Neymar v Lautaro Martinez: Who should Barcelona sign?

By Sports Desk March 27, 2020

Football may be on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Barcelona are reportedly already planning their transfer business ahead of the window reopening.

The LaLiga champions have been short of options up top this term as a result of injury lay-offs for Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele and reinforcements are being sought.

Two players continue to be continually linked with a switch, with Barca supposedly torn between a move for Inter striker Lautaro Martinez or ex-Camp Nou favourite Neymar.

Martinez has once again starred for Inter this season and the possibility of a move to Catalonia has been talked up by compatriot Lionel Messi.

But speaking earlier this week, Rivaldo claimed Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar would be a better option for his former club given his added experience.

Using Opta stats, we compare the form of the two players in all competitions this season and establish just who would be the better signing for Barcelona.

 

GOALS

Whoever Barcelona bring in to lead the line, they will need to have the ability to link up with others in the final third and continue getting the best out of star man Messi.

But first and foremost, Quique Setien's side need a goalscorer that can find the net and make a difference in key games.

Both Neymar and Martinez have the ability to do just that, scoring 18 and 16 goals respectively in all competitions this term.

However, Neymar has played nine games fewer than Martinez, giving him a minutes-per-goal ratio of 106 compared to 152.


ALL-ROUND ABILITY

There is little between the two players in terms of where their goals are scored, each netting two apiece from strikes outside the penalty box this term.

Neymar is comfortable using both feet to find the net, though, using his left foot seven times and his right 10 times to beat the opposition goalkeeper.

Inter striker Martinez, by comparison, has only managed a couple of goals with his weaker left.

But the Argentina international is better in the air, the stats suggest, given he has scored three headed goals in 2019-20 - two more than Neymar.

#Lukaku and #Lautaro

Ready to take Turin by storm #FORZAINTER #TorinoInter pic.twitter.com/BWhT6Gg5TM

— Inter (@Inter_en) November 23, 2019 ASSISTS

The deciding factor in which of the two players Barcelona should sign may well come down to their relationship with Messi.

Neymar knows Messi well from his previous four-year stint at Camp Nou, while Martinez regularly links up with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner at international level.

In terms of pure team play, this is another category Neymar edges having assisted nine goals this season, with Martinez lagging behind on two.

 

BIG GAME CREDENTIALS

If Barcelona are to spend a nine-figure sum on a player, they will expect to be reimbursed with goals in big matches and at key moments in games.

It is arguably Martinez's form on the biggest club stage of them all, the Champions League, that has fuelled rumours of a move to Barcelona.

The 22-year-old scored in four successive Champions League games during the group stage, making him the fifth Argentinian player to do so, though it was not enough to prevent Inter from exiting the competition.

PSG remain alive and well in the competition and that is in large down to Neymar, who scored in both legs of the last-16 comeback win against Borussia Dortmund.

In fact, since joining the French giants in 2017, Neymar has been involved in a goal every 70 minutes in UEFA's showpiece competition.

It is that ability to have a say on the biggest matches, plus his individual brilliance and underrated ability to set up others, which just gives Neymar the edge over Martinez at this moment in time.

Related items

  • Four players and club president dead in Brazilian football plane crash tragedy Four players and club president dead in Brazilian football plane crash tragedy

    Four footballers from Brazilian club Palmas were among six people who died in a plane crash on Sunday.

    The tragedy happened as the players from the Serie D club headed to a Copa Verde match against Vila Nova in Goiania.

    Palmas announced the deaths of the players and club president Lucas Meira, as well as the pilot of the aircraft.

    The Copa Verde game had been due to be played on Monday, with Palmas having won through to the last-16 stage by beating Real Noroeste on Wednesday.

    Palmas said in a statement posted on their Twitter page: "Palmas Futebol e Regatas is hereby informing that at around 8:15am on this Sunday, the 24th, there was an air accident involving the president of the club Lucas Meira, when he was leaving for Goiania, for the Copa Verde match between Vila Nova and Palmas on Monday 25.

    "The plane on which Lucas was with [pilot] Commander Wagner and athletes Lucas Praxedes, Guilherme Noe, Ranule and Marcus Molinari, took off and fell at the end of the runway of the Tocantins Association of Aviation.

    "We are sorry to inform you that there are no survivors. In this moment of pain and dismay, the club asks for prayers for the relatives to whom it will provide the necessary support."

    The club said it was an "inestimable loss", adding: "We appreciate the expressions of support and affection in this moment of pain."

    Chapecoense, the club left devastated by a November 2016 plane crash that caused the deaths of many of their players and staff, were quick to offer support.

    They said in a statement: "It is with deep sadness that we received the news of the crash of the plane that took the athletes and the president of Palmas.

    "Unfortunately, we know what this moment of insurmountable pain from irreparable losses is like and we would like no other team to have to feel the same.

    "In the face of this, however, we express our feeling of strength and our total solidarity with family members, friends, team-mates and fans. You will not go through this alone."

    The Brazilian Football Confederation [CBF] expressed its sorrow at the news.

    It said: "Deeply dismayed, CBF sympathises with the families of the victims of the plane crash. Our feelings also go to all the members of the club and to the fans of Palmas."

    The CBF said a minute's silence would take place before all matches in Brazil on Sunday, adding that the Copa Verde match involving Palmas would be rescheduled for a later date.

  • Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool: Fernandes free-kick settles superb cup tie Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool: Fernandes free-kick settles superb cup tie

    Bruno Fernandes came off the bench to settle a thrilling FA Cup fourth-round encounter as Manchester United overcame Liverpool 3-2 at Old Trafford.

    Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford turned the game in United's favour after Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool ahead in the 18th minute.

    Salah's second of a pulsating contest levelled matters once more with Liverpool looking the more likely to prevail thereafter.

    However, the introduction of talisman Fernandes proved a masterstroke as he arrowed a low free-kick into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the area to set up a fifth-round tie with West Ham.

     

  • De Jong 'not sure' if Barcelona can still win LaLiga De Jong 'not sure' if Barcelona can still win LaLiga

    Frenkie de Jong is unsure of Barcelona's title credentials despite their improving LaLiga form.

    De Jong scored the opener and created a late second for substitute Riqui Puig during Sunday's 2-0 win at Elche.

    That made it four wins out of four for Barca in Spain's top flight since the turn of the year, although they will be 10 points behind Atletico Madrid having played a game more if the leaders are able to beat Valencia in Sunday's late kick-off.

    "I'm not sure," he told LaLiga TV when asked whether Ronald Koeman's side are back in the title race.

    "We have to win our games and we'll see where we end up towards the end of the season."

    Nevertheless, the Netherlands midfielder has no doubt Barca are an improved side after a tough start to life under his former national team boss Koeman.

    "Since the new year we're a lot better and we've played most of the games away from home and won all of them in LaLiga. We're in a better moment," De Jong said.

    "I think [beating Elche] will do us good, we've worked hard, especially now in the new year. We're growing and improving as a team and hopefully we can keep improving."

    De Jong's tally of five goals across his season-and-a-half with Barca has already bettered his total of Eredivisie strikes for Ajax (four) across five campaigns, and the 23-year-old also feels that the imperative to improve applies to him personally, even after a man-of-the-match display.

    "Yes, I do think I can play better but it’s not only about goals and assists," he added. "Of course I'm happy but there's more to come."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.