Daryl Murphy had the season of his life last year.
Scoring 27 goals in the league last season, the Irish frontman just couldn’t stop scoring as Ipswich stormed the winter period of the Championship, entering the New Year in 2nd place.
Fast forward to July, and the transfer window is open – and rumours are flying about the big frontman leaving to join pastures anew as his career seems to begin to wane. So the dilemma is simple; do Ipswich keep a man who had the best goal output of his career last year or allow him to move on to another club, for an amount which will never be matched again due to his a) age and b) recent history? Names such as Middlesborough, Sheffield Wednesday and even Norwich have been touted as destinations for Ipswich’s number 9, but should he leave – Where should the club reinvest the money, or should they look for a direct replacement? He’s 32, he’s settled but of course one last shot at playing regularly for more money and a prolonged career? Why wouldn’t he? Especially if it’s near an airport, allowing him to fly back to Ireland, raise his family and all other things that football fans don’t normally consider when thinking whether a player will leave or not.
I’ve approached this (obviously) from a statistical perspective.
What do we attribute to Daryl Murphy? Okay, that’s an expansive question. Let’s see how WhoScored looks at Daryl Murphy.
Goals, and heading. Okay – So I see Murphy’s output as his ability in the air and the amount of shots he takes (this seems to be McCarthy’s style, to just allow his strikers to shoot and make them shoot a lot). Therefore, you get the lovely little graph that’s shown in the featured image. The Y-axis shows the amount of aerials (headers) won per 90 minutes played, and the x-axis shows the amount of shots taken per 90 minutes played. The blob in the middle underneath the word ‘replacement’ is Daryl. More on that shortly. The area of the bubble is the number of danger zone shots converted into goals; the danger zone being those within the box (glossary here)
I’d love to quantify the level of off-the-ball actions he does but that’s stuff that isn’t a) publicly available and b) is being worked on in depth by prozone (videos here and here)
So here are the first cluster of players I picked. Just people around Murphy’s area, who seemed to do similar things and had similar attributes. Graph on the left is aerials attempted, whilst right is the aerials won. That guy way up in the stratosphere with an insane amount of both in the top right? Rudy Gestede. Still awesome.
A closer look throws up some fab results..
Check out these four orbiting Murphy.
Not bad right? (Murphy is blue in the middle)
Murray is a massive poacher – he was second to only Matty Fryatt in the number of shots taken within the ‘area’ (18 + 6 yard box) (Fryatt 32%, Murray 23%, Bent 18%). Kermogant is a giant and scored crucial goals for Bournemouth last year, whilst Jerome is a bit of a beast (and plays for Norwich). Deeney is Watford’s club captain, so it’s not even worth thinking about.
So who are those funny, un-greyed people who aren’t green or blue?
Oh. Oh okay. So Pitman is 27 years old, can head a ball, has similar goals scored in the penalty area and actually takes more shots per 90? Isn’t it handy that he was signed!
James Vaughan was someone I touted a few weeks ago as a potential Murphy replacement. He is again, younger, does a similar job and is probably slightly shackled due to the people around him at Huddersfield (again, I could be grossly misinformed).
These two are a solid age for strikers, might compliment the style of play Ipswich are looking to recreate and have the potential to be key parts of the Ipswich machine. So perhaps losing Daryl Murphy isn’t such a bad thing, as replacements already exist within the squad.
I don’t think I can do an entire post on the prospect of letting McGoldrick go yet, but I will mention that Pitman pops up there as well when you look at ‘similar players’. Damn, that guys gonna be great.
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