Leeds United are reportedly interested in signing out-of-favour Birmingham City goalkeeper David Stockdale, according to a report from the Sunday People (17/11; page 50).
The 34-year-old goalkeeper has been on the fringes at Birmingham for the past two seasons, along with having a handful of loan spells in League One in that time.
The Leeds-born ‘keeper will be keen to move on in January having not made a Championship appearance since the 2017/18 season and Birmingham will probably be keen to move him off the wage bill with Lee Camp the current number one at St. Andrew’s.
Leeds could be in the market in January for a ‘keeper with Kiko Casilla potentially facing a minimum six-game ban for an alleged breach of FA Rule E3 in the Charlton game at the end of September.
Stockdale has struggled to find regular first-team football since leaving Brighton, with his last season there helping the Seagulls clinch promotion to the Premier League in the 2016/17 season.
Leeds are in a similar position to Brighton from that season as they look to achieve automatic promotion after falling short in the play-offs last season, just like Brighton. With this in mind, we take a closer look at Stockdale’s 2016/17 season in a Brighton shirt to see whether he has the ability to fill the potential gap at Elland Road from January…
Stockdale was a regular for Chris Hughton’s side in that season, as he missed just one game for Brighton and clocked up a total of 4378 minutes in goal for the season. In that time, Stockdale conceded 38 goals in the league, as the Seagulls boasted the joint-best defence in the division along with fellow promoted side Newcastle United.
Along with conceding that little amount, Stockdale also kept 22 clean sheets in that season, which is just under 50% of his fixtures that season, further demonstrating his impressive season.
Along with this, the ‘keeper made a total of 124 saves in the Championship, which averages out to 2.55 saves per game. Stockdale showed this season that he had the individual quality to earn his side points, but these figures have to be taken with a pinch of salt because they showcase a ‘keeper’s performance four seasons ago and his levels will have surely dropped since then having not managed much regular action since.
However, the stats from the season continue to be impressive, as he made 79 exits in the season, showing a commanding aerial presence for Brighton, something that Leeds could do with to replace Casilla’s dominant presence.
One area in particular that needs to be highlighted in his performance is his ability to play out from the back, compared to Kiko Casilla’s. Stockdale averaged passing accuracy of 76.8% throughout the season, which is solid for a ‘keeper looking to play long into the body of a ‘target man’ striker, which Brighton did. If Stockdale were to join Leeds, he would have to prove great accuracy both short and long to work in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Even though these numbers are exemplary from the former Brighton man, it doesn’t seem like Stockdale could fill the number one spot as well as Casilla at Elland Road when it is taken into account that these statistics come from four seasons ago and Stockdale’s form has deteriorated since.