Tottenham Hotspur are interested in signing Paulo Dybala, per Football FanCast sources.
The Juventus forward has been a star in Serie A for years, scoring 78 goals in 182 games for the club.
Yet he struggled last season.
As Juve signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala saw his output massively reduced in Turin.
Per Understat, he made 30 appearances and scored just five goals. He also laid on four assists but the scoring statistic is a concern. In 2017/18, at a Ronaldo-less Juve, he scored 22 times and laid on five assists.
That is a simply massive change.
He averaged 2.15 key passes per game in 18/19, compared to 2.06 the season prior, but the stat that matters is his expected goals (xG).
In 17/18, he massively outperformed his xG rate of 13.17. He scored seven goals from outside the box, with two holding an xG value of just 0.02. They should not have ended up in the back of the net.
But in 18/19, he scored once from outside the box and his xG value was 5.02. That he scored five goals suggests that he merely scored the goals he should have scored.
It also suggests a potential levelling out, of Dybala overperforming the season prior and reverting to his base level last term.
Now, of course, every single player can endure a difficult season. It has happened to the very best in the world. At Spurs, for example, Dele Alli did not hit the heights in 18/19 as he did in 17/18.
Dybala, clearly, is remarkably talented and he has the ability to be a game-changing signing for Spurs.
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But the xG stat will be a serious concern.
He has not put himself in the best positions he could have and he has not taken the potshots he used to have the confidence to.
Perhaps that comes from Ronaldo’s move to Turin; the former Manchester United superstar netted 21 Serie A goals last season, taking up the mantle from the Argentine.
It remains to be seen which Dybala would end up in north London, though; Spurs, if they complete the deal, will have to hope it’s the 17/18 version.