What the stats say about new Luton Town signing Alfie Doughty
Joining as Luton Town's first arrival of the summer transfer window, Alife Doughty will be hoping to kick on and be a success at Kenilworth Road.
The 22-year-old, who was a target for the Hatters 18 months ago, arrives as someone who will seemingly provide Amari'i Bell with competition at left-wing-back. However, this is not set in stone as it remains to be seen if a five-at-the-back system will once again be implemented.
Nathan Jones' comments upon Doughty's arrival made for interesting reading. As seen via the club's official website, the Welshman stated that adding the young, left-sided player means that he could "utilise Amari’i’s strengths better," so, it will be interesting to see what he means by that.
Looking at the numbers from his season last time out, here is a breakdown of what the data suggests that Hatters can look forward to...
Looking at his progressive abilities, his accelerations per 90, dribbles per 90 and progressive runs per 90 stand very high, acting as an indication that Doughty is someone who will get at his man and look to commit, as opposed to a James Bree kind of full-back who looks to advance the play using his excellent passing range. This can be displayed by Doughty's passing statistics too, with the 22-year-old well below average accurate passes and passes per 90 figures.
Interestingly, and despite appearing to be a more attack-minded wing-back option to Amari'i Bell, Doughty ranks high in both his defensive duels per 90 and his successful defensive actions percentage too, however, he only managed shy of 700 minutes of Championship action last season, something that probably explains the varied nature of the data.
Doughty's possession-adjusted interceptions are also at a high level, which will certainly help, as he is walking into a Luton side who are aggressive and intelligent when out of possession, whilst it means that the Hatters can break out with pace.
Now, circling back to Jones' comments about having "utilise Amari’i’s strengths better," and then when combined with the above data, could suggest that the Welshman is considering the full-back as a left-sided centre-back option.Excelling when it comes to aerial duels won, defensive duels won and successful defensive actions, this could be exactly what Jones is hinting at.
Looking at some of the lower percentages that Bell returns, crosses per 90 and accelerations per 90 stand out for me when considering he has been operating as a wing-back for the majority of the campaign. When considering that these are areas that Doughty thrives in, then it once again suggests that Bell could be tasked with being deployed on the left side of a back three.
Another possibility that this data supports, and what Jones' comments could also suggest is that Bell may find himself as a left-back within a solid back four, with Doughty seen as more of an attacking option in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 variation.
The signing of Doughty certainly provides Jones with an additional element of flexibility, whilst it could help lighten the load for Bell who was seemingly the only serious left-wing-back option at the club last season.