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Villarreal appear to be buying a striker

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Unai Emery brings a new Dia to the striker rotation.

Stade Reims v Olympique de Marseille - Ligue 1 Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

In a move that’s very surprising, to me at least, reports seem to indicate that Stade Reims striker Boulaye Dia is moving to Villarreal. The rumored fee is about 15m, which seems like a lot of money for a striker with his track record.

Dia started out last season on an absolute tear, scoring eight goals in the league in his first eleven appearances. Things slowed down for him after that though, as he ended up with 14 goals in 36 appearances, five of them from the penalty spot. Realistically, he’s not going to take penalties for us next year, so that would put him at 9 non penalty goals on about 9 non penalty xG and only one assist.

He completes about 60% of his dribble attempts and attempts about 2.4 per 90, which is pretty good, but in the film I saw most of those attempts were him knocking it past his defender and chasing it down. Not that that’s a bad thing at all, but just don’t expect to be getting a guy who consistently sizes people up and goes by them on the dribble the way Samu Chukwueze does. Dia wants to use his first or second touch to hit it out ahead and go get it.

In Ligue One at least, he was more than fast enough to get away with this. I’ll be curious to see how it translates against better quality defenders in La Liga. To sum up, I think he definitely offers a different profile of forward than we had last year, but I’m not entirely sure he’s going to be a difference maker on a Champions League team. He’ll be 25 right around the time the season starts, and he kind of is what he is at this point I think. He had more goals last season than he did the two previous years combined, and I can’t help but feel like we’re paying a premium for one good year.