How will Napoli fare with Higuain instead of Cavani?
Ex-Real Madrid Striker Gonzalo Higuain has now joined Serie A runner up Napoli. Edinson Cavani, one of the world’s best strikers, left Napoli for PSG earlier in the transfer window, and opened the door for a new striker at Napoli. Madrid parted with the Argentine even though he scored 16 goals last season in La Liga. Higuain will now get a clean slate in Italy where he will hopefully be given more opportunities than he had in Madrid. Higuain, along with his high conversion rate should bring something new to the Napoli side, and perhaps bring some silverware to Naples.
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It is important to note that Cavani played 2981 minutes in the league, while Higuain only played 1721. Keeping this in mind, it is clear that Cavani is a world-class striker. He creates almost one chance per game, has higher pass accuracy than Higuain and maintains a high shot accuracy. However, Higuain scored 16 goals in only 19 starts, averaging one goal every 91 minutes (almost 1 per game) while Cavani averaged a goal every 102 minutes. As you can see above, Higuain also had significantly higher chance conversion and shot accuracy. However, statistics are not all that matter in football. Cavani earned his world-renowned status from his skill and goal scoring capabilities, and it is obvious that he will be missed at Napoli.
Higuain has another great characteristic to contribute to Napoli, and that is his flexibility. Cavani’s playing style is that of a goal poacher. 27 of his 29 goals were inside the area. He is very good at finishing chances in the box, and is a great primary goal scorer. He also scored six headers, proving that he can turn crosses into goals as well as create chances and score himself.
Higuain, however, is arguably a bit more mobile. He is able to move around the field, and drop back on the wings to allow other players to move forward. With teammates like Lorenzo Insigne, Gokhan Inler, and Marek Hamsik, the flexibility to allow other players to move forward will prove instrumental to Napoli’s attack force.
Higuain, as a 25-year old, is still young and will no doubt be an asset to the Napoli squad. Cavani brought a lot of money into Napoli, and they spent a fair amount on Higuain. However he is young enough and talented enough that he will be worth it, and can lead Napoli to be Serie A title contenders as well as possibly to the knockout stages of the Champions league. Higuain is not the best player at creating chances, but the Napoli midfield, and his fellow front man Insigne are great chance creators, and will help Higuain help the Azzurri. With his high chance conversion rate, he will no doubt turn his playing time into a lot of goals, and be an important addition to the Naples side.