The Imps have secured the signing of Chris Maguire on a two-year deal this morning, as reported by Keith Downie of Sky Sports yesterday.
Maguire is an experienced attacker who can play anywhere across the front three and in the ten role, and he will add a very different dimension to the forward line. It has to be said that when Tom Hopper got injured last season, we lacked a bit of knowledge and experience in those forward areas.
Having seen some of the reaction on social media last night, there might not be the overwhelming acclaim for this capture as many Michael has made over the last 12 months or so, but it does feel like an important one. I remember chatting to Michael the first time we met and he told me about singing a player called Alex MacDonald at Oxford, a character the dressing room needed. I think there’s an element of this with Maguire; he’s experienced and will be a great role model for the younger players. Sunderland fans like him more for his personality and attitude as his ability.
What Are His Key Attributes?
He’s a good character, someone who commands respect. In terms of the squad, he’s versatile, played at this level or higher for almost his entire career and has a penchant for the extraordinary, sublime and exciting. Yes, he’s 32 and some might say ‘it doesn’t fit the model’, but what is the model? Focus on young players we can turn around and sell, but not exclusively. Liam Bridcutt didn’t ‘fit the model’, nor did McGrandles, and yet both were key reasons we did well last season. You can only develop youngsters with the help of experienced professionals and good people.
Obviously, my first port of call this morning was Wyscout. I didn’t need it to know who Maguire was, obviously, but I was interested to see how his stats measured up against a few of our own players. All stats are ‘per game’, rather than totals because Maguire’s input at Sunderland was limited to 11 league starts.
On average, Chris Maguire had 2.68 shots per game, with a 32.8% accuracy rate. This does compare favourably with many of our own attackers: for instance, Tom Hopper had 1.09 per game, with a 41.3% accuracy. Jorge Grant, boosted by those penalties, had 1.65 per game with a 43.2% accuracy, whilst Morgan Rogers had 1.83 on target with an accuracy rate of 30.2%.
In total. Maguire had eight goals and five assists from 1950 minutes, so he had a hand in a goal, either scoring or assisting, every 150 minutes. Jorge Grant had 27 goals and assists from 4422 minutes, so a hand in something every 163 minutes. Up top, Tom Hopper was 15 goals and assists from 3797 minutes, or once every 253 minutes, whilst Morgan Rogers had seven goals and assists, one every 372 minutes. Whilst Maguire might not seem prolific, his goal involvements were more frequent than any of the attacking players I’ve picked out from the Imps squad. For the record, Brennan Johnson was every 248 minutes (17 from 4222) and Anthony Scully 153 minutes (22 from 3374).
The two areas we need to add value are scoring and creating, so I wanted to look at Maguire’s construction of attacks too. We know he chipped in with assists, but how was his forward passing, shot assisting etc.? His passing was certainly at the level you’d expect, averaging 45 passes per game with an 80.8% success rate. He also got 3.65 crosses into the box per game, a number I really like the look of. Also, he created 1.8 shots for a teammate per game and picked up 2.86 touches in the box.
As there are a few stats for this area, I thought I’d compare him to Rogers and Jorge Grant, the two players I think we might see Maguire offering an alternative to now they’ve left. Grant’s stats for passing were 46.28 per game with an 80.7% success rate, so almost identical to Maguire. He crossed far less but rarely played out on the flank, so perhaps unfair to compare that figure. Grant did create 1.75 shot assists for a teammate too, which makes his construction numbers virtually the same as Maguire’s. Remember, many of Grant’s assists came from his wicked dead-ball delivery. Rogers played out wide, and I can see Maguire doing the same, so how does the 32-year-old stack up against the £8m man? Rogers made fewer passes per game, 27.75, with a 74.7% completion rate. He crossed 1.21 times per game and created 0.93 shots per game for a teammate. Maguire’s figures align quite closely with Regan Poole, who averaged 2.82 crosses per game in terms of crossing.
I know there will be some out there who see the capture of a 32-year-old cast aside by a rival as underwhelming, but the stats do look very promising. I don’t see this as a Steve Torpey or Paul Connor signing, us grabbing a player past his prime and on a downward trajectory. If anything, it is more akin to Jamie Forrester, a player with a great footballing brain and plenty to offer despite being past the age of 30. Time will tell, but I know that Chris Maguire is as good as anyone in the division when he is on form. The key is for Michael to use their relationship to ensure we see him on form more often than not.