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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Chelsea signing Morata or Manchester United landing Lukaku - which club got the better deal?

In a twist of fate, Chelsea and United appear to have signed the other's preferred target. We look at the stats to see who should be more satisfied.

Alvaro Morata, left, is set to lead Chelsea's attack next season while Romelu Lukaku, right, will be Manchester United's top striker. Press Association, Reuters
Alvaro Morata, left, is set to lead Chelsea's attack next season while Romelu Lukaku, right, will be Manchester United's top striker. Press Association, Reuters

As Chelsea close in on the signing of Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, the popular topic of debate centres on which set of fans should feel happier - those of the Premier League champions or Manchester United supporters after their club landed Romelu Lukaku.

In a twist of transfer fate, Chelsea are set to sign United's top striker target in Morata, while United concluded a deal for Chelsea's No 1 target last week.

Naturally the debate has focused on the credentials of both players as they prepare to lead their respective clubs' title charge next season.

To take a closer look, we delved into Opta stats and have provided a head-to-head look at Morata and Lukaku from last season.

Click through each category to see how they compare in each area:

One of the key stats that stand out is minutes per goal, with Morata scoring every 88.7 minutes compared to Lukaku who found the back of the net every 130.7 minutes. Of course, Morata was playing for Real Madrid where goalscoring chances come easier and more frequently than Lukaku would have enjoyed at Everton.

Meanwhile a look at the distribution stats shows only one winner. While Lukaku's 63 successful dribbles amount to one every 51.8 minutes compared to Morata's one every 60.5 minutes, the Spain striker's passing rate far surpasses the Belgian's.

Morata's passing accuracy of 78.8 per cent - and 73.3 per cent in the opposition half - compared to Lukaku's 65.5 per cent and 60.4 per cent shows the Spaniard as a more effective link-up player while rivalling Lukaku's finishing ability. Impressively, Morata drew as many fouls as Lukaku despite playing nearly 2,000 less minutes.

A basic look at the stats based on last season would suggest Chelsea as the winner in this transfer saga, but that would be to ignore the various factors that were at play. The fact Morata was playing for the best club in Europe while Lukaku was turning out for the seventh best team in England is important to consider.

However, a year from now both players would have spent a season leading the lines for two of England's biggest clubs. Only then will we start to see which club got the better deal.