Premier League rivals the Red Devils and the Blues could be set to go head-to-head this summer in their pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas and his young compatriot at Ateltico Madrid, Koke.
Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, 27 years of age and five years Koke’s senior, is expected to exit the Camp Nou this summer with Manchester United, Chelsea and former club Arsenal circling according to current reports.
The Spain international made 36 appearances for Barcelona in La Liga this term, of which 28 were starts, scored 13 goals and made four assists for the Catalans. 22-year-old Koke made 36 appearances in La Liga of which 33 were stars and managed a tally of six goals and 13 assists for the Spanish champions and Champions League finalists this term under Diego Simeone.
Fabregas achieved an average pass completion rate of 87% with Koke behind in that regard with 80.5% success. The elder Spaniard also attempted more passes, 60.7 pass on average per game to Koke’s 44 but the youngster averaged slightly more key passes, 1.9 per game to Fabregas’ 1.6 per game on average.
Koke was far more successful with crosses, averaging 1.6 per game to Fabregas’ 0.1 per game but that is likely due to differences the style of play between the two teams.
In attack, Fabregas averaged 0.7 successful dribbles per game to Koke’s 0.5 and Fabregas was fouled more often, ultimately earning his side a free kick, on average 1.1 times per game to Koke’s 0.8 times per game.
Fabregas was disposed 0.8 times per game to Koke’s 1.8 times per game, suggesting the elder of the pair was the more reliable in possession.
Defensively, Fabregas achieved an average of 1.3 tackles per game but Koke doubled that with 2.7 per game as well as making a greater number of interceptions, 0.9 per game to Fabregas’ 0.4 and conceding fewer fouls against, 1.1 per game to Fabregas’ 1.2 per game.
Koke also made twice the number of clearances per game, 1 on average, as his compatriot and blocked three times as many shots as Fabregas (0.3 per game on average).
Overall, it would appear that the elder of the two Spain internationals is certainly the more dangerous and creative going forward in terms of his production of goals and chances and is evidently the more comfortable on the ball and the more reliable in possession.
But Koke still has five years to improve and is quite clearly the more defensively minded of the pair and I think, given the time to develop, he could well match or surpass Fabregas’ current level before long.