Can Manchester United-linked Diafra Sakho replace Robin van Persie at Old Trafford?

Van Persie United

Manchester United are reported to have expressed an interest in West Ham's Diafra Sakho.

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United have expressed an interest in West Ham United striker Diafra Sakho. Reports suggest the Red Devils scouts have been impressed by the 25-year-old, who scored 10 goals in 23 appearances for the Hammers last season.

Sakho's arrival - if a move is to be made - could see him replace Robin van Persie at Old Trafford, with the Dutchman expected to join Turkish outfit Fenerbahce in the near future - as per Sky Sports. With Wayne Rooney and James Wilson the only natural strikers remaining at the club, manager Louis van Gaal will be in search of attacking reinforcements.

Ahead of a potential move for Sakho, who has only one year of Premier League experience under his belt, HITC Sport have analysed the statistics behind the suggested deal. Based on these numbers, the Senegal international betters Van Persie in four of the eight key areas examined, but is he good enough for Manchester United?

 Stats per Game Goals ScoredConversion Rate (%)Key PassesAssistsSuccessful PassesPass Accuracy (%)Dribble Success (%)Aerial Success (%)Appearances
Diafra Sakho 0.43 15 1 0.09 8.3 56 30.77 37.5 23
Robin van Persie 0.37 13 1 0.07 17.26 85 47.73 32.65 27

In terms of their goal output, there is little to split between the duo. Having averaged 0.43 goals per game to Van Persie's 0.37, Sakho is only marginally superior in this aspect. Meanwhile, the West Ham striker also proved the more clinical - again only by a fraction - scoring with 15% of his total attempts, compared to the 13% success rate of the Red Devils' Dutchman. 

The Senegal international also edges it when it comes to creativity. While the duo cannot be split based on chances fashioned per game, Sakho steals the plaudits for his season assist rate, of 0.09 goals created per match, compared to Van Persie's 0.07. However, the Dutchman emerged more successful with his dribbling, completing 47.73% of his attempted take ons.

Sakho completed an average of just 8.3 successful passes per game in the Premier League last season, compared to the 17.26 managed by Van Persie in the top flight - a significant difference. However, there is even more to split the duo in terms of their overall pass completion, Sakho averaging a mere 56%, compared to Van Persie's 85%.

The final success for the West Ham striker comes as a result of his aerial ability. Last term he emerged victorious in 37.5% of his headed duels, compared to the 32.65% achieved by Manchester United's departing Dutchman.

When it comes to a proposed transfer to Old Trafford, question marks are raised over Diafra Sakho's ability to live up to the standard expected in the North West. Throughout a season in which Robin van Persie ultimately struggled for form, the statistics suggest that the Senegal international would have failed to offer much of an improvement. 

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