Prospecting the Prospects: Cenk Tosun

This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game as the transfer window newcomers arrive. This series analyses a selection of these newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using the season’s stats so far (wherever they played) as if they had been in FPL, then providing our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the coming period.

On 5th January, Everton announced the capture of 26-year-old Turkish striker Cenk Tosun:

The former Besiktas striker joins for a fee reported to be £27m.

Tosun only really emerged last season for Besiktas and can be regarded as something of a late bloomer by the standards of today’s insta-success culture.

He started his career in Germany (the country of his birth) at Eintracht Frankfurt, before moving to Turkey with Gaziantepspor having only mustered a single appearance for the Bundesliga outfit. He fired 39 goals in 109 appearances for The Falcons before signing for Besiktas in 2014 for just 500,000 euro. Reports indicate that in the first two seasons as a Besiktas player he played second fiddle to Demba Ba and Mario Gomez before finally emerging in the 2016/17 season, when he scored 20 goals and nabbed 5 assists in 29 appearances in his first season as first choice striker.

But how good would the Tosun be if in FPL this season? Let’s use WhoScored data to find out.

Prospecting the prospect (using the data for the season so far)

Appearances: 16 appearances (12 over 60 mins, 4 times sub on/off) = 28 points ((12×2) + 4)

Goals: 8 goals (4×8) = 32 points

Assists: 1 assist (1×3) = 3 points

Bonus: To give an estimation of the bonus points he would have got, we need to review the games that he was instrumental in through examining when his goals and assists arrived to come to a rough calculation of how well he did.

(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 undertake this analysis. Plus it’ll only be an extra one or two points either way, which won’t change the story.)

For goals, this is best looked at by breaking down his contribution to games into winning goals, where he was involved in changing the result but didn’t win the match, and contributions (e.g. scoring the 3rd in a 3-0). We’ll look at each game on merit where he was on the scoresheet and make an educated guesstimate on what may have been awarded using match data combined with our experience with the FPL bonus system.

Match winning: Tosun scored the opener v Konyaspor on 18th September in Besiktas’ 2-0 victory. However, he was subbed after 69 minutes and by all accounts the defence and Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaeresma looked to have had a stellar match. Let’s say 2 bonus for Tosun here. He also scored the opener – technically the winner – as his side beat Istanbul rivals Galatasaray 3-0 on 2nd December. However, he was yellow carded in the match, which would probably have put him down to 1 bonus (if any), plus defender Dusko Tosic scoring a goal and keeping the clean sheet would have elicited all 3, while a few other players look like they also had a decent game.

Result change: Tosun scored the opening goal in the 2-1 victory over Alanyaspor on 20th October. Again, it looks like Quaresma had an absolute blinder, so maybe it’s 2 bonus for Tosun here. He also scored – from the penalty spot – to equalise with Kayserispor in the 1-1 on 10th December. 2 bonus again.

Contributions: The striker scored the second from the penalty spot versus Antalyaspor on 13th August as the Turkish champs won 2-0. He also netted the consolation from the penalty spot as his side went down to a surprise 2-1 defeat against Genclerbirligi on 13th October. He netted the third in the 3-1 win over Goztepe on 5th November. He also scored the 5th goal – despite only being on the pitch for 8 minutes – in the 5-1 victory against Osmanlispor on 17th December. Let’s say he’d have snuck 4 bonus over the course of all those goals.

Assist: Tosun assisted Liverpool legend Ryan Babel’s opener versus Kasimpasa on 16th August, however he didn’t contribute too much in that match so he probably wouldn’t have gotten bonus when it ended 2-2.

  Total guessimated for goals:  9 points

Disciplinary: 2 yellow cards (-2 points)

Scores on the doors

70 points over 16 games thus far, which puts him in the top 50 players in FPL – for context, that’s level with Ben Mee and Sadio Mane.

Let’s adjust this to account for the fact that 22 games have been played in the Premier League so far v Tosun’s 16 appearances. Of course this is highly unscientific, but if we reduce his 70 points from 16 games into a points per game (ppg) score, it works out at 4.4 ppg (70/16).

Over the course of 16 games, that therefore gives us a score of 96 points over 22 games (4.4×22).

That’s top 20 overall as per player scores before gw23, one point below Jamie Vardy and 3 below Romelu Lukaku.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if we looked at his minutes played, which was 1153 mins, that this translates into just 12 games.


Worth tosun him a spot on your team?

What stood out when reviewing Tosun’s data – and something that we really like in FPL when choosing our strikers – is the sheer number of shots he takes. Adept with both feet, whoscored data says Tosun has taken 51 shots across his 16 games this year, with 31 pen box shots. If we divide that number of shots by the 12 games’ worth of 90 minutes he was on the field (i.e. 1153 mins as above), that’s just over 4 shots/90 mins.

Last season, Tosun also took lots of shots – 93 shots, to be precise, in 33 appearances in the league. 67 pen box shots were taken. He was actually on the field for 2538 minutes last season, which works out as a little over 28 games. That works out at just over 3 shots per game, which is a pretty encouraging ratio.

Let’s compare this to man he is ultimately replacing at Everton: Romelu Lukaku, who he also coincidentally is close to in our simulated data above. Last season, Lukaku managed 110 shots in 3267 minutes on the field – which translates into just over 36 games of 90 minutes on the pitch – so a shot ratio of a similar just over 3 shots / 90mins! 72% of his shots were in the box (80/110)… spookily, the same % as Tosun (67/93 = 72%)!

(all data for Romelu Lukaku c/o

All of that looks quite encouraging, then, for his prospects at Everton: could he fill the big gap (literally and metaphorically) left behind by Big Rom at Goodison? The stats bode well.

Tosun’s also a penalty taker: 6 of his goals in 2016/17 came from the spot, as have 3 (documented above) so far this season. At Everton, whether he can wrest this responsibility off of Baines and maybe Rooney remains to be seen.

In terms of the fixtures, Everton’s next 4 read OK – tot WBA LEI ars.

But, in the long term, the fixtures look very nice indeed as the Toffees play only Man City and Liverpool of last season’s top 6 in the final 11 matches:

Could it be that Tosun becomes very popular then – perhaps around GW34, given that lovely run in?

The other big thing that could be a factor is the price tag.

UPDATE 08/01: Tosun has been priced at 7.5:

This is really encouraging – he could fill a precious spot on our roster at that price tag, with it currently being a comparative wasteland filled with the likes of Rashford, Rooney, Defoe, and Tekkers, all of whom are out of the meta for various reasons. Having a striker at the 7.5 mark that’s fit and firing could be useful in terms of team structure diversity in FPL. He could be employed perhaps as a strong 3rd striker in a top-heavy 3-4-3, or offer a 2nd striker option in a midfield-heavy 3-5-2.

Either way, if Tosun brings his all guns blazing, shot-heavy style of play to the Premier League, it could be that he becomes very popular, very quickly, amongst FPL managers.

Overall rating: 4 / 5 – A good prospect for FPL (Nick says 3.5)

*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. All of our players come from different leagues so it’s not a sideways move – predicting how well a player will do is an inexact science! However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do in FPL.