- No-names you should have on our list
After you have learned more about the top 5 of the European top leagues in the first part of our goalkeeper analysis of the calendar year 2020, the second part focuses on the “no-names”. Here, four rather unknown goalkeepers showed great performances within different characteristics of the goalkeeping position. These are the following:
- Opponents’ expected goals (xG) conversion: This value indicates how many chances the goalkeeper prevents depending on the expected xG values. It can be deduced from this that for every value below 1, the opponent needs more chances to score a goal than the xG value would suggest. The lower the value of the indicator, the better the goalkeeper. Conversely, a worse keeper has a value above 1. Here, more goals are conceded from chances than could be expected. The average value here is 1.02.
- Shots saved in %: This classic indicator shows the percentage of shots on goal, that are successfully saved by the goalkeeper, thus preventing a goal from being conceded. The average value here is 70 %.
- xG per shot saved: This deeper value indicates how dangerous the shots to be saved by the goalkeeper were. The higher this value, the more dangerous balls the keeper was able to save. The average value here is 0.11. The interpretation of this indicator should always be made in combination with the shots saved in %. The assumption is, that a high percentage value for shots saved goes hand in hand with many easy shots on goal by the opponent. If both indicators are above average, then the goalkeeper’s performance is excellent.
You should definitely keep an eye on these goalkeepers in 2021.
2. No-names you should have on our list
Anthony Racioppi (FCO Dijon)
The current swiss U21 national goalkeeper Anthony Racioppi (22) was transferred from Olympique Lyon to FCO Dijon within Ligue 1 free of charge in the summer of 2020 – he already joined the top club from Lyon at the age of 14. After a short period of acclimatisation at Dijon, he replaced the former starting goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbé on 08.11.2020 (matchday 10). Since then, he has been continuously starting in goal for Dijon.
Due to the low number of games in 2020 (8 games), a further 6 games up to 03.02.2021 were included in our study. His stats are immensely impressive! His opponents’ xG conversion value of 0.62 is on a par with that of Mike Maignan. In his home country Switzerland, he is already celebrated for his frequent supersaves (1.84 per game / 24 in 14 games) and is seen as the future number 1 in the national goal and is already on the verge of battling with Yann Sommer (Borussia Mönchengladbach). With 75 % of close-range shots saved, his performance is above average. He also has a shot saved rate of 79% with an xG value of shots saved of 0.16, the highest in Ligue 1 (the shots he faces are extremely dangerous due to a bad defence).
It is also impressive that Racioppi prevented 10.74 expected goals of the opponent in 16 games. This season, Dijon have conceded 38 goals with an xG Against value of 50.4, a difference of 12.4 goals not conceded, of which the Swiss player alone prevented 10.74.
Racioppi went under the radar in Switzerland for a long time due to his early emigration to France. Meanwhile, the line keeper represents a hope not only for FCO Dijon’s league survival but also for the national team. Moreover, bigger clubs in Europe will put his name on their internal scouting list. His market value is currently still a modest 2 million euros but keeps on rising. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to preserve his strong performance over several years.
Alexandre Oukidja (FC Metz)
Another lesser-known name with notable performances in Ligue 1 joined FC Metz on a free transfer from RC Strasbourg in summer 2018. At 32 years of age, Alexandre Oukidja is in the prime of his career as a goalkeeper. He currently has the highest market value of his career at 3 million euros. In the meantime, he has only 3 international caps for Algeria, after being overshadowed especially by Algerian legend Raïs M’Bolhi for the most part of his career.
Oukidja stands out with his 81% of shots on goal saved. In conjunction with this, the xG value of the shots saved is in the midfield of the rankings with 0.11. The fact that FC Metz concede few goals compared to other teams in the mid-table of the French league is partly due to the fact that Oukidja has an opponents’ xG conversion value of 0.65. He is particularly brilliant in the midfield. He shines above all on mid-range shots, of which he was able to save an above-average 80%. Oukidja is classified as a sweeper keeper as he has 2.99 exits per game. He also has 2.34 interceptions (ball recoveries), the fifth highest figure in Europe.
French insiders have not failed to notice this high level of play in recent times and are predicting a place among the top 3 goalkeepers in Ligue 1 in the 2020/21 season. Certainly, a motivating goal for the late bloomer in European football.
Edgar Badia (Elche CF)
The starting goalkeeper of promoted side Elche CF Edgar Badia (29) was a guarantor for the success in the second Spanish league of the club from the east of Spain. He moved to Elche on a free transfer from dissolved club Reus Deportiu in January 2019. Since then, he has doubled his market value to €1.5 million through good performances. In his homeland Badia is known as a relentless worker who invested everything for his La Liga dream and was finally able to fulfil it at the age of 29 by joining Elche CF.
He showed his enthusiasm in his 14 La Liga games in 2020, fencing 78% of opponents’ shots on goal with an xG value of shots saved of 0.10. With 4.43 shots saved per game and 1.89 supersaves, Badia exemplifies the qualities of a line keeper. With an opponents’ xG conversion value of 0.68, he had the fourth highest in La Liga in 2020 and is actively helping Elche to achieve the goal of avoiding relegation.
Badia’s performances may receive a further boost, as Elche CF signed Paulo Gazzaniga, a Premier League experienced keeper from Tottenham Hotspur, as a serious contender for the second half of the 20/21 season. Gazzaniga, who already has one cap for the Argentinian national team, is ready to fight for the number 1 spot in goal. This transfer policy can be critically questioned, since with Badia a good goalkeeper is already active and a less expensive goalkeeping rookie could have taken the place on the bench.
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
Emiliano Martinez has been with Arsenal since the start of the 2010/11 season, but has never really been part of the Gunners. After five more or less successful loan spells with Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolverhampton, Getafe and Reading, the Arsenal number 2 took his chance in the 2019/20 season following Bernd Leno’s serious injury. Martinez impressed on an ad-hoc basis. However, those performances were not enough to convince Mikel Arteta’s coaching team in the long term. Bernd Leno returned to goal and the 28-year-old moved to league rivals Aston Villa for 17.40 million euros (almost 9 million above his market value back then) with the ambition of becoming the number 1. Here he seamlessly continued his great performances and increased his market value to 18 million euros. His ambition lives on as he asked the strikers Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins in training after the 3:1 defeat against West Ham if they could place additional shots on his goal: “I conceded three goals from angles that I never concede from. I faced 20 shots from those angles and nobody beat me!” It paid off, as he did not concede a goal in the following match against his ex-club Arsenal.
Martinez saved 81% of the shots on goal. He saves an average of 4.33 shots on goal per game – this includes 1.55 supersaves! In addition, he showed an above-average performance with 45% stopped shots (shots, that the goalkeeper blocks early). Despite an opponents’ xG conversion of 0.81, Martinez ranks fourth in our Premier League rankings when combined with the other two key performance values.
If Martinez continues to perform consistently, this transfer will pay off with a substantial transfer fee above market value for both the club and the player. In addition, Martinez might be the solution for the ongoing goalkeeper issues in Argentina, approximately eight years after his last match for the under-20s.
In the second part of our goalkeeper analysis, we identified some hidden gems in the goalkeeper position. Racioppi, in particular, should be of interest to some scouts, as he already delivers top performances despite his young age and, with a market value of 2 million euros, is more than affordable (especially if Dijon gets relegated). Furthermore, it is noticeable that five of the nine keepers with noteworthy performances are 28 or 29 years old. This age range seems to be the point of maximum performance for keepers.
In the third part (out next week), we will look at the poorly performing goalkeepers in Europe’s top leagues. A little hint in advance: high transfer fees do not guarantee top performances!