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.
Chelsea today announced the signing of Antonio Rudiger from AS Roma on a deal worth £33.4 million. This followed news of Nathan Ake moving on from Chelsea and to Bournemouth for £20 million. A very astute signing by Conte, the 24 year old German defender has national team pedigree having already won 16 caps for the German national team and played a key role in their successful Confederations Cup campaign.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 9, 2017
As with previous articles we will be using Whoscored data to analyse his impact for AS Roma in order to assess how good he will be in the Premiership.
Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)
Appearances: 25 appearances (22x played over 60 minutes, 2x subbed on/off, 1 red card prior to 60 minutes) = 47 points (22 x 2 + 3)
Goals: 0 goals = 0 points
Assists: 2 assists (3 x 2) = 6 points
Not conceding: 9 clean sheets (4 x 9) = 36 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.)
Rudiger didn’t score a single goal last season in Serie A so we can ignore this element
For assists: He got the assist in Roma’s 1-0 win against Cagliari on 22nd January, so he would have been likely to pick up at least 2bps for that game.
He also got an assist in their 2-0 win against Empoli on 1st April, where Edin Dzeko scored a brace. Let’s say he picked up 2bps in this game too
For clean sheets: As well as the 2 games referred to above, Rudiger was on the pitch for 7 other games where Roma kept clean sheets. He was yellow carded in 3 of these and subbed on the 68th minute in another one, so let’s say for the other 3 he managed to receive another 3bps
Total guesstimated bonus: 7 bps
Disciplinary: 7 yellow cards = -7 points / 1 red card = -3 points
Conceding 2 goals or more: 3 times = – 3 points
Scores on the doors
83 points. He did only play 25 times however, so at 3.32 ppg, if we say he played 38 games, that would be approximately 126 points (38×3.32) scored in total. That would rank him as the 12th highest defender, level with Jan Vertonghen, top 60 overall.
Evaluation and conclusion
Discipline is clearly an issue with Rudiger. Whilst Whoscored rate him high on concentration they note that his style of play is that he commits fouls often. For his red card he committed a very dangerous foul and it should be noted that he also got sent off this season in the Europa League. There also appears to be limited attacking threat that he offers having not scored a goal all season.
He is clearly a high adept and talented central defender, but with more attacking options in the Chelsea defence such as Marcos Alonso on offer, he would have to be priced cheaper than other Chelsea central defenders to make him worth investing in. However, we are predicting a 6.0 valuation for Rudiger, which is what David Luiz was valued at when he signed for Chelsea last summer (and that was after a very poor season for Chelsea the previous year). On his return to the Premier League (his first time is perhaps too apocryphal to mention here), Luiz’s 132 points saw him hit the top 50 players (equal with Michail Antonio), with registering a solitary goal and assist.
The no-scoring style of play also makes us think of both United’s new defender Victor Lindelof (reviewed here), whose ~175 points in FPL would’ve seen him 3rd for defenders in FPL, and, more pertinently, his new defensive partner Eric Bailly. With zilch attacking contribution for Villareal in his final season in La Liga – with Villareal finishing 4th – he appears a strong comparator for Rudiger. This zero attack threat was repeated in 16/17 for Bailly, who ended up – with injuries – on 105 points, squeaking into the top 30 defenders (behind the likes of Bournemouth’s Steve Cook). He missed a few games (11 between Gameweeks 9 to 23) with injury. So his PPG for the 27 games he was available for works out at 3.88. That’d give him 147 points if he’d played all 38 (he did play a lot toward the end after his red card in the Europa League) which would make him 4th for defenders (ahead of Kyle Walker). That, alongside David Luiz’s output, might be a good indication for where we might see Rudiger ending up – perhaps around the 140 mark.
There is also the issue of rotation (at least at first). Conte plays three central defenders, so there is definitely a position available for Rudiger to make his own, but if Cahill, Azpilicueta and Luiz begin the season in the same manner they played all of last season, it will be challenging for Rudiger to make his presence known. It should be noted that he did play 11 games a right back last season so there is the potential for versatility there, but centre back is his preferred position. With Kurt Zouma reportedly available for loan, Rudiger could be the man who challenges, or rotates into, that back three. Whoscored also refer to his weakness in crossing and his lack of attacking thereat however means that Conte would be unlikely to play him in the wing back and instead will include him as one of his three central defenders.
It is worth mentioning as well, there will be a shift in pace as he moves from Serie A (which is famed for its slower game) to the Premier League. Many imports from Serie A have struggled to make an impact in the Premiership,so many that four four two wrote a piece on it, a couple of seasons back. Michael Cox also wrote a piece for ESPNFC highlighting Serie’s A struggle to produce exportable players with Matija Nastasic another recent example of a central defender failing to make the grade in the Premiership. However, Rudiger’s national pedigree definitely is a plus point for him, he has been very important for Germany in the Confederations Cup and Joachim Low is clearly a fan, having picked him for the European Championships squad too. He started Germany’s 1-0 victory over Chile in the middle of a 3-at-the-back, and made important defensive contributions (to the ‘eye test’) which could augur well for him.
To conclude, lack of attacking threat and poor discipline are definitely two markers against him. However, by joining Chelsea, there is the high propensity for clean sheets. Therefore, he is likely to be a very decent option at the back and possibly a cheaper way into the Chelsea defence. With only clean sheets really on offer for Rudiger, however, the pricetag is most likely too high for FPL managers to consider him for their sides.
Overall rating: 2.5 / 5 – An 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.