An explosive season in Serie A catapulted Andrea Belotti to his best-ever goal return and linked him to several top clubs in Italy and abroad, with the likes of AC Milan and Chelsea contemplating a move for Torino’s number nine. We’ll take a look at some reasons why the Italian has entered the discussion by comparing him with other top-scorers in Europe.
Note: When mentioning Europe, we are comparing a specific player against all statistics taken from the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and Portuguese Primeira Liga.
A €100 million release clause tells you everything you need to know about how highly Torino rate their top-scoring ‘Rooster’, who joined the club from Palermo for €7.5 million in 2015.
Though season 2016/17 was just his third in the Italian top-flight, Andrea Belotti has rapidly established himself as a household name amongst strikers in the division.
His tally of 26 strikes from 35 appearances saw him finish as Torino’s top hitman, and was only bettered in Serie A by Dries Mertens (28 goals in 35 games) and Edin Dzeko (29 goals in 37 appearances).
Andrea Belotti achieved a career-high goal tally with predatory instincts in the six-yard area, providing a significant threat from set-pieces and proving a nuisance to opposition markers with his strength in the air.
In fact, Andrea Belotti scored more headed goals than any other player in Serie A, with 10, and second amongst players in Europe. The most came from Sporting CP’s Bas Dost, who scored 12.
Belotti was also one of the two most lethal poachers in Europe from last season, with 12 of his 26 strikes coming from inside the six-yard box. The other was the player we looked at recently, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
However, the Italian proved to be a highly inefficient shooter of the ball last season, hitting the target with just 49 of his 130 attempts on goal. The 23-year-old hit the target with every 0.38 attempts on goal in Serie A, well below the accuracy ratios for the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín (0.48), Edin Dzeko (0.46) and Dries Mertens (0.45).
The Italian international’s rather average accuracy ratio may be more of a reflection on his decision making than actual shooting ability, though.
Belotti employs a shoot-on-sight policy that ranks him inside the top 15 players in Europe for shot volume, in 12th. 33 attempts from outside the area across 35 appearances might not sound like much, but it harms his overall productivity when considering he scored with only one of those attempts.
Otherwise, Andrea Belotti scored with every 0.53 shots on target, or, in other words, he found the net at a rate slightly better than every second attempt which tested the goalkeeper.
In this department, Andrea Belotti compares well against his Serie A rivals. His numbers rank better than other prolific scorers such as Dries Mertens (0.42), Gonzalo Higuaín (0.38), Ciro Immobile (0.38) and Edin Dzeko (0.36).
Only Inter Milan talisman Mauro Icardi ranks above Belotti in this area, boasting a goal with every 0.63 shots on target (scored 24 goals in Serie A with 38 shots on target).
Lastly, and perhaps most distinctly for the in-demand forward, Andrea Belotti scored more goals from set-pieces than any other player in Europe, with eight. His timing, movement and physical prowess in such situations makes him a nightmare for defenders, ensuring they can never afford to take their eyes off the Italian.
As prolific as Andrea Belotti has proven across 2016/17, is he worth the lavish figures being thrown around the media? Time will tell whether any of the rumours substantialize, such as Chelsea’s reported interest in splashing £90 million on the player, but Belotti nonetheless has a bright and promising future ahead of him.