Simon Mignolet or Victor Valdes: What do the stats say?

Victor Valdes

Free agent Victor Valdes looks set to join Liverpool pending a successful medical next month. Will he challenge Simon Mignolet for a first-team place at Anfield?

Victor Valdes is set to become a Liverpool player next month, according to reports, with the former Barcelona shot-stopper available on a free transfer after ending his 12-year stay at the Nou Camp this summer.

Brendan Rodgers is said to be an admirer of the 32-year-old and wants to sign Valdes – who had been set to join Monaco before being left injury stricken in March – to provide stiff competition for current club number one Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian is only a season into a five-year contract, having signed from Sunderland last summer, but after a steady-but-unexceptional start to life at Anfield, his position is certainly up for grabs.

Below we look at the each player's statistics from the previous domestic season, to decide if the former Barca veteran can rival Mignolet for a starting place in Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side.

  TeamPosAppsMinsClean SheetsGoals Conceded per app
Simon Mignolet Liverpool GK 38 3,420 10 1.32
Victor Valdes Barcelona GK 26 2,273  13 0.81

Plying his trade for the La Liga runners-up, Valdes enjoyed a fruitful season between the sticks. He conceded just 21 goals, letting in less than one strike per appearance; a total far superior to that recorded by Mignolet. 

Furthermore, of the Premier League goalkeepers who started at least half of their club's domestic games, Mignolet ranked 20th for the number of shots saved from inside the box (52.94) - a worrying statistic for Liverpool fans. Valdes fared much better, with his stats rivalling the division's best (64.9%).

The former Barca man also recorded a greater number of clean sheets, despite featuring in far fewer games.

  Saves per appSaves against goals concededPercentage of penalties saved
Mignolet 1.97 1.70 25.00
Valdes 2.31 3.00 33.33

It is difficult to argue against the 32-year-old's ability, and again, his competency is proven by the number of successful saves he produced throughout the previous campaign. A look at the table above displays a clear superiority over the current Liverpool number one.

Not only did he average a greater number of saves per appearance, he also made almost made twice as many stops per goal conceded. Meanwhile, his prowess in penalty situations is another area that sees him come up trumps. Valdes holds a clear advantage when it comes to shot-stopping.

  Avg. Claim Succ (%)Distribution Succ (%)
Mignolet 96.00 69.00
Valdes 96.00 68.00

Both goalkeepers have had experienced little difficulty when coming for crosses judging by the statistics, considering they boast an identical success rate. Neither Mignolet or Valdes pose any problems when it comes to stating their authority in the 18-yard-box.

Setting off attacks from defence is another important aspect of a goalkeeper's game, especially considering the counter-attacking style of Rodgers' team, and in terms of distribution, it's almost impossible to separate the duo.

The statistics suggest Victor Valdes is the better option, by a long stretch, and ultimately, he will not be coming to Liverpool to play second fiddle to anyone. The former Barca man has a fantastic level of experience following over a decade spent at the Nou Camp he has the credentials to have a real impact at Anfield. 

Barcelona tried their hardest to keep their iconic goalkeeper but he was desperate to leave for new challenge. With the prospect of Champions League football and the motivation to finally become Spain's number, he would surely be content on Merseyside.

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