News emanating out of Spain this week suggests Luis Suarez will soon be on his way to Juventus. After six years at Barcelona, four as La Liga Champions, his time at the club seems to have come to an end. Incoming manager, Ronald Koeman, notified both Suarez and Vidal they have no future with him at the club.

Breakdown of Luis Suárez's attacking numbers from his last 6 seasons at Barcelona. Data as of Sun, 30 August 2020.

At thirty-three years old the concern will be for Juventus that adding another forward at the tail end of their career. Although, traditionally Serie A was seen as the place for forwards as the final destination of their career.

Matches are more tactical, less physical which are less physically intense than the Premier League. This sees older forwards such as Antonio Di Natale, Luca Toni and Fabio Quagliarella win Serie A’s top scorer award; ‘Capocannoniere‘.

It was very clear watching Bayern Munich this season and Liverpool the one prior, the importance of athleticism in the UEFA Champions League. Suarez and Ronaldo will likely maintain the status quo in Serie A of Juventus winning the Scudetto. But are they the players who can end the other status quo; the Champions League eluding Juve for nearly twenty-five years.

Luis Suarez to Juventus: Looking at his career numbers

Luis Suárez's career minutes played (orange bar), goals scored (black line) and assists (gold line) in all competitions for Groningen, Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona. Data as of Sun, 30 August 2020.
Luis Suárez’s career minutes played (orange bar), goals scored (black line) and assists (gold line) in all competitions for Groningen, Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona. Data as of Sun, 30 August 2020.

When looking at Suarez’s numbers over his entire career in all competitions there are two clear peaks in 2009/10 and 2015/16. Aside from these, there is no alarming decline in his numbers. Although, the drop off in his minutes played this season could be a concern.

Moving average of Open-Play Non-Penalty Goal Involvement and percentage of over/under performance of xG for Luis Suárez over the last six seasons. Data as of Sun, 30 August 2020.

However, if you isolate only his La Liga performances and look for trends over a seven-game moving average, a decline becomes more apparent.

That one peak in 2019/20, where he had twelve goal involvements in seven games against Leganes, Atletico, Mallorca, Sociedad, Madrid, Alaves and Espanyol, accounts for amount of his 2019/20 numbers.

Luis Suarez to Juventus: Expected Goal Involvements Decline

The concern then is to what extent that one period where he massively outperformed his expected goal involvement is masking his underlying numbers?

Moving average of Open-Play Expected Goal Involvement for Luis Suárez over the last six seasons. Data as of Sun, 30 August 2020.

If we just map expected goal involvements from open play, the decline immediately becomes very apparent.

Luis Suarez has been on a steady decline since entering his 30’s at the end of the 2015/16 season. He returned from the Coronavirus lockdown performing well below the levels of a La Liga average forward.

So, Juventus are signing a big name who due to his physical decline may only offer league average performances.

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All data used in our articles is sourced from Understat, FBRef, Sofascore, Transfermarkt and 538.

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