What Federico Chiesa could bring to Liverpool

  • Liverpool are looking at all avenues for answers, and Italy is another option
  • Chiesa is a proven commodity on the international stage at a good cost
  • If he can stay healthy, he would be a very strong addition to Liverpool
Federico Chiesa of Italy gestures during the friendly match...
Federico Chiesa of Italy gestures during the friendly match... / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

This summer should bring a major philosophical shift for Liverpool as the club enters the Arne Slot era, and thus new players will be needed.

Truth be told, even if Jürgen Klopp were still in charge, the group currently at Anfield hasn't been getting the job done, and needs to be shaken up, so this summer is certainly a big one.

Mohamed Salah is all that remains of the iconic front three with which Liverpool won so many trophies, and even his time with the club must come to an end sooner rather than later.

So, given the need for forwards, let's talk about a candidate: Juventus's Federico Chiesa.

A very reasonable transfer fee

Word on the street is that the club's asking price for their explosive forward has dropped from around £51 million to £21 million as they haven't seen enough offers for their liking.

That could be great news for Liverpool, who aren't yet sure of their summer budget, as the fates of various current players are still being decided, as are the potential transfer fees for which they might be bought.

So how would Chiesa improve Liverpool's squad? As a winger, he carries the ball up the pitch effectively; his dribble success rate is similar to Darwin's on twice as much per-90 volume, while he lags a just bit behind the notably explosive Luis Diaz in both regards.

Chiesa hasn't been the most prolific player in terms of goalscoring, but let's again compare him to what the team already has.

He's played a combination of left wing and striker, favoring the former, making him a solid comparison for Liverpool's very own Darwin Núñez.

In league play this year, Serie A for Chiesa and of course the Premier League for Darwin, Chiesa registered nine goals at a rate of 0.37 per 90 minutes, compared to 11 at a rate of 0.48 per 90 for Darwin. On the surface, this makes it look like Chiesa would be a downgrade, but context is necessary here.

Firstly, the Premier League just had its highest-scoring season ever, while things in Serie A have trended quite in the opposite direction; Darwin was playing in a much more goal-friendly environment.

If you get more specific, it's not really fair to compare the amount of opportunities given to Jürgen Klopp's striker and those given to Max Allegri's wingers.

Were Chiesa plugged into the same Liverpool lineups, it's not hard to imagine that he would have been given more chances to score than he had at Juve.

Do the numbers support Chiesa's addition?

Now, let's look at everyone's favorite modern metric: xG. Specifically, we'll look at the gap between xG and actual goals scored as a rough estimate of the value of each player's finishing.

Over Darwin's two years at Liverpool, in Premier League action, he's scored 20 times via 28.4 xG, a really brutal negative gap.

By contrast, Chiesa's Juve tenure has seen him score 21 goals off of 16.2 xG, with a positive gap of 2.6 generated this past season alone.

Let's be fair to Darwin, he's not alone- Luis Díaz had a negative xG gap of 3.9 this Prem season, and even Mo Salah has underperformed xG in the past two seasons.

However, all that does is further underscore the value of Chiesa's finishing, and how transformative it could be to Liverpool's attack, which already creates plenty of goals.

Conversely, Diogo Jota has outproduced xG in each of the past two seasons. The Portuguese forward has missed plenty of time with injuries over that span, but any consistent Liverpool viewer will tell you that the attack has looked better and produced more when he's been able to stay in the lineup, another illustration of how positive finishing value could elevate a squad that seems to be on the precipice of much more than they've recently achieved.

Similarly to Jota, Chiesa does have his injury issues, which is why he only makes sense at the newly-decreased price tag.

He was more or less healthy this season, however; 33 Serie A matches and 25 starts, a level of participation that would certainly be worthy of the current reported asking price, if he's able to finish chances the way he did in Italy.