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.
On 5th July, Huddersfield announced yet another seemingly key signing, with Benin striker Steve Mounie signing from French outfit Montpellier:
— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) July 5, 2017
His signing sets yet another club record, with a fee of around £11.4m. I say yet another as Huddersfield have broken their transfer record four times in the past fortnight as they gear up for their maiden season in the Premier League, with £3.5m Laurent Depoitre, Mounie’s new strike partner, signing on the 23rd June, and the return of Aaron Mooy on a permanent deal on 30th June for around £8m, followed by the signing of Tom Ince for a reported £8.5m just yesterday, being recent signings.
Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)
So how good would Huddersfield’s record signing have been if he had played at this level last season in the Premier Legue? Well using WhoScored and our knowledge of the FPL bonus point system we can attempt to analyse him.
Appearances: 35 appearances (28 over 60 mins, 2 times sub on/off) = 72 points ((35×2) + 2)
Goals: 14 goals (4×14) = 56 points
Assists: 3 assists (3×3) = 9 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, ie when his goals and assists arrived to come to a rough calculation of how well he did.
For goals: this is best looked at by breaking down his contribution to games – where he was undisputed difference in the game, we will assign 3bps; where he was involved in changing the result but didn’t win the match, it’s 2bps; where he was on the scoresheet but it wasn’t a telling contribution, we will give the metrics and make an approximation
- Match winning: Mounie scored a brace in the 2-1 defeat of Bastia on 4th February. Two weeks later, he scored the winning goal in the 2-1 defeat of St Etienne (19th February). For the brace, we’d definitely be looking at 3bps – for the 2-1, as team mate (h)Ellyes Skhiri got an assist and was deemed man of the match in that game, it could be that he got the top award, meaning our man Mounie on 2bps. 5bps for winning goals.
- Result change: Mounie scored the opener in the eventual 3-1 loss to St Etienne on 21st August. He had an eventful time against Caen on 15th October in his side’s 3-2 victory, scoring to make it 2-1 but received two yellow cards and consequently was dismissed later in the game. He scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Bastia on 19th November. He scored the opener in the eventual 2-1 loss to Nice on 24th February. Against Guingamp on 4th March – assisted by former FPL favourite Sebastian Sessegnon! – he scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw. He also scored the opener in the eventual 3-2 defeat by Nanttes on 11th March. For his equalisers, all things being equal, he’d be in the mix for 2-3 bonus there; let’s call it 4bps. For scoring the openers (v St Etienne and v Nice) but eventually losing, let’s say he snuck a further 1bp from those games. In the game when he got a red, nil points. 5bps total again.
- Contributions: He added the third in the 3-1 victory over Marseille on 4th November. He scored the consolation for his side in the 2-1 defeat to Lille on 10th December, but was also booked in that game. In the 4-0 win over Bordeaux on 17th December, he scored the third goal, but also assisted the second. Against Nancy on 11th February, Mounie added the second in the 3-0 victory. He also scored their consolation against Lyon – making it 1-2 – in a game they would go on to lose 3-1. I think he’d only be in the mix for bonus when he scored and assisted v Bordeaux; in that one, a goal and assist for team mate Paul Lasne, named man of the match on Whoscored, would probably see him get 3bps, meaning Mounie would probably have had to make do with 2bps.
Total guessimated bonus for goals: 12 points
For assists: We’ve covered one of Mounie’s three assists already (v. Bordeaux). For the others, he assisted the opener – and the winning goal – in the surprise 3-0 victory for Montpellier over PSG on 3rd December. He also assisted the second goal in their 2-0 victory over Lorient – but received a yellow card – on 15th April. He wouldn’t qualify for bonus in either of those games.
Total guesstimated bonus: 12 points.
Disciplinary: 4 yellow cards = –4 points / 1 red card = -3 points / total reduction = -7 points.
Scores on the doors
142 points over 35 games. That’s pretty decent: equal with Kyle Walker just outside the top 30 overall, and for strikers in the top 10, 4 points behind Christian Benteke.
Let’s make a points per game (ppg) score and get him to a 38 game projected total: this works out at 4.06ppg (142/35) which gives us a projected score of 154 points over 38 games.
That would put him in the top 30 overall, two points behind Sadio Mane and ahead of the likes of Gini Wijnaldum and Tom Heaton. That works out at him being 7th amongst strikers, supplanting Tekkers and 7 behind Jamie Vardy. Not bad at all.
Evaluation and conclusion
Mounie is an intriguing one to analyse: from last season, it seems that he very rarely (in contrast to new team mate Tom Ince) scores winning goals. It’s worth noting that this season was his “breakthrough season” for Montpellier: the season before he was at Nimes in Ligue 2, scoring an OK 11 goals in 33 appearances. It strikes me that Huddersfield are – quite understandably – taking a risk by signing him for a record fee off the back of one good season.
