Are Real Madrid Making Mistake Replacing Angel Di Maria with Toni Kroos?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 14, 2014

FIFA World Cup winner Toni Kroos will leave Bayern Munich for Real Madrid, per UOL (h/t Paulo Freitas at Sky Sports), so is Real president Florentino Perez making the right decision in replacing Paris Saint-Germain-bound Angel Di Maria with Kroos? 

To address that question, here is a scouting report on Kroos, a 24-year-old, 6'0", 172-pound German international. 

 

Kroos Positives

Orchestrating midfield proceedings, Kroos was masterly in distributing the ball during Germany's 1-0 win over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final. 

Kroos completed more passes (90) than the combined efforts of Javier Mascherano (55) and Lionel Messi (26) for Argentina (81).

It was the second big game in a row that Kroos rose to the occasion.

He was the architect in Germany's historic 7-1 semi-final win over Brazil with two goals and an assist.

German centre-forward Miroslav Klose, the most prolific scorer in World Cup history, praised Kroos for his pinpoint passes, per UEFA.com: "Toni puts the ball where it needs to go every time."

The major advantage Kroos has over Di Maria is ball retention. 

League OnlyAngel Di MariaToni Kroos
Passes Per Game39.975.5
Pass Completion %82.191.9
Completed Long Passes/Attempted Long Passes113/152248/294
Long Pass Completion %74.3 84.4 

Rather than just sitting in midfield and passing the ball sideways, Kroos possesses an expansive passing game.

He is able to unlock opposing defences from a variety of situations. 

Just outside the centre circle against Eintracht BraunschweigKroos hit an accurate deep ball to Bayern right-winger Arjen Robben.

Zipping past Hannover 96 right-winger Leonardo Bittencourt, Kroos set up then-Bayern (now Atletico Madrid) centre-forward Mario Mandzukic.

From a free-kick against Werder BremenKroos delivered an inswinging cross to Bayern centre-back Daniel van Buyten.

In addition to being a creative outlet, Kroos is a box-to-box scoring threat. 

This was on show with goals against ArsenalBayer LeverkusenHertha Berlin and Kaiserslautern.

 

Kroos Negatives

Di Maria provided energy, drive, speed and was a better central midfielder than €32 million-valued Asier Illarramendi.

With the trickery of a take-on specialist and the determination of a midfield destroyer, Di Maria provided a unique edge to Real manager Carlo Ancelotti's midfield. 

Meanwhile, Kroos will be staying on script with efficient passing like Luka Modric.

How do Real compensate for Di Maria's 17 assists in La Liga last season?

If you combine the assist output of Kroos (four) and Modric (six) in league play, it still does not better Di Maria's production. 

Kroos has never recorded 17 assists in one league season. 

Another negative in Kroos' game is his shooting conversion—he scored two league goals from 52 shots.

 

Bottom Line

Real are getting a bona fide world-class player in Kroos, but the impending departure of Di Maria, per Football Espana, will be a big blow to Ancelotti.

If Real do not sign James Rodriguez from Monaco, then it is a mistake to replace Di Maria with Kroos.

Di Maria was a lock for double-digit assists, and Kroos isn't. 

Speaking of James, his move to Real is gaining momentum, per Carlos Carpio at Marca:

Meetings have taken place in Madrid this week between the French club's president, Dmitry Rybolovlev, and Real Madrid.

The Russian tycoon went in high asking for an astronomical €115 million initially.

Following arduous negotiations in the two meetings, 'Los Blancos' managed to lower the asking price to €85 million.

Looking at the bigger picture, Kroos is set to be a big player in another Galacticos era.

Real's Perez and European football's one percent are mocking UEFA president Michel Platini's Financial Fair Play regulations.

Talk about a paper tiger. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com.

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