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March 31, 2014

Transfer Quick Hit: Josip Drmic

By Ted Knutson

I was writing a broader Premier League piece this morning, when the Drmic to Arsenal rumor again flashed up on Twitter. Since most people have probably never heard of him (including me as of February or so), I figured I’d give a brief profile and opinion.

Age: 21
Position: Forward/AM (Right)
Nationality: Swiss
Current Team: Nurnberg

Drmic_2014_partial

The Good Stuff
Alright, ignore the goals information for a second, because that needs some context. The stuff Drmic is doing really well right now is getting shots on target and dribbling the ball.

He’s also scoring at an excellent rate – .60 non-penalty goals per 90. However…

A lot of that scoring is fuelled by a crazy conversion percentage that’s over 30 right now. No one sustains that over a full season. Not ever. On the other hand, his scoring rate at that age (just 21) in that league (the Bundesliga) is a big deal.

Watching footage, it’s hard not to like him. He’s got decent pace, seems really clever in and around the box, and his shot locations are excellent. He’s also finished about half his goals with his left foot and half with his right, which is another good sign, and finally, he’s had less than 10% of his shots blocked.

He’s also pretty good at starting wide right and then coming in to get off good shots, not unlike Arsenal’s current favourite right wide forward, Theo Walcott. For some reason, RWF is one of the hardest spots to fill, so having a two-footer than can score goals as a backup option seems like a good plan.

The Not So Good Stuff
That passing percentage is a pretty serious frown, especially since I expected it to have a heavy skew toward headers, and according to Squawka, it doesn’t. For forwards who aren’t heading the ball that often, you really want that number to be in the mid 70’s.

Drmic

“He makes Luis Suarez look like Oliver Giroud!” – Colin Trainor

Now we come to the uncomfortable truth. Colin whipped up the shot chart in his magic database and before this weekend found that Drmic had 15 goals from about 6.5 expected. As noted above, that conversion percentage is ridiculous and unsustainable over the long term. Would he even be on the radar if he were converting at an average rate? Even “high” conversion rates are not likely to be sustained year over year, so this is a bit of a red flag.

Additionally, he’s not a shot monster (right now). He’s doing alright at getting his own shots (2.2 per 90), but it’s not like he’s up there with Ronaldo, Bale, or Suarez and just wrecking teams by himself. On the other hand, that could happen if he moves to a better team – Nurnberg are current relegation candidates.

Verdict
I like him if and only if, someone purchases him as a bargain buy (say £8-10M).

.60 NPG90 at age 21 in the Bundesliga is a really strong indicator of current and future potential. However, he’s not a shot monster (under 2.5 per90), his passing percentage is just plain rough, and we probably wouldn’t even be talking about him if he weren’t boasting that crazy conversion rate right now. On the other hand, his rate at his current age, his current ability to dribble, and the fact that he will likely get better when surrounded by better teammates all work in his favour.

It might not be Arsenal, but assuming Drmic’s relegation release gets activated, someone is likely to get an excellent young player at a pretty good price.

Peep the touch at the 30 second mark below for pure filth.

Article by Ted Knutson