Stats: Would £15m Moyes favourite be an upgrade for Manchester United?

Rafael 2

Manchester United boss David Moyes will be looking for defensive reinforcements in the summer, with Seamus Coleman reportedly a target.

 The former Everton manager is allegedly looking to complete another swoop on his former club having signed midfielder Marouane Fellaini for £27.5m in September, and Irish international Coleman has been a suggested target after an impressive season at Goodison Park. But some United fans have been left underwhelmed by the speculation, suggesting that current right back Rafael is better than Coleman and doesn't need to be replaced – so what do the stats say?

Defensively

NameTeamPosTotal Clearance / appsAerial Won / appsInterception / appsWon Tackle / appsAppsMins
Rafael Man Utd DF 3.43 0.86 1.93 1.57 14 1,016
Seamus Coleman Everton DF 2.48 0.43 1.61 1.78 23 2,059

The stats are hard to compare because Coleman has played far more than the Brazilian this season, so everything is per-game. Rafael, despite many of his detractors suggesting that he can't defend, has more clearances, more aerial battles won and more interceptions per-game than Coleman does. The Irishman has more tackles per-appearance, but the stats suggest that Rafael has been a better defender than Coleman this season, despite the criticism he receives.

Offensively

The narrative goes that Rafael can attack, but can't defend. With one half of that moderately debunked, how does he fare going forward compared to Coleman? The Irishman played much of his early career on the wing before dropping back into the full back role, so would be expected to pose more of an attacking threat.

NameTeamPosTotal Cross / appsAccurate Cross / appsWon Contest / appsTotal Scoring AttAppsMins
Rafael Man Utd DF 3.21 0.50 0.79 4 14 1,016
Seamus Coleman Everton DF 2.43 0.74 1.87 24 23 2,059

Unsurprisingly, Rafael has a larger amount of crosses per-appearance – after all, this is David Moyes' side, one that crossed the ball a Premier League record 81 times against Fulham. However, Coleman's crossing has been more accurate this season, whilst he has also been far more successful at taking players on and getting shots on goal, offering more in the attacking third than Rafael has in his limited appearances for the Red Devils this term.

So, when all said and done, it appears Rafael may actually be a better defender than Coleman, but the Everton man is more effective going forward, seemingly ending the idea that Rafael can only attack and can't defend. However, with such little difference between the two players, is Coleman worth the reported £15m asking price or should United stick with Rafael? Moyes' familiarity with Coleman from their time together on Merseyside could be a key factor here, as the beleaguered United boss will surely believe he can get the best out of Coleman at Old Trafford.

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