Morata vs Lukaku vs Lacazette - The season so far
The summer transfer window was highly entertaining and tedious in equal amounts, mostly because of all the rumours flying around each and every day, most of them not even remotely logical or close to happening.
For Chelsea, United and Arsenal it was a testing and crucial window as the three clubs were in the state of transition and were on the lookout for strikers who would improve their teams immediately. It was clear for each team that they wanted to have an upper hand in the title race as they weren't shy of breaking the bank to get their man.
It all started off with Arsenal signing up the 26-year-old French striker Alexander Lacazette. Lacazette, who had been performing well on the big stage for quite a while decided to finally get his big move and signed for Arsenal without any fuss involved for a record £50million.
Chelsea and Manchester United seemed to play a tug of war over Lukaku and Morata with both the strikers having signed for both the clubs at some point in time according to sources. United, however, convinced Lukaku to join them for a club record fee of £75million and weeks later Alvaro Morata joined Chelsea, again for a club record fee of £60million.
Fans of the three teams had a blast debating on who will end up being the best transfer. And with the season reaching the halfway point, this is a good point to judge the initial impact the strikers had on their respective teams.
Output by the numbers
Clubs spend a premium on strikers for one sole purpose- GOALS. Although the modern day striker is asked to do a lot more, they are eventually judged upon their goal scoring statistics. So let us see how the three strikers have fared in this department.
Lukaku: 15 goals in 28 appearances
Morata: 11 goals in 24 appearances
Lacazette: 8 goals in 17 appearances
Clearly, Lukaku has proved his worth by scoring 15 goals already this season and his early season form helped United solidify its 2nd position in the Premier League going into the Christmas schedule. Morata and Lacazette aren't far off either because both of them have been instrumental in the Premier League campaign for their respective clubs, although Lacazette could have performed a tad better in this aspect.
Going purely by the numbers, Lukaku wins this metric. No wonder United paid so much for bringing in a quality young Premier league proven forward. Morata and Lacazette are understandable taking their time to adapt to the nuances of a new league and only time will tell what their ceiling would look like.
Contribution to the team
As mentioned earlier, being a player in modern football requires you to achieve mastery in multiple facets of the game. With the advent of Total Football, many managers and teams are gradually adapting to new ways of beating your opponent through efficiency and versatility in every department.
That being said, having a striker who can score, create and defend at times when required is a valuable asset to any team in the present scenario. Let us see how our three strikers have fared in the following two departments: Creation and Defense
Morata and Lukaku are tied in this department with 18 chances created in the league while Lacazette stands at 17. All of them average above 1 chance created per game. Out of these chances created, Morata and Lukaku got 4 assists each and Lacazette 2.
These are decent numbers for players playing in a new team. For comparison, Icardi who is in the same age bracket as these three strikers created 16 chances in the league and has 1 assist.
Lukaku has been enjoying playing with players like Rashford and Ibrahimovic. Morata struck a magical partnership up top with Hazard. Lacazette is taking time to settle into the team but his link-up play is the best of the three players and with time, he will definitely end up with more assists. There is no clear winner here but if we had to pick one, it would be Morata on the virtue of creating more in lesser minutes than Lukaku.
Morata is a clear winner here as he beats the other two by the virtue of higher interceptions and blocks and a high number of defensive clearances. Lukaku and Lacazette don't seem to get involved much in the defensive side of things as of now.
Lukaku falls behind in this category because of the two errors he made in the Manchester derby that, unfortunately for him, led to goals. Though these statistics may not be relevant, they are just one more pointer to the amount of work rate that the players put to be a part of the team defending.
Also read: 5 clubs that could use Michy Batshuayi
It's a very interesting and exciting time for the fans of these three clubs as they are getting to witness three of the best strikers in the world about to enter the prime of their careers. All the three of them offer something new in terms of link-up play, intelligent positioning or the sheer amount of force going forward.
Lukaku won many points for his team by creating an exciting partnership with Paul Pogba, especially early on in the season when they were steamrolling the opponents with 4 goal wins and Champions League exploits. But he hasn't yet scored against the top 6 opposition and this lead to the critics and fans question the amount of money that was spent bringing him into the squad.
Lacazette has been used only in intervals by Arsene Wenger as he waits to find out a perfect long-term solution for his new French striker. His initial displays hold a huge promise as he looks like a perfect fit for the Arsenal style of play.
Morata has quickly settled into his new club and his chemistry with the likes of Hazard and fellow Spaniard Azpilicueta has been a joy to watch. His goals against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United shows that he can be a game changer when things get tight. However, his physicality or the lack of it combined with his indecisiveness led to multiple wasted opportunities to increase his goal tally.
On the surface, there is no clear-cut winner but Morata and Lukaku look like the better buys of the summer transfer window, although Lacazette isn't far behind. As the business end of the season approaches, it will act as a true test of character for these players and it is only fair that we give a judgement at the end of the season as to who is the best striker among the three.