Manuel Veth –
Jonathan David has been unbelievable both for his country, Canada but also his club side KAA Gent. With 11 goals in ten games for Canada, the 19-year-old striker is already eighth in the all-time goalscoring list for his country, and it will only be a matter of time until he surpasses the 22 goals scored by Dwayne De Rosario between 1997 and 2015.
David’s numbers have been equally impressive for his club side KAA Gent this season. The 19-year-old Canadian striker has scored nine goals and five assists in 14 games across all competitions. Jonathan David has been involved in 44% of Gent’s goals this season. As a result, David was recently re-evaluated at €15 million by Transfermarkt, which makes him the most valuable Canadian national team player ahead of Bayern’s Alphonso Davies, who has a current market value of €10 million.
For Gent this means that they are now in possession of a valuable commodity. Indeed there have been rumours about transfer offers and a possible move to the Bundesliga. A year ago David was linked with a transfer to Bayer Leverkusen, but his latest transfer evaluation and Gent’s refusal to sell for anything less than €22 million eliminates many Bundesliga sides from the running.
Jonathan David and Robert Lewandowski compared
One side that has been brought up by many Canada fans has been Bayern Munich. The argument is that Bayern will need to sign a replacement for aging Robert Lewandowski sooner or later and that David could be in the running to join the club. Thus far there have been, however, no indications that Bayern have made an offer or are even interested. But it is nonetheless a fun exercise, like playing casino games on Casumo.com, to debate whether David could fit in at the Bavarian giants.
First of all, make no mistake, Lewandowski will be going nowhere anytime soon. The 31-year-old Polish striker is in the form of his life and has scored nine goals in the first five Bundesliga games this season.
Nonetheless, it is always fascinating to compare two players at the very top of the game. In fact, the two forwards are not that far apart when comparing their performances this season (with the caveat that Jonathan David scores his goals in Concacaf and the Belgian Jupiler Pro League).
In the key statistic, goals per 90 minutes, the two forwards have been remarkably effective. Lewandowski has scored 0.97 goals per 90 minutes across all competitions this year, and David managed 0.9. The Canadian striker has been the more effective of the two by managing his output with just 2.76 shots per 90 minutes, in comparison, Lewandowski has averaged 4.07 shots per 90 minutes. As a result, David’s goal conversion rate at 32.643% is higher than Lewandowski’s 23.913%.
Bonus points for the Canadian but then again he managed to collect his numbers in Belgian. But at the same time, David has been lethal despite not playing as classical number 9 at times this season. Both for Gent and Canada Jonathan David has been forced to play out-wide.
It is typical for young players to play several positions as they force their way into the starting XI. Perhaps what is remarkable though, is that for David that has meant a higher output in key production areas. The Canadian completed more passes this season per 90 minutes than Lewandowski 83.79% vs. 76.87% and had more assists 0.68 vs. 0.18 per 90 minutes. Surprisingly, given his more central position, Lewandowski averages more dribbles per 90 minutes (4.16) then David (4.06) but the Canadian completed 59.72% of his dribble attempts and the Polish striker just 53.19%.
The final factor is productivity based on area. Looking at the two players’ heat maps, what stands out that both cover large parts of the field. But Lewandowski is more active, and arguably also more dangerous, in the final third and the penalty box, while also still covering both wings despite not playing in those areas.
Overall, there is no doubt that Lewandowski is the better of the two players on current skills and goal production. But David has time on his side, the 19-year-old is only playing his second season in Europe and has already made significant steps in his development. Based on David’s numbers produced in Belgium, there is no doubt that he could make the step to the Bundesliga and perhaps even Bayern.
In terms of positional play and his development ceiling he would be an exciting signing for any Bundesliga club and could even become a replacement, if he keeps up his current development, for Lewandowski at Bayern in a few years where he could join Canada teammate Davies to form a great attacking line.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.