Celtic News: The statistics behind new signing Osaze Urhoghide

  • John  Reid
New Celtic signing Osaze Urhoghide in action for Sheffield Wednesday

At the very start of July, Celtic made Osaze Urhoghide their first signing of the summer, snapping up the defender from Sheffield Wednesday (BBC Sport).

What's the latest transfer news involving Osaze Urhogide?

The 21-year-old joined the Hoops on a free contract from the Owls, and his capture was hailed by recently appointed Bhoys manager Ange Postecoglou. 

What did the Celtic boss say about his recent signing?

"He’s a modern defender. He’s good athletically, he’s mobile, he’s quick and he wants to get on the ball. He can play a couple of different positions, and from our perspective, and the way we want to play our football, there are certain things I look for in players irrespective of age, and he’s got some really good attributes to be a top defender," he said (official Celtic website).

Postecoglou's remarks about the starlet playing in a few different positions are certainly intriguing. Transfermarkt suggests that Urhoghide can play in the centre of defence, left-back and right-back. Postecoglou will be looking to find the former Hillsborough man's best position as soon as possible.

Last season, Urhoghide played 17 games for Sheffield Wednesday, with 14 of those at centre-back (Transfermarkt). That suggests the Championship side thought that his best position by far was in the middle of defence. 

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How does the 21-year-old compare to his new teammates?

So based on stats from WhoScored, how does Urhoghide compare to the centre-backs who were at Celtic last season?

In league games, Urhoghide had an average of 1.8 tackles per game. That was more than Christopher Jullien (1.2), Shane Duffy (0.8), Kristoffer Ajer (1.3) and Stephen Welsh (1).

When it comes to interceptions, Urhoghide fairs well with an average of 1.6 per game. He is pushed close on this occasion by Welsh (1.5) Duffy, (1.2), Jullien (1.2) and Ajer (1.4).

Another aspect of the game which is key for a defender is aerial battles won. In the Championship, Urhoghide fared well with an average of 3 per game. However, that was on the low side compared to his new teammates.

He was beaten in this attribute by Ajer (3.2), Duffy (5.8), Jullien (5.1) and Welsh (3.7). Perhaps heading is something that Celtic will be working on with Urhoghide. 

Clearances are another core quality and it is interesting to see how Urhoghide compares. The recent arrival averages 2.7 clearances per game. That is not as many as Welsh (3.2), Jullien (3.6), Duffy (4.3) or Ajer (3.4)

Finally, pass accuracy is a good indicator of how well defenders can build from the back. Urhoghide's accuracy this season was at 68.4%, which could certainly be improved upon. Welsh was far more accurate for the Hoops, with 85.9%. Jullien also fared better, as his accuracy was 85.6% . Duffy's pass accuracy was 82.9% whilst Ajer's was 88.2%.

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What is the former Sheffield Wednesday man's best position?

Those statistics might suggest that as he was playing in a side near the bottom of the table, Urhoghide might have been busier in defence than he would be playing for Celtic. However, it can still be considered a promising sign that the player was willing to put in almost two tackles per game.

But the fact that he trails is new teammates in so many areas of the game shows that the Celtic coaching staff will have work to do with the player in the weeks and months ahead. 

The statistics suggest that if Urhoghide starts for the Hoops regularly this season, he would be better off playing at centre-back, as he can make as many challenges as those that featured for Celtic last term.

However, Postecoglou might feel that it is worth taking a chance playing Urhoghide at full-back to see how he fares. Only time will tell but in the long run, the player's best position looks to be at centre-back. 

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