)The player suddenly states in public that he isn’t really a fan of London winters and will choose a warmer climate, or

    4)Wenger and Gazidis state that Madrid weren’t willing to discuss a better price so we’re looking at a Ligue 2 unknown by the name of Fifi Le Pouff or something (just add any name you want),or

    5)Wenger says we have enough talent up front and he won’t change that balance this season, or something similar.

    I wrote these 5 possibilities in order of likelihood.
    For those who wonder about why Higuain didn’t get a full 90 minutes too often, try to remember a certain Benzema, who Mourinhoho seemed to prefer on occasion. IF he does become a gunner (and I personally believe he will) then imagine what he might do with more playing time, less selfishness from team-mates (Ronaldo and company were giant EGOS on stilts) and our superb manager(who imho easily surpasses Mourinho’s dubious character).
    My real concern is not how he’ll fit into AFC but how long he will survive in the EPL once Stoke, or other rugby teams start Shawcrossing him, the PGMOL ass-kissers in black allow anyone to chop him to pieces like Riley allowed the Nevilles to slice and dice Reyes, and so on. He is physically quite tough and big so he can hold his own but LaLiga is a far ¨nicer¨ place to play than the EPL.

  • Pad Gooner

    Ian its a great post! This is my opinion and it may not be correct: I don’t know whether we can consider the total minutes played and no of goals scored(contributed) which skews goal involvement from 120 to 82. On purely numerical front, it is looking wonderful but we should also consider the reasons why a prolific striker cannot play full 90 minutes in every match as match dynamics require striker to be substituted. So even though on an average he played only for 63 minutes, that’s all he can play out of 90 mins.

    FYI, I am not trying to undermine Higuain’s record, its really great, but what I have stated here is my take on the analysis.

  • Ive seen a few people have taken to calling Mr Gonzalo Higuain the HIG please stop this before it catches on its extremely cringeworthy.

  • Stuart

    Hear hear Alan, that’s my nickname 😉

  • bjtgooner

    @Alan & Stuart

    Fully agree, it is not how we want to address our potential new player.

  • Stuart

    How about ‘The Higster’ ???

  • WalterBroeckx

    No, no if we buy him we just should call him GUNzalo

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Gunzzy ? Gunzza ? Gonz-si ?

  • GotKu

    Gonzo? Sorry.. 😀