Analysing Diego Rolan as possible Christian Benteke replacement at Aston Villa

Aston Villa

According to reports, Aston Villa have made enquiries about Bordeaux forward Diego Rolan.

Tim Sherwood has money to spend after completing the £32.5million sale of Belgium international Christian Benteke to Liverpool on Wednesday and 22-year-old Diego Rolan, who is valued at £15million according to the Daily Mail, is seen as the man to replace the Belgian's goals at Villa Park.

The Midlands outfit have already raided the French transfer market this past week for Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Amavi, and now, with Rolan firmly on the club's radar, Sherwood could make a third swoop for a Ligue 1 player. The Uruguayan arrived in France as a 19-year-old in 2013, and from then on has emerged as a key member of Willy Sagnol's squad.

HITC Sport have analysed the statistics, to make sense of recent speculation. Indeed, it seems that Rolan, who has also been linked with Newcastle United as reported by the Newcastle Chronicle - is more than able to match Benteke's scoring rate, while the youngster also proved superior in a number of alternative key areas.

Rolan impressed last season with 15 league goals in 26 appearances - a tally that saw the 22-year-old ranked eighth in the French top flight for goals per game - based on those who played more than 10 times - narrowly behind the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac (0.6) and Edinson Cavani (0.5) with an impressive rate of 0.4.

Benteke scored 13 league goals in 29 appearances for Aston Villa throughout the previous campaign - the majority of which came during the second half of the season - with the Belgian actually matching Rolan's goals per game ratio. However, the new Liverpool man's strike-rate was inferior to his counterpart's (23.1% to 20.3%), as was his shot accuracy (45% to 48%).

Nonetheless, it is Benteke who excels on the creativity front, despite recording fewer assists than Rolan (two to three). Indeed, the 24-year-old fashioned more chances per game (1.5 to 1). However, Rolan is significantly more effective when it comes to his overall composure in possession. He led his counterpart in terms of pass completion (81% to 67%). 

The statistics also show that the Bordeaux man is more prolific when carrying the ball. He completed 44% of his attempted take-ons in Ligue 1 last season, compared to the 34% success rate of Benteke. 

While Rolan operated in a wide role most commonly for Bordeaux last term, rather than as an out-and-out forward, he has proven himself as a clinical goalscorer - a man with the potential to replace Benteke's goals at Villa Park.

While £15million is a substantial fee for a player who is unproven in the English game, just as Benteke was before him, Rolan could be a risk worth taking.  

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