This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
According to reports in Greece, Vurnon Anita is set to join Panathinaikos on a free transfer.
The Whites are apparently willing to let him go for nothing, despite the fact he has a year left on his deal, but his WhoScored stats from last season show that the Yorkshire club are making the right decision.
Looking at these numbers it’s easy to see how poorly the Dutchman fared last term at Willem II in the Eredivisie.
The former Newcastle man played the majority of his minutes as a central midfielder, and despite playing in what should be an influential position he didn’t have much impact at either end of the pitch.
In terms of defending, the Leeds loanee made just 0.6 successful tackles per game and 0.8 interceptions per match.
He rarely won the ball back for his side, and those types of numbers won’t have impressed Marcelo Bielsa as his midfielders need to be able to recover possession. For example, both Mateusz Klich and Kalvin Phillips averaged more tackles than him in 2018/19 with 1.7 and 2.6 respectively.
Going forward he isn’t much better either. In fact, the only word you can use to describe his attacking stats is abysmal. He rarely has much of an impact going forward completing just 0.1 shots and 0.1 key passes per game.
Of course, those numbers could be excused as Anita has always been a much more defensively-orientated player, but the fact that they aren’t that impressive at the back either shows that the Whites are making the right decision in letting him go.
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The 30-year-old had a chance to prove himself worthy of starting for Leeds with this loan spell in the Netherlands. Bielsa showed that he isn’t afraid of bringing a player in from out of the cold by starting Klich in every game last season just a term after he was sent out on loan.
Anita seemingly didn’t have the desire or the ability to force himself back into the Argentine’s plans, and due to this, he is set to be rightfully moved on.