Whoscored point out that his key attribute is headed attempts, and I noticed reviewing his games he seemed to get a few assists from defenders, as well as the more creative players in the Montpellier side like Lasne. It might well be that he becomes his new side’s main threat from set pieces, in the mould of fellow Benin international Rudy Gestede or, as mentioned above, Tekkers.
Before we look at those two, though, we do have one comparator that springs to mind as a man who moved from Montpellier to the Premier League, albeit in different circumstances: Olivier Giroud, who was Montpellier’s top scorer with 21 goals and 9 assists over 36 games in their Leicester-esque title win in 2011/12 before moving to Arsenal. Perhaps a similar sort of player to Mounie – albeit he joined a team at the top end of the table, rather than one that could feasibly be battling relegation – his first season in the Premier League, scoring 11 and assisting 4 for 121 points I think could, in spite of the difference in stature between clubs le donkey and Mounie joined, be an indication of how well Mounie could perform. That’d be in the top 60 overall, equal to new club mate Nacho Monreal, and in the top 20 strikers equal with Burnley’s Sam Vokes, who is perhaps another good comparator here (though we’ve analysed others below who have come to England in a similar fashion to Mounie). I don’t think that’d be too bad a season if he did that.
The second comparator is fellow Benin striker Rudy Gestede, whose aerial threat has seen him picked up by clubs such as Aston Villa and, last season, Middlesbrough in the Premier League. Like Mounie, Gestede came to England via the French league, signing from Cardiff via Metz (and a loan at Cannes) – both times, he only delivered modest returns. He has also played – and has a fair record – at Championship level. This season’s travails with Boro aside – only 5 games started and a solitary goal to show for it – and also forgetting about his 51 minutes for Cardiff in 2013/14, looking at his performances for Aston Villa in 2015/16 is a worthy exercise. Of course, that year Villa were absolutely woeful, but Gestede mustered 5 goals and 3 assists, giving him 78 points, in 1669 minutes on the field: Whoscored say this was 14 starts and 18 off the bench, or around 19 games total (1669/90, rounded up from 18.5) That’d give him a ppg of 4.11 (78/19), or a season’s projected total of 156 points had he played at that rate of return over 38 games. That’s only 2 off what we projected.
A final comparator has to be the man Gestede failed to replace at Villa, Tekkers. He signed for Villa after registering 19 goals for Genk in Belgium (perhaps similar to stature to Montpellier… maybe a smidge below) in 32 appearances in the 2011/12 season. Tekkers was a revelation at Villa, and went on to be their talisman in helping them stay in the Premier League for the years he was there prior to his sale to Liverpool; “lump it to the big man” was the main strategy for them for a long time. In that first season (2012/13) at Villa, Tekkers scored 19 goals and 4 assists, eliciting 166 points over 1881 minutes. It’s worth remembering that Villa back then were finishing about 15th or 16th, perhaps where Huddersfield’s manager David Wagner is targeting.
I don’t think it’s entirely likely that he will get 156 like Gestede could have, or 166 like Tekkers did: that seems too high a total – he’d be a shoo-in for many a team if he did end up with that. I think that around Vokes’ 121 return is the likeliest score I’d predict he’d get, should he start and play consistently – anything beyond that would constitute a major bonus.
A kind opening 6 games for Huddersfield that avoid the big guns (cpl NEW SOT whu LEI bur) could well see Mounie coming in for consideration as a bit of a punt for some managers, especially with new boy Ince, and Kachunga on the other wing, potentially combining with him, as well as the creative Mooy in the middle. I won’t be one of them, though.
His price tag will be between 6.0 and 6.5, based on last season’s promoted sides’ key assets. Looking at Burnley, for example, FPL towers priced Andre Gray at 6.5 and Sam Vokes at 6.0; for Boro, Alvaro Negredo was 6.5; Hull were a bit of an outlier, with Abel Hernandez garnering a 6.0. I’d probably say he’ll get the 6.5, as he was signed for more than – and played more than – new strike partner Depoitre last season.
Overall, with Mounie we’re firmly in “punt” territory. His style of play could well suit Huddersfield, and he could well be looking at around 120 points this season. He’s a third striker, and with third strikers a lot of the time it relies on us as FPL managers picking up on the bandwagons and removing the players who aren’t hot for those who are: Mounie to me seems a bandwagon player who would attract interest if he scores, but probably will be too much of a punt for many from the outset. If he can mimic Benteke, that would make him one of the stars of the season, but I can’t assert one way or the other whether that would happen. The lack of prior form apart from his breakout season means I can’t give him a positive rating overall, he’s really is a serious punt and Wagner will be hoping his record signing can deliver by replicating last season’s performances.
In conclusion, for me Mounie is one I’m totally on the fence about: he could evolve as a young man with potential, and with the decent early fixtures could be an OK punt if he hits the ground running. The mid point score reflects that as much as he could be a success, he could equally turn into another Rondon.
Overall rating: 2.5/ 5 – A 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.