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Everton-linked Vitaliy Mykolenko would provide Rafa Benitez with an alternative option at left-back to Lucas Digne
Everton are interested in signing Vitaliy Mykolenko but how does the Dynamo Kiev player compare to Lucas Digne and other Premier League left-backs?
One Goodison Park source told the ECHO that Mykolenko has been high on the club’s wishlist for months and Everton could make their move in next month’s January transfer window with Rafa Benitez’s only senior left-back Lucas Digne being out of the squad for the last three matches.
Mykolenko is Digne’s junior by almost six years but there are several other differences in the pair’s respective profiles.
Given that Digne is a left-back who likes to get forward and his deployment within Benitez’s tactics have become a talking point during his recent absence, some of his statistics compared to Mykolenko this season make interesting reading.
Comparisonator shows that while Mykolenko is attempting fewer crosses per game than Digne (2.58 to 3), those crosses are more successful (0.73 to 0.57).
The Ukrainian international, capped 21 times so far, also boasts better passing parameters per 90 minutes than the Frenchman for passes (63.16 to 47.79); successful passes (55.07 to 36.77); received passes (46.99 to 28.4); key passes (1.19 to 0.5) and successful key passes (0.4 to 0.29).
Only when going long, does Digne have higher passing figures: 1.57 to 1.46 for long passes attempted and 0.79 to 0.40 for successful long passes.
If Benitez is looking for a greater contribution from Digne in defensive situations, it’s illuminating to see that he has made more interceptions than Mykolenko (6.3 to 3.84); more defensive actions (17.96 to 12.99) and successful defensive actions (14.17 to 9.61).
There have been more lapses though for the current Everton player with 1.5 ball losses in his own half per game compared to the Dynamo man’s 1.06, with 0.86 of these leading to a shot within 20 seconds compared to Mykolenko’s 0.53.
While Digne is ahead in all six duels parameters between the pair (aerial, aerial won, defensive, defensive won, offensive, offensive won), Mykolenko has been posting higher numbers for shots (1.06 to 0.57); shots on target (0.2 to 0.07); dribbles (1.46 to 1.22); successful dribbles (0.73 to 0.64); attacking actions (5.1 to 4.79); successful attacking actions (1.66 to 1.29) and touches in the box (1.46 to 1.22).
In terms of context though, it’s worth noting that these figures will be shaped by the fact that Mykolenko has been playing for a successful team in the Ukraininan League while Digne has been turning out for a struggling Premier League outfit.
Despite Digne’s recent absence from the Everton side, when it comes to defensive tables of Premier League left-backs, he’s second in the whole division behind Burnley’s Charlie Taylor for interceptions this season with 88 (6.3 per game) with the pair in the same positions for successful defensive actions (Digne has 198, that’s 14.7 per game).
If imported into the Premier League in a ‘virtual transfer’, Mykolenko’s figures in such field would rank him at 16 for interceptions and 17 for successful defensive actions.
When it comes to offensive tables, Digne finds himself third in the Premier League for expected assists (3.38 or 0.24 per game) behind Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw.
Again, when importing Mykolenko into the Premier League, he’d come in at fourth on an overall defensive index behind Joao Cancelo of Manchester City, Tyrick Mitchell of Crystal Palace and the aforementioned Taylor of Burnley which is perhaps an indicator of why he has caught Benitez’s eye.