We’ve done it. We’ve finally signed a striker and before the Premier League has begun.
Admittedly, we left it late, but the club have managed to sign Steve Bruce’s number one target Callum Wilson for a reported £20 million. The deal is made all the more sweeter, as we beat Aston Villa to his signature.
Here’s a closer look at the player what we’re getting:
Position / Role
This section won’t make for that much of a surprise, with Wilson being a typical centre forward. All of his minutes for Bournemouth last season came as a striker and he isn’t a forward that can be played on the wing. He likes to operate centrally in the final third. However, some will say that his best performances for the Cherries came as part of a strike partnership, alongside Josh King.
The Norweigan international played a more withdrawn role, with Wilson pushing on to be the furthest forward player for Bournemouth. This could be a positive for Joelinton, with the Brazilian playing his best football when he was playing off Andrej Kramaric at Hoffenheim.
It is likely that Bruce will experiment with our record signing playing in the same team as Wilson to try and recreate that dynamic.
However, to start with, it will be Almiron that benefits from the arrival of Wilson. The Paraguayan has been very effective in the number ten role and he is very adept at picking up pockets of space. Now we have a goal-scorer leading the line, this should open up more opportunities for Almiron to thrive.
There should be no qualms about Wilson’s character and his personality should mesh in well with the current squad. The reports on the transfer suggest that he arrives at St James’ Park with a point to prove and a hunger to return to the England squad.
Although his performances and goal return dropped off slightly in his final season for Bournemouth, a fresh start could do him the world of good. He will know the striking problems that we have and that he has been identified as the player to solve this. It is a pressure that he should relish.
The above image is taken from Smarterscout, a website that rates players using a system similar to the Fifa video games and the benchmark standard is the Premier League.
Wilson is capable of running with the ball and moving his team up the field, but he is best when he is told to play further forward. With Allan Saint-Maximin and Almiron’s dribbling ability, there is no need for Wilson to come back to contribute to the transition phase.
As shown above, the England international is very good at receiving balls in the penalty area. Bruce will likely ask Wilson to play within the lines of the 18-yard box and be positive in his movement at every opportunity. With the supply line of Jonjo Shelvey, Allan Saint-Maximin and soon to be new signing Ryan Fraser, chances will be created.
Although he isn’t a target man, he is able to compete in the air with 1.7 aerial duels won per ninety minutes last season. An aerial duel success rate of 26.2% does show that he won’t thrive in a team that plays long balls. It is important that Bruce tries to find a style that avoids this approach as much as possible.
This is a very good transfer for us, as it carries very little risk. Wilson has scored consistently in the Premier League for Bournemouth and an average of 0.38 goals per ninety minutes ranks him as a solid player at this level.
He isn’t going to be a 20-goal a season striker, but they are becoming more and more rare, especially for a club in the bottom half of the table.
At £20 million, the club may have been able to get a better player. That said, the majority of the scouting team remain on furlough and there has been a reliance on Bruce’s opinions for the summer transfer targets.
This deal does improve us and should guarantee at least 10 Premier League goals, should we manage to keep Wilson fit and he maintains his historic production levels.