THE BREAKDOWN: Manyama, Mekoa, Lebese – Who Should Be Downs’ Priority?
WHich players should Sundowns chase?
Mamelodi Sundowns are on the lookout for a top-quality attacking player and have identified Lebogang Manyama, Deolin Mekoa and George Lebese as potential targets. However, given the choice between the three, who would be the best option?
In Soccer Laduma issue number 1030, the Siya crew revealed that Aubrey Ngoma’s injury could open the dorr for Sundowns to target Mekoa and Lebese, while it has also been reported that Cape Town City’s attacking midfielder has had a R14.4 million price tag and, considering that price, Sundowns will have to ask themselves if he is the best man out there to add impetus to their attack. Manyama’s performances last season, which saw him score the league’s best of 13 goals, effectively render him as an ideal candidate between the three.
However, his price tag could make the Brazilians hesitant when it comes to the necessity a potential signing, especially given that they need to fill the void left by Keagan Dolly on the left wing. So, let’s take a look at what the stats say when it comes to deciding between the three.
Looking at last season’s statistics, if Downs want an offensive threat, Manyama is the player to target. His 13 goals scored is, more than double the other two players combined, as he also averaged more non-penalty goals per 90. He also attempted more final third passes, open play crosses, shot assists and shots on a per 90 basis – and his shot accuracy and conversion rates were also higher. Lebese did average more passes per 90 and was more successful with his crosses, while Mekoa led the set in assists. Although, both Manyama and Lebese did have more shot assists per 90.
Effectively Manyama is the superior player when it comes to the threat that he provides in front of goal. However, the likes of Percy Tau, Themba Zwane and Khama Billiat have also proven capable of finding the back of the net with seven, eight and eight goals to their names respectively last season. Where Sundowns were found wanting last season, with numerous players inconsistently occupying the role, was an effective, natural left winger that could provide the creative impetus for players like Tau and Billiat to use as a platform for scoring goals. Therefore, Pitso Mosimane needs to make a judgement call on what he wants to prioritise. Would it be another in a line of goalscoring stars that he wants to bring on board, or would he like to bring in a player that can offer something different?
Which of these three players would you like to see Sundowns sign?