This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game next season– our directory for these (over 20!) is here. This series analyses a selection of significant newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using last season’s stats (wherever they played) in FPL, then provide our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the new season.
OK, so it’s looking like Davinson Sanchez has signed for Spurs, with the man putting pen to paper on a 6-year-contract for a reported club record fee of £42m.
We’re publishing as this looks pretty final:
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 18, 2017
Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)
Appearances: 32 appearances (30x played over 60 minutes, 2x subbed on/off) = 66 (32×2 +2)
Goals: 6 goals (6 x 6) = 36 points
Assists: 2 assists (3 x 2) = 6 points
Not conceding: 12 clean sheets (4 x 12) = 48 points
Bonus: Let’s analyse the games he contributed in. This (of course) covers goals, assists and clean sheets for defenders.
(Occasional random bonus points (bps) are sometimes awarded in FPL where a player has bossed it but not actually got on the score card. We’re not estimating these as we’re using pure data rather than contextual data (e.g. watching the games he played in) to make perform this analysis. Plus it’ll only be an extra one or two points either way, which won’t change the story.)
For goals: His haul of 6 was impressive for a centre back; 5 of his goals were as a result of corners. On 14th September, his first goal for Ajax was swiftly followed by a second as he scored a brace of headers in the 5-1 demolition of Zwolle – since he made it 1-1 and ultimately 2-1, his second goal would be counted as the “winning goal” by the bps system; either way, he’d definitely have secured 3bps for that game. He also headed in the opener – and the winner – in the 2-0 victory over Groningen on 4th December for a further 3bps. Against Heracles on 26th February he scored the third – an impressive strike from long range! – in the 4-1 victory, but would not have received bonus given the spread of good performances elsewhere. On 5th April, Sanchez mimicked his Chilean namesake with a nice bicycle kick in the 4-1 victory – his goal was the second and therefore the winner, and though he deserves full bonus for that finish I suspect he’d have gotten 2bps due to other performances and the lack of a clean sheet. Finally, against Willem II, Sanchez put his side 2-0 up with a header in the 3-1 win on 14th May, with his goal being deemed the winner maybe enough for 2bps, given that young Justin Kluivert registered a pair of assists in a virtuoso performance. 10bps for goals, then.
For assists: Sanchez assisted Bertrand Traore adding a fourth in the 5-0 win over NEC on 20th November, which may, with clean sheet attached, have given him 1bp. He also assisted the equalised for Nick Viergiver on 16th April, however with him conceding a goal and other 4 goals for Ajax that followed as they ran out 5-1 winners he probably wouldn’t have accrued any bonus. 1bp for assists.
For clean sheets: We’ve awarded bonus already for 2 of the 12 clean sheets Sanchez was on the field for (assist in 5-0 v NEC; goal in 2-0 v Groningen). For the other clean sheets, as we did with Lewis Dunk, I’ve had a look through each of these games and analysed his performance via looking at Squawka’s match reports to suggest the bps he might have been looking at for these matches:
Total guesstimated bonus: 21 points
Disciplinary: 2 yellow cards = -2 points / 0 red cards
Conceding 2 goals or more: 3 times = – 3 points
Scores on the doors
171 points. 6 less than Marcos Alonso and 7 less than Gary Cahill – it was just 32 games, but it’s actually not that surprising if we use this method alone given the fact Sanchez registered more winning goals, which would have earnt him the bonus. I’m not sure he’d be able to replicate that kind of performance, but given Spurs’ solidity at the back could something around 150 be possible? If he’s a starter, it’s promising.
Evaluation and conclusion
My initial thoughts are that three things stick out here:
- Promising goal threat for a defender, but;
- It’s in the Eredivisie, and;
- Will he start?
Ajax finished 2nd last season to Dirk Kuyt’s Feyenoord, but their title-challenging campaign – akin to Spurs, whose 16 clean sheets saw them also finish runners-up – saw the defenders register 14 clean sheets. He missed two, but as the key centre-back, Sanchez was the beneficiary of a fair few bonus when they did win and keep a clean sheet, as well as having the knack for scoring winning goals. In comparison to his usual partner at centre-back Nick Viergiver, Sanchez made more clearances (5.2/game v 3.5/game), tackles (1.5 v 1.0) and interceptions (1.9 v 1.0), as well as managing a decent pass success rate of 89%. This immediately suggests he’s a bonus magnet from the off, as those things count heavily in favour of defenders’ BPS ratings.
