Romelu Lukaku v Diego Costa: What stats say about Chelsea transfer target

Quick Reads

Romelu Lukaku is reportedly on the verge of re-joining Chelsea from fellow Premier League side Everton – with Diego Costa appearing set to exit Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Conte seems intent on strengthening all areas of his squad with the striking position one his main concerns ahead of next season.

Widespread reports suggest his number one target is Toffees striker Lukaku with the deal understood to be “all but done”, according to the Daily Mirror.

With Lukaku possibly returning, it is even more likely that Costa will be on his way out having been told he is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

So what could £70million-rated Lukaku bring to Chelsea that Diego Costa couldn’t, and will he be worth the money if he does sign? We analysed the two players’ stats from the 2016-17 Premier League campaign.

Goals and Assists

Lukaku contributed an impressive 25 goals and six assists for Everton in the Premier League this season, while Costa managed 20 goals and seven assists in a title-winning side.

The Belgium international (3267) did play more minutes than the Brazilian-born Spanish international (3090), however Lukaku’s record of a goal or assist every 105 minutes still betters Costa’s one every 114 minutes.

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Passing and Attacking

In most instances it is probably best to judge strikers on their goals rather than other facets of their game. However, even if their assist column is looking a little bare, they may still be creating chances for team-mates, it’s not their fault if these opportunities go to waste.

Despite having one more assist than Lukaku, Costa (1.2) is slightly behind in chances created per match with Lukaku pipping him with 1.3.

Costa (3.2), however, takes more shots per game than Lukaku (3), and he is a more prolific dribbler too. Lukaku only attempts 2.6 dribbles per game with Costa taking on his opponents 3.8 times a match on average. The success of their dribbles is telling, though, with Lukaku (1.7) managing to beat his opponent more times than Costa (1.6) despite attempting it less times.

Costa, as you may expect from a Spanish player, has a good pass success percentage of 75.2% with Lukaku lagging behind on 65.5%.

This is even more impressive when you take into account that Costa (29.5) attempts more passes per 90 minutes than Lukaku (26.1)  – with the former Atletico Madrid star also trying a higher amount of through balls and long balls.

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Defensive Contributions

Costa has a reputation as a pantomime villain so it will come as no surprise that he is involved in more tackles than the 24-year-old.

Lukaku, as you may expect, has a very low 0.2 tackles per game to his name – owing to his positioning on the pitch – whereas Costa has 0.5, with the 28-year-old liking to drop deeper at times and always keen to get in the face of opposition defenders.

That has led to Costa conceding 1.2 fouls per game, a little higher than Lukaku (0.9), while Costa takes the ‘award’ for the most yellow cards with 10, seven more than Lukaku.

Costa’s style also allows him to make more interceptions and clearances than Lukaku, who prefers to stay close to the shoulder of the last defender.

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