Something new that we’re going to try this season here at ye old StatsBomb is to give you some brief profiles of players or teams in the news. In addition to our regular stream of great in-depth content, we want to provide some relevant bite sized nuggets. Today, let’s take a look at the Atletico Madrid’s replacement for Antoine Griezmann, João Félix.
His radar is well rounded, but not particularly impressive along any one particular axis. Considering his extremely young age, 0.45 xG per 90 minutes is certainly impressive, but it’s representative of a striker with potential, not one who is already elite. The mix of 3.43 shots per 90 and 0.13 xG per shot is a fine balance of shot volume and shot quality. It’s also important to note that João Félix isn’t a one trick goalscoring pony. He supplements his solid shot getting with 0.21 XG assisted per 90.
One thing worth noting here is that these numbers were accrued in substantially less than a full season. This isn’t abnormal for a young player. But, he didn’t become a regular league starter until the end of January. The numbers are impressive, but they were established only over roughly half a season.
As often happens with talented young prospects who garner a lot of attention, his goal scoring somewhat outran his xG, but the xG numbers themselves are very respectable. Would his price tag have been as high if he scored closer to eight or nine goals instead of 15? It’s possible he’d have moved for less, but those eight or nine goals on their own would themselves be quite impressive.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly for Diego Simeone, João Félix is a willing and active defender. He was frequently tasked with covering a wing and gamely did so. Simeone’s system frequently employs two strikers but asks one to drop back and defend a wing, a role which his new young star will be more than equipped to deal with.
Put it all together and you have a very young, very talented player arriving in Spain even if his goal scoring is slightly misleading. Whether or not his potential ultimately justifies his extremely lofty price tag, there’s a lot to like about João Félix.