Arsenal have been linked with a move for Yannick Carrasco of Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang. Carrasco moved to China in 2018, and after a season a half is looking to make a move back to Europe.
Unlike most players who move to China, Carrasco went while he was still in the prime of his career, after establishing himself with Atlético de Madrid. He is still just 25 years old and shouldn’t be in the age related decline phase of his career yet.
The big question: what did his stats look like in China, and how might he fit in coming back to Europe?
Before he left for China, the stats suggested that he was a good but not elite player.
A quick note on these new stats visualizations, this is a box and whisker plot and it is helps illustrate where a player falls in the distribution for each statistic. The bottom line (whisker) represents from the 5th percentile to the 25th percentile of players. The upper whisker is the opposite and represents the 75th to the 95th percentiles.
The box represents the 25th to 75th percentiles, with the median is the line in the middle. That means that half of the players stats years (built using data from 2011-12 to 2017-18, with a cut off of 800 minutes played) in the positions fall in this range.
Back to the analysis, what I see from this is that Carrasco is a high volume dribbler (something Arsenal desperately need), and he did it at a very good rate in La Liga. He has good passing numbers (I’m not overly worried about crosses, as I don’t think that Unai Emery is looking for that from his wide forwards) and creates shots for teammates at a good clip. He takes quite a few shots, but doesn’t have the greatest shot selection.
The one positive in this is that chart is that when Carrasco did shoot from outside the box, he did so generally from more central areas, which are much better shots from out wide. The same can generally be said for his shots in the box, although I’d like everything moved over about 2-3 yards towards the middle if we are going to be nitpicking.
Now let’s look at how his stats look from his time in China.
The statistics look roughly the same but slightly improved as expected from facing a level of talent that is below what he faced in La Liga. The one area that I am a little surprised that didn’t change that much is that his shots and xG per 90 is roughly unchanged. I would have expected that to go up, but it’s possible that because he plays for a lower mid-table team (11th of 16 teams), there just aren’t that many attacking opportunities.
His shot chart in China shares a lot of the similarities to his time in Madrid, with most of his shots from longer range but still pretty central for a player who starts from the wing.
I can’t say much with any certainty how these stats will translate to a team like Arsenal, but his previous time in Spain, plus no obvious signs of decline from China, suggest that he is a good wide forward option.