Chelsea are closing in on signing Alvaro Morata, which would bring to an end one of the stranger transfer sagas of this summer that saw the Blues duel with Manchester United for Morata and Romelu Lukaku.
Oddly, each club seems to have landed the other’s No. 1 target, with Lukaku seemingly being set to go to Chelsea earlier in the summer as United chased Morata.
But which club is getting the better striker? Here’s a look at how Lukaku and Morata stack up head-to-head.
While modern strikers are expected to do more than just score, ultimately the goals are what count.
On that score, Morata had the edge on Lukaku last season – his stats per 90 minutes are much better than the Belgian’s even though he started in fewer games.
However, over the last three seasons, Lukaku has out-performed Morata, scoring 0.51 goals per 90 minutes compared to the Spaniard’s 0.33.
And even last year, Lukaku proved to be the more fearsome presence in the box, converting 30% of his shots from inside the area compared to Morata’s 27.08%. The Belgian could still lay claim to being the better poacher.
While Morata has the reputation for being better at holding up play and getting his teammates involved, Lukaku actually created more chances per 90 minutes last season than his counterpart, and leads in this metric over the last three seasons as well (1.30 to over 1.03). He also has completed more passes in the final third over the last three seasons (10.04 to 6.96).
Similarly, while most would assume Lukaku is the more physical player and thus the better target man, Morata won more of his aerial duels last season and draws more fouls. Morata is thus arguably a better player with his back to goal. But is Lukaku the better playmaker overall?
DEFENSIVE WORK RATE
Both Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte require their attacking players to be fully committed to the team cause defensively, and those expectations will be laid upon Lukaku and Morata at their new clubs as well.
Lukaku has more experience playing in a defensive set-up as Everton have often played that way against the sides above them, although Morata had to do his fair share of defensive work when at Juventus.
And the stats show that even last season, when Morata was at Madrid, he bettered his counterpart when it came to tackling and interceptions, although Lukaku had more blocks per 90 minutes.
Morata has more goals in the Champions League than Diego Costa, among others, including a goal in the 2015 semi-final and final. Last season, only Lionel Messi and Neymar had more goals in the last 10 minutes of games.
Lukaku has repeatedly faced criticism for shrinking in big moments. The Belgian hasn’t played in the Champions League yet, and has a poor record in games against the so-called bigger Premier League clubs. He did, however, lead the league last season with goals in the last 10 minutes.
The closest to a head-to-head comparison between the two is their record at Euro 2016, where Morata scored three goals in four games to Lukaku’s two in four.
* All stats via Squawka