Davinson is a real threat at corners, and managed 27 attempts over 32 appearances according to Squawka, with an accuracy of 44%. The leap on this guy is terrific. However, this is lower than the first man this puts me in mind of, Gary Cahill, who managed 1.5spg and matched Sanchez’s 6 goals. With 168 points last season and plenty of threat, the new Captain, Leader, Legend of Chelsea (who led by example through being red carded in Chelsea’s shock GW1 home loss to Burnley) also secured 17 clean sheets and 15 bonus points. This performance in terms of goals scored seems a bit anomalous, it’s worth noting, with his 3 goals in his inaugural season at Chelsea in 11/12 the closest he’s come. As mentioned, the key difference in our calculations between Sanchez and Cahill is the extra bonus that would be awarded in our simulation to Sanchez due to the winning goals he scored. The variance that could be occurring in Sanchez’s scores would even out if, like Cahill this year, his goals came as contributions (e.g. making it 3-0) rather than the winners. Provided Sanchez is brought in as a starter in the back three for Spurs – a big caveat we’ll discuss later – something around Cahill’s output could be viable.
Nearer to Sanchez’s shots per game, and matching his 6 goals, is phantom goal machine Gareth McAuley, whose 6 goals and 1 assist underlined WBA’s lethality when it comes to set pieces. With 131 points last season, 7 clean sheets and a solid 14 bonus for a 5.0 defender (only 1 less than Cahill), the Northern-Irishman was the man to have especially during the initial two-thirds of the season from the Baggies’ backline. Like Cahill, last year’s performance appears a slight outlier: he’s averaged 104 over the last 6 seasons, with his 3 goals, 3 assists and 8 clean sheets in 2012/13 eliciting 113 points the closest he’s ever gotten to last season’s level of output. If Sanchez does play for Spurs, he’ll get a few more clean sheets than WBA did last term it may be fair to say, meaning around 150 with 3 more clean sheets (I’d expect a minimum of 10 from Spurs) giving him that on top of McAuley’s score.
Finally, a man whose journey has (give or take a year on the Solent) mimicked Sanchez’s journey to the Premier League is one of his two probable defensive defensive partners Toby Alderweireld. On OK 88 points at Southampton in 14/15 was near doubled the season before last, as Spurs challenged Leicester for a long time before their implosion. Toby’s 166 points that year (the total of 4 goals, 3 assists, 13 clean sheets and 16 bonus) made him the man to own when priced at an unbelievable 5.0 at the beginning of the season as a result of him being registered at Southampton to begin with. His effective partnership with Jan Vertonghen, give or take the inclusion of Eric Dier alongside them, has been key to Spurs’ continued solidity at the back. A 120 point output last year, with just a single goal, was a bit below expectations though an injury did cap his minutes. The mid way between those two seasons – ~140 points – could be kind of what we’d expect from a Spurs player starting regularly.
But will he start? Who fits in where? Eric Dier may move to midfield, seeing Sanchez slip in to the back 3 – let’s see how that develops, but there is cause of caution as it could be that he is eased in gently. I’d be thinking his arrival spells the end of Kevin Wimmer’s stay at Spurs, but replacing him on paper is not something that screams “prospect”. Toby + Jan, plus Dier in and around them, are surely the core of the Spurs defensive unit – whether the record signing Sanchez becomes a starter remains be seen, but Nick is fairly convinced that he will.
In the long term, it may be different, with the young Sanchez perhaps one who may emerge, once his initial adaptation period is over, as a real option. Maybe he’ll be in our squads from the beginning next season, he’s one who might give us cause for pause.
[Price to be included here]
So much hinges on if he starts; he could could potentially pop 150 points plus if he’s nailed on in the side. It’s a monitor for us but he could be a great, goalscoring option with the clearances, blocks and interceptions numbers to suggest he may get bonus. There’s clear potential for him to be a force in FPL in the future. A hard one to rate immediately, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt to reflect how good the new man could be in that Spurs backline.
Overall rating: 3 / 5 – An above average prospect for FPL
*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent
Caveat: we thoroughly accept this system of evaluating players isn’t flawless. However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do.