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Mesut Ozil vs. Juan Mata: Breaking Down What the Two Sides Paid Per Key Stats

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Mesut Ozil (C) of Arsenal takes on Juan Mata (L) of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on February 12, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Matt CheethamCorrespondent IApril 30, 2014

Two of this season's most lucrative transfers saw Mesut Ozil join Arsenal and Juan Mata leave Chelsea for Manchester United.

Both players are considered elite talents and are best-suited to a No. 10 roleor at least used as their side's chief creative threatbut which club has seen better value for their money so far?

Using fees according to BBC Sport (£42.4 million for Ozil and £37.1 million for Mata), here's a statistical take on how that money has been spent.

With Mata joining halfway through the season, effectively having half as long at his club, his cost per stat is halved, effectively making it a pro-rata basis for the benefit of this piece.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 26:  Juan Mata of Manchester United celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Norwich City at Old Trafford on April 26, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Lau
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

First, here's a look at their statistical returns so far, only including Mata's season in a Manchester United shirt:

Attacking Stats
Mata (£37.1m)Ozil (£42.4m)
Goals55
Assists49
Direct Goal Involvement914
Chances Created3169
Successful Dribbles1142
WhoScored.com and Squawka.com

Both players have made impressive contributions, especially in creative terms.

They average over 2.6 chances created per 90 minutes, a ratio only three Premier League players can better this season (with 10 or more appearances).

Given how Mata's numbers can effectively be doubled in relation to Ozil's, it's already clear that both players have produced a similar return since moving.

So how does this all look financially? Here are those numbers converted to a cost-per-stat measure, with Mata's return halved:

Cost Per Key Stat
Mata £37.1m (1/2 for pro-rata)Ozil £42.4m
Goals£3.7 million£8.5 million
Assists£4.6 million£4.7 million
Goal Involvement£2.1 million£3 million
Chances Created£0.6 million£0.6 million
Successful Dribbles£1.7 million£1 million
WhoScored.com and Squawka.com

Mata's recent brace against Norwich takes his value per goal above Ozil, even without the pro-rata weighting, but this is the only area where the players substantially differ.

Every other category is close, separated by under £1 million.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28:  Mesut Oezil of Arsenal (11) celebrates with Olivier Giroud as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on April 28, 2014 in London, England.
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Mata shades the value of assists and direct goal involvement, but by numbers that could easily switch around by the end of the season.

Ozil has been the more persistent dribbler, often able to beat a man enabling him extra time to create a chance.

The most revealing stat is just how identical and prolific their creative returns have been, justifying their lavish price tags.

Both of these signings were seen as panic buys in some quarters: Ozil more than sweetened a torrid summer for Arsenal fans, while Mata arrived to soothe a dismal season for Manchester United.

Panic buys in price, perhaps, but not in quality.

While each fee seems excessive, there are few better creative players in European football—a trait that demands top dollar.

Each player is augmenting his side's creativity at a similarly consistent rate, thus proving his worth.

If they spent a little much in getting them, there's little doubt Manchester United and Arsenal have acquired key players with these purchases.

In terms of better value, Mata leads the way, marginally more central in goals and assists than Ozil. Both returns are similar, however, which will see this fluctuate over time.

 

Statistics via WhoScored.com and Squawka.

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