Newcastle United

Scouting Report: Is Mike Havenaar the Striker Newcastle United Need?

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17:  Mike Havenaar of Japan looks on after the Japan Training Session at the Confderations Cup 2013 at Centro de Capacitacao Fisica dos Bombeiros or Training Centre for Firebrigade and Military Police on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMay 27, 2014

Loic Remy is still undecided on extending his loan at Newcastle United into a permanent deal, per L'Equipe (h/t Sky Sports), so could a summer transfer-window replacement be Vitesse centre-forward Mike Havenaar?

To cover that hypothetical, here is a scouting report on the 27-year-old Japanese international.

 

Positives

Havenaar is a 6'6", 179-pound centre-forward who is in his element when crosses are flung into his zone.

His height advantage over the large majority of opposing centre-backs, his ranginess and his well-timed leaps allow him to score headers with regularity.  

Those skills were on show with headed goals against Twente and Roda: 

Source: Eredivisie.nl/Vitesse.nl.

Source: Eredivisie.nl/Vitesse.nl.

You can certainly envision Newcastle's robust utility player Moussa Sissoko outmuscling the opposing left-back and whipping in a cross for Havenaar to head home. 

Havenaar is an all-round attacking threat because he can also create. 

Against Heerenveen, he squared the ball for Vitesse left-forward Lucas Piazon, who scored:

Source: Eredivisie.nl/Vitesse.nl.

In a play against NAC BredaHavenaar nodded the ball in the direction of Piazon, who took Havenaar's lay-off, created space and finished:

Source: Eredivisie.nl/Vitesse.nl.

Havenaar accumulated 38 goalscoring opportunities in 34 Eredivisie games. 

 

Negatives

Havenaar is an Eredivisie-standard No. 9 and thus is far from special. 

There were 13 players in the Eredivisie who surpassed his 10-goal tally in league play. 

Despite being 6'6", Havenaar's headers won percentage (55.8) was inferior to that of NEC Nijmegen centre-forward Michael Higdon (57.2), who is five inches shorter:

Source: Eredivisie.nl.

Source: Eredivisie.nl.

In addition, Higdon is a superior player to Havenaar:

League OnlyMichael HigdonMike Havenaar
   
Goals1410
Shots Per Goal57.6
Assists75
Key Passes Per Game1.51.1
   

Higdon is a serviceable footballer, but he is not in the league of Feyenoord centre-forward Graziano Pelle, who scored 27 and 23 goals in his first two seasons for the club

This is the same Pelle who struggled mightily in Serie A, once scoring one goal from 24 shots in the 2011-12 season for Parma

One red flag with Havenaar is his poor competitive spirit, as he has inexplicably given up in several games. 

How much is Havenaar willing to compete? 

Upon hearing of Napoli's interest in signing him, Havenaar's reaction was one of a defeatist.

"Napoli won't be it I don't think," Havenaar said, per ANP (h/t Sky Sports). "I don't want to sit on the bench the whole season."

Havenaar could have put a positive spin on it, saying he would be an invaluable impact sub. 

If he does not believe in himself, how can he elevate himself to the next level? 

 

Bottom Line

Havenaar is 6'6", great in the air, comfortable with the ball at his feet and is a team player. 

Before Remy signed with Queens Park Rangers, he started 14.3 percent of Ligue 1 games he was involved in during his last season for Marseille.

He scored once from 17 shots, had fitness issues and looked down and out. 

Havenaar had a better season for Vitesse than Remy did for Marseille.

Look at Remy now: He was Newcastle's leading scorer in the Premier League with 14 goals. 

Havenaar can elect to exercise his Bosman right to a free transfer, so signing him would be in line with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's budget.

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com

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