Connor Wickham vs Glenn Murray: Is the new Crystal Palace striker an upgrade?

The Crystal Palace Eagle

The Eagles' new signing has been far from prolific in his career to date.

Crystal Palace today announced the signing of former Sunderland striker Connor Wickham via the club's official website.

The 22-year old joins the Eagles on a five year deal for a fee in the region of £9 million, as reported by the Daily Mail.

It's a substantial figure and one which raises some eyebrows when Wickham's past returns are considered.

Below is a selection of last season's Premier League statistics for Palace's new arrival and the club's main incumbent front-man, Glenn Murray.

  GoalsAssistsKey Passes (per 90 mins)Pass CompletionAerial Duels wonSuccessful Take-ons (per 90 mins)Shot AccuracyAppearances
Connor Wickham 5 1 0.65 65% 47.50% 1.40 43% 36
Glenn Murray 7 3 0.41 57% 42.34% 0.41 58% 17

Immediately striking is the fact that Murray has grabbed more goals - 7 compared to Wickham's 5 - and more assists - 3 to his 1 - in less than half the appearances.

Murray's superior shooting goes some way to explaining this and he boasts a 58% rate of accuracy against Wickham's 43%.

Wickham does come out on top in several ancillary categories however, perhaps suggesting his all-round play is more expansive than the 31-year old's.

He provided more key passes, per 90 minutes, with 0.65 to Murray's 0.41 and appears a far more capable dribbler, producing 1.40 successful take-ons per 90, compared to Murray's 0.41.

Wickham is the slightly taller of the two at 6"3 and seemingly uses his extra inch in height to good advantage, winning 47.5% of aerial duels - coming out on top 5.16% more often than Glenn Murray.

The statistics certainly make for interesting reading and suggest that while Palace may have acquired a better all round footballer with age on his side, they haven't signed someone who will catapult them up the league with a striker's bread and butter - goals and assists.

Wickham has developed into more of a wide forward in recent seasons, typically starting on the left flank, and his poor goal return could be forgiven if his assist count was more impressive.

The fact remains that the former Sunderland man has yet to consistently deliver substantial returns over the course of a season and the jury is firmly out over his latest move.

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