“Incredibly average” – Why these Crystal Palace fans are so wrong about reported target

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

The Sutton and Croydon Guardian reported earlier this week that Crystal Palace were lining up a £20m bid for Fulham midfielder Jean Seri, and it’s fair to say that the rumour didn’t go down well with some Palace fans.

Eagles supporters were quick to take to Twitter to have their say on the link to the Ivory Coast international, who is currently representing his country at the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

While many weren’t convinced about the potential fee for the former Nice man, others simply weren’t happy with the potential of the 27-year-old arriving at Selhurst Park.

One individual even described him as “incredibly average”.

It might be time to eat some humble pie then, when you look at how the African midfielder performed last season compared to some of Palace’s main men.

It’s fair to say that Seri’s return of one goal and three assists in 32 Premier League appearances for the relegated side was far from impressive, given he netted seven and set up 10 more in 34 outings for Nice in 2016/17.

In addition, he found himself on the substitutes’ bench more often than not in the latter stages of the campaign.

Still, while he may have been a disappointment in some regards, a look at the number of key passes he made for the Cottagers last term suggest that there could be some value in the potential £20m bid from Palace.

The midfielder made an average of 1.8 key passes per game, according to WhoScored, to suggest that he did make an impact in the final third.

That total must be lower than the likes of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha though? Wrong.

Both of those attacking players were level with Luka Milivojevic on 1.6, while another central midfielder in James McArthur came in at an average of 0.9 per game.

It’s clear to see that there wasn’t a great deal of creativity from the middle of the park from Palace’s players last season, and Seri’s numbers in a team that went down are impressive.

The 27-year-old certainly looks to have the ability to make a difference for the south London outfit in the middle of the mark, and his ability to make those key passes would surely help Palace both home and away.

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To be better in that respect than every Eagles player last season isn’t something that should be sniffed at.

Far from “incredibly average”, then.

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