Why Watford Are Wise to Sign Hassane Kamara

With 18 matches played and a clean sheet yet to be achieved, Watford must bring in defensive reinforcements to bolster chances of Premier League survival. With only three points separating 20th-placed Norwich and 17th-placed Watford and only two points separating the Hornets from 18th-placed Burnley, Gino Pozzo must look at the January transfer window as the way to increase those gaps. Fortunately for Watford supporters, it seems as if the defensive reinforcements will be coming, with a notable left-back arriving likely to be shrewd business. 

Watford Reportedly Sign Hassane Kamara: What the Statistics Say

Left-Back Troubles

Even though center-back woes have been a main focus amongst pundits when discussing Watford, the left-back position has not helped any better defensively. Danny Rose is struggling to adapt to life back in the Premier League after his fallout at Tottenham. The much hoped-for return to full fitness is yet to occur. A horrific match against Manchester City, where he showed Bernardo Silva onto his stronger left foot, led to him being dropped in the subsequent match for 21-year-old right-back Jeremy Ngakia. Adam Masina has been a mixed bag this season. With frequent injury issues popping up and extra matches needing to be played – leading to fixture congestion later in the season – the need for a new left-back is clear.

Watford Set to Sign Hassane Kamara

According to Adam Leventhal of The Athletic, Watford have agreed on a deal for OGC Nice left-back Hassane Kamara. 

He initially signed for Nice in 2020, from Stade Reims, for a fee in the region of £3.5 million. After starring for Stade Reims, he picked up where he left off in the 2020/21 season, starting almost all of Nice’s matches and performing well. However, as Nice signed Melvin Bard this summer, the young left-back has been taking considerable minutes from Kamara, opening up the door for a transfer away.

Well-Rounded Defender With Attacking Acumen

According to FBref.com, when compared to all fullbacks in the top five major European Leagues in the past 365 days, Kamara ranks impressively in most metrics. His 1.11 shots per match ranks in the 91st percentile (for the given category above, as all statistics discussed will be in comparison to), while his goals-per-shot-on-target rate of 50% ranks in the 84th percentile. 

When it comes to passing consistency, he ranks between the 64th and 77th percentile for passes completed per match, pass completion percentage, total passing distance per match, passes into the penalty area per match, and crosses into the penalty area per match. Neither Rose nor Masina find themselves above the 44thpercentile in any of these statistics (and are significantly below that mark for most), showing Kamara’s passing ability significantly exceeds Watford’s current left-backs respective current abilities. Having more certainty when trying to build out from the back is a must for the Hornets, and Kamara will help provide that. Slotting in the 73rd percentile for dribble completion percentage and players dribbled past per match, his dribbling is also easy to rely on, further backing the claim of his reliability when in possession. 

Ranking above the 80th percentile for both tackles and pressures in the final third per 90 minutes, he will provide the pressing intensity that Claudio Ranieri demands from his players. Placing in the middle of the pack for most other defensive statistics while also impressing with 52.2% of dribblers tackled (70th percentile), Kamara will certainty bring defensive stability into the backline.

When looking at the statistics, Kamara does not overly-excel in one category while sacrificing another. He is above average in almost every metric that deserves consideration. What Watford need is consistency and reliability in the backline for the second half of the campaign: Kamara provides both of those.  

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