Everton Stats: Scouting Rumoured Toffees Transfer Target Antolin Alcaraz

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2013

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:  Antolin Alcaraz of Wigan Athletic during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Wigan Athletic at St Mary's Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Antolin Alcaraz is yet another one of Roberto Martinez's former charges who appears on the cusp of a move to Everton.

The Paraguayan international has been persistently linked with the Toffees since the end of the season and, with the transfer window now fully operational, those rumours are heating up; Jack De Menezes of The Independent is among those reporting a deal is imminent.

On paper, Alcaraz is not a name likely to enthuse the vast majority of Evertonains, but how does he match up statistically with the Toffees' centre-backs of last season?



Injury saw him start just eight games last year, so Alcaraz's numbers are a combination of his past two Premier League campaigns, compared to the 2012-13 returns of Everton's current centre-backs.

Alcaraz's average of conceding 1.4 goals for every 90 minutes played is actually fairly decent given the circumstances. Over the past two seasons Wigan have averaged 1.8 goals against them per game, meaning Alcaraz's presence has made them a slightly more resilient unit at the back.

Of Everton's defenders, stylistically he's most similar to Johnny Heitinga. When battling for possession in open play he doesn't appear to possess the physicality of either Phil Jagielka or Sylvain Distin, which is a key trait for Premier League defenders.

This is reflected by both his ground and aerial duel success-rate being below 60 percent, as with Heitinga, which is far from ideal for his position. Everton struggled against physical strikers last season and these particular results suggest Alcaraz isn't likely to step in and improve that particular weakness.

One of his main strengths is winning the ball back one-on-one in the tackle, as is revealed by his tackle and possession numbers. The fact his Wigan side were battling relegation and therefore often defending for their lives is certainly a factor here, but his overall success-rate portrays his skill in this department. Distin is the only Everton player to fare marginally better.

To make up for his lack of physicality he reads the game very well, as his impressive haul of interceptions clearly show. Again, Wigan's plight comes into play, but amassing 106 interceptions in 33 starts is a very respectable return. Only four Premier League players managed triple figures in the interception charts this past season, highlighting his obvious proficiency here.

Coming from a Roberto Martinez team, his passing isn't as slick as some may expect. It's quite average among Everton defenders and is actually below average in terms of Premier League centre-backs. He's used to being more involved in play, but that's more to do with Wigan maintaining possession along the back line more often than Everton.

Elsewhere, he doesn't seem prone to the same individual lapses several Wigan defenders have been renowned for.



Overall, there isn't a lot in these numbers to suggest acquiring Alcaraz is an obvious must for Everton, although the fact he would arrive on a free makes it appear a little more logical.

The Toffees boast a defence ranked among the top four over the past two seasons, so improving them is a tough ask. As it stands, it appears his role would be quite reduced.

At 30, he would join an ageing defensive core, with Distin 35, Jagielka 30 and Heitinga 29 years of age, which would perhaps make it wiser for Everton to target a younger product to develop through, or possibly even promote Shane Duffy from the Under-21s.

Potentially the signing of Alcaraz could be to help integrate a move to Martinez's favoured back three, although one would think the calibre of Everton's defenders wouldn't take too much time to adjust.

This acquisition begins to make a little more sense if the notion of Heitinga leaving Everton is considered, as is certainly plausible. After a rather poor year, Sky Sports claim the Dutchman has once again indicated he favours a move away from the club, as he's done for much of his time at Goodison Park.

The fact Heitinga is presumably on lofty wages means moving him on and replacing him with a free transfer in Alcaraz, who is unlikely to command similar pay, suddenly seems understandable and makes obvious financial sense.

The Paraguayan replaces Heitinga's skill set quite well and would add depth to the squad serving as an experienced deputy to both Distin and Jagielka. However, should he indeed join, he isn't an option Everton should envisage starting too many matches next season, if they hope to replicate their consistent production at the back.


Statistics via EPL Index and WhoScored