World Football

Which of Romelu Lukaku, Loic Remy and Wilfried Bony Is Top Striker to Target?

HULL, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Everton at KC Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Matt CheethamCorrespondent IJune 6, 2014

Lost behind the allure of the impending World Cup is the usual hype and fascination with the transfer window.

Aside from Liverpool, Premier League clubs have performed relatively few transactions thus far, presumably waiting for a chaotic post-Brazil frenzy.

Finding that elusive free-scoring forward will be the task of many scouts this summer. Three of the Premier League's top sixin Arsenal, Tottenham and Evertonall have a vacancy in this department.

SWANSEA, WALES - FEBRUARY 08:  Swansea striker Wilfried Bony (r) celebrates with Chico Flores after scoring the third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Cardiff City at Liberty Stadium on February 8, 2014 in Swansea, Wa
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Of the many options, Romelu Lukaku, Wilfried Bony and Loic Remy are three potential good fits, each acclimatised to English football and already linked with various summer moves.

If this trio were to switch employers, here's a look at which would be best.

First of all, it's important to tally together their Premier League production from last season.

Lukaku vs. Remy vs. Bony PL 2013/14
LukakuRemyBony
Games29 (2)24 (2)27 (7)
Goals151416
Assists634
Goals + Assists per 90 mins0.740.730.73
Shots per 903.43.83.9
Shooting Accuracy63%49%44%
Chance Conversion21%22%18%
Chances Created per 901.11.30.9
Passing Accuracy66%81%74%
Aerial Duel Success38% of 23838% of 9243% of 240
Successful Dribbles per 901.41.20.9
Dispossessed per 901.91.52.3
Stats via Whoscored.com and Squawka.com

The first thing to note is just how impressive each return is.

All three strikers produced a season of high-class finishing, clearly boosting the campaigns of Everton, Swansea and Newcastle, respectively.

In Everton's case, Lukaku helped push a consistent top-seven side to the highest points tally of any club not finishing in the Premier League's top four. 

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Newcastle player Loic Remy scores the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and  Aston Villa at St James' Park on February 23, 2014 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Ph
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Newcastle and Swansea endured rather more testing seasons, brightened—and at times rescuedby the goals of their main striker.

In terms of quality, there's relatively little to differentiate between them. Each produced a similar goal return for the minutes they played, involved in a goal in three out of every four matches played.

Aside from the elite, relentless performers such as Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero, this puts them among the top strikers in the country.

Lukaku is the more accurate shooter, Remy is the marginally more clinical finisher and Bony was able to fire in a more regular supply of shots.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Wilfried Bony of Swansea City (L) shoots past Jack Colback of Sunderland as he scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Swansea City at Stadium of Light on May 11, 2014 in Sunde
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Stylistically, it's clear to see the subtleties in their play and the system they were asked to perform in. Judging by blocked shot percentages, Bony (16 percent) is the more instinctive, one-touch finisher. 

Lukaku (27 percent) and Remy (28 percent) are more likely to take a touch or run at a defender, also emphasised by their greater dribble success.

Bony's strength and control also offers the most in hold-up play. Lukaku was targeted a similar amount but posted a lower success rate, while Remy was rarely asked to compete in the air.

The Frenchman is far more slick linking up with others in the passing game, while also providing more chances for his team-mates.

Away from the numbers, Lukaku's blend of raw pace, power and intelligent movement can terrorise any Premier League defence.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring the second goal with Manager Roberto Martinez during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on April 6, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

So, what does this all equate to?

Were there much of a contrast, then it would be simple to categorise, but while there are differences in their game, each is adept at leading a line and firing in a substantial quota of goals.

All three strikers will produce a similar return if afforded similar opportunities next season. Therefore, the key aspect is value, a team's system and the player's age.

At 25 and 27, respectively, both Bony and Remy are the more finished products. Upon purchase, they have little potential to increase in value, which should be taken into account with price.

Bought and signed to a long-term deal, their value will gradually diminish as they approach 30.

At just 21, Lukaku still has considerable room to develop, making him a far more attractive buy. His value will continue soaring for the next few years, making it smart to sign him now, if at all possible.

If all three are available for similar fees, Lukaku is the clear choice to target. Despite the fact he will produce a similar return to Bony and Remy, his transfer represents far more sensible business.

Given how hard it is to obtain proven Premier League finishers, QPR, Chelsea and Swansea should think carefully before letting these proven forwards go.

 

Statistics via WhoScored.com and Squawka.

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