What makes Cunha so good that Atletico want over €50m for him after poor season? Explained

What makes Cunha so good that Atletico want over €50m for him after poor season? Explained

Multiple reports have emerged that Man United are interested in Atletico Madrid striker Matheus Cunha. The Spanish side demand at least €50m for the Brazil international.

The hitch is that he's not that prolific for a striker. Last season, Cunha only scored seven goals in 38 matches for the club - hardly the numbers to impress.

So, what makes him so valuable to Atletico? We've decided to examine Cunha's strengths, using the numbers on the popular stats service fbref.

A brief explainer: the higher the percentile number is, the better the player is in an aspect of play. It could also reflect a number of actions he makes - for example, a number of shots.

These numbers are per 90 minutes. Cunha is not a regular starter, so the sample size might not be the biggest - and it's not a guarantee he'll be as successful in a more prominent role.

The 23-year-old's numbers do not look too bad in comparison to other strikers. He is good at both scoring and assisting - although there is an area for improvement.

Cunha does not attempt too many passes or complete too many dribbles - which could mean that he is not of much help in the build-up. He has quite a lot of touches in the penalty area while also being capable of progressing the ball through passes and carries. Nothing too spectacular here, though.

Now, this makes United's interest in him logical. According to these numbers, Cunha might be one of the best forwards when it comes to working off the ball.

Erik ten Hag wants to build a team capable of pressing opponents high up the pitch. Cunha will fit that profile easily.

This is confirmed by some people who are familiar with his game from his time at Atletico, as well as at RB Leipzig and Hertha Berlin before that. Here's what they said on Twitter about the Man United target.

Kaustubh Pandey: "Cunha is a versatile pressing machine who works his socks off and really good in tight spaces. Has shown willingness to play in different systems as well. I'd rate this signing a lot."

Manuel Veth: "Matheus Cunha was okay for RB Leipzig and almost a non-entity for Hertha. Was decent in Spain for Atletico Madrid but you sense he never fulfilled his potential there either. Very talented player and he appears to fall upwards on the career ladder somehow."

UtdArena: "Cunha is a good profile: played across the front; links play; composed creator; aggressive carrier (Suarez-esque); v. hard worker. I can see him becoming a fan favourite. Atleti want £42m+. It’s a little too much but if it doesn’t prevent other signings then it’s fine."

Unfortunately for those who want to see Cunha at United, the player himself has shown little interest in a move to Old Trafford if the latest reports are to be believed. Still, it will be a situation to watch, especially if Atletico become closer to signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

AuthorMichael Ellis