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72% defensive duels won: The 22-year-old colossus closing in on a move to Burnley

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Championship outfit Burnley are closing in on a move for Oxford United centre-back Luke McNally, as per yesterday’s Patreon report from reporter Alan Nixon.

According to the same journalist, the deal to take him from the Kassam Stadium is around the £2m mark with the 22-year-old set to come in as Vincent Kompany’s second signing of the summer following the arrival of Scott Twine from another League One side in MK Dons.

The Clarets are seemingly keen on bolstering their options in central defence with Manchester City’s CJ Egan-Riley and Taylor Harwood-Bellis also on the verge of arriving at Turf Moor, additions that could go a long way in filling the void James Tarkowski will leave.

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Tarkowski is set to link up with Everton on the expiration of his contract as he looks to give himself the best possible chance of being in Gareth Southgate’s England squad – and Ben Mee’s departure is also a blow for the relegated side in their quest to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

There may be scepticism surrounding the arrival of McNally because of the fact he doesn’t have any experience in the top two tiers of English football and has only spent one season in the EFL going into next term.

But his 2021/22 statistics show why Kompany has pushed for this agreement – and we take a deeper look into them below.

The most impressive stat that stands out is the fact he won 72% of his defensive duels last term, proving to be a solid figure at the back for Karl Robinson’s side and shining against most third-tier attackers as he asserted his dominance.

Not only did he win plenty of battles on the floor but also came out on top in 65% of his aerial duels – a promising percentage that could make him a real asset from set-pieces next season and beyond – both defensively and offensively.

Scoring four goals in 30 league appearances for the U’s during 2021/22, he will only get better in the opposition’s box with more experience and that could end up being the ‘get out of jail free card’ needed to get the Clarets out of trouble if they can’t break the deadlock in games.

That could be a problem against several sides with many in the second tier potentially happy to sit back against a strong outfit like Kompany’s men, especially now they have a considerable attacking force in Twine at their disposal.

Technically, McNally is also an asset, making more than two progressive runs on average per game last season as he managed to get forward well, retaining the ball well too as he completed 55.9% of his dribbles and completed 82.1% of his passes.

It’s currently unclear whether he will have the same license to roam forward next term and he certainly wouldn’t if Kompany plays a back four – but his defensive contributions along make him a worthwhile signing.

Not only is he effective, making an average of over five interceptions and five clearances per match, but also remains disciplined. Conceding less than one foul per game throughout 2021/22 (0.87), he’s certainly someone they can rely on to minimise the concessions of penalties and dangerous free-kicks, making him the ideal addition.

Statistics courtesy of wyscout.com


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 72% defensive duels won: The 22-year-old colossus closing in on a move to Burnley

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