Saturday, 9 February 2008

Nigel Reo-Costly

Those Fink Tank boffins over at The Times have been conducting deep rooted statistical analysis in an attempt to quantify which of the Premier League's summer transfer acquisitions has offered the least value for money. Daniel Finkelstein states: "A million pounds here, a million pounds there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. This summer, while the Fink Tank was searching behind the sofa for some loose change to buy a new pocket calculator, Aston Villa went to the shops and splashed £7.5 million on Nigel Reo-Coker. Which of us got better value for money? You are about to find out." I think you know where this is going...

Dr Henry Stott and Dr Ian Graham have been sifting through the summer trades in order to see how they’ve been doing. They have had the help of the player level computer model. This takes every kick of the ball and relates it to the number of points it helps to create. Then the season is simulated again and again with the acquired player and without them (they are replaced by a player of average quality in the same position). Once this work is done it is possible to rank all the newly transferred players in terms of the points they have added (or subtracted) compared with the average player. Actually, not quite all. Quite a few transferred players haven’t been on the pitch enough to rank. Lassana Diarra, the midfield player, went from Chelsea to Arsenal and on to Portsmouth without being on the pitch long enough for us to assess his contribution to Arsène Wenger’s side. Let’s look at their contribution per minute first, shall we? You might consider this a measure of potential, and therefore of longer-term interest.

At the top is Carlos Tévez, the Manchester United forward. Last season we didn’t rank him so highly, but then he didn’t score for West Ham United until the curtains were beginning to close. This season he has been a sensation. Second comes Kieran Richardson, the Sunderland midfield player, although he has played in only 22 per cent of the games. Then comes Gareth Bale, the left-sided player, who looks like a good buy for Tottenham Hotspur. Things change when we multiply the points added by these players by the number of minutes they spent playing. As you can see from the graphic. Tévez and Fernando Torres, the Liverpool forward, won’t surprise many, but it turns out that Bacary Sagna, Arsenal’s £6 million defender, was a great buy. It will not cause heads to turn at Goodison Park to discover Yakubu Ayegbeni right up there, but it may interest Chelsea fans that Florent Malouda is the most valuable of their summer buys.

Who has been flopping so far? Reo-Coker has been a terrible disappointment. He has lost 8.1 points compared to an average player. Alan Smith, the Newcastle United player, hasn’t done terribly well either. What about Darren Bent? Not a flop. Yet. He is 0.3 points above average despite playing so little. Fink Tank has always rated him and thought he was worth a lot of money – but not to Tottenham.

On a separate note, and because West Ham United related news is at a premium this morning, here is a video of the 'We All Love The Hammers' song in case you haven't seen it. It is written and performed by Fanbanta regular Chris Cohen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope, it's OK


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