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Villarreal eye La Liga transfer to finally fix Gerard Moreno problem

Villarreal Cf V Rcd Mallorca - La Liga Santander Photo By Ivan Terron/Europa Press via Getty Images

Turkish reporter Ekrem Konur has linked Villarreal to the pursuit of Vedat Muriqi. The Kosovan forward is on an absolute tear right now with eight goals and one assist so far in La Liga, including goals in each of his last five matches. The 194cm forward also scored five goals after a January loan to Mallorca last season.

I am not particularly familiar with Konur’s work so I have no idea how reliable this is, I’m just going to take a look at the forward himself.

The first thing you look for, statistically, when you see a forward scoring a lot in a new league is whether he is vastly outperforming his xG. He might do that for a season, but it is very rare for any but the most exceptional finishers to do it year upon year (otherwise xG wouldn’t work, but that’s another discussion). What’s great, when you look at Muriqi’s numbers, is that he’s actually performed almost exactly level with his xG since coming to La Liga and that indicates his production is more likely to be repeatable at a new club.

The next thing I like to look at is how he gets his xG. Does he get it by a high volume or shots or by getting a smaller number of very good shots. Very often, a forward with good xG numbers at a club like Mallorca doesn’t shoot very often because his team doesn’t generate many shots, but he gets good shots close to the goal and that makes up for the difference. When bigger clubs has one forward that does all their scoring, it’s usually because their whole host of created players is focused on getting him the ball to shoot, so he takes a large volume of shots with relatively low xG each.

Muriqi does not present any concerns here, either. He gets about 0.11 xG per shot, which is right in line with what Villarreal as a team does, suggesting he is currently getting similar quality shots to what he would get here, but he finishes them at a bigger better rate since Villarreal as a whole underperform their xG and he does not.

All in all, I don’t think Muriqi is an outstanding player. I think he’s a solid starting quality 9 who has the size to provide a different profile to anything we currently have on the roster. Mallorca just paid 7m for him this past summer, and he’s their most reliable goalscorer. The question you would need to ask yourselves is whether you think it’s worth paying them 15m+ for a striker of this level, and in my opinion that’s not a particularly easy question to answer.