Paul Mukairu has been described as a direct replacement for Anderlecht record transfer Jeremy Doku, but statistics and his versatility suggest the highly-rated forward will be his own man at the Belgian giants.
Mukairu, 20, has signed a season-long loan with Anderlecht from Turkish club Antalayaspor with option for the Brussels club to buy him permanently thereafter.
He has been widely seen as a replacement for 18-year-old Doku, who has moved to Ligue 1 club Rennes for a record-breaking 27 million Euros.
This past summer transfer has been cheapest ever at RSC Anderlecht, according to sports director Peter Verbeke.
Anderlecht spent barely 4.3 million Euros in the recent transfer window (Transfermarkt.de figures), while it was an enormous 31.5 million Euros last season. This economical evolution means a huge decrease in the transferred transfer fees by no less than 86%.
Moreover, the club’s net profit in the recent transfer period amounted to approximately 34.58 million Euros, which represents an unrealistic increase of 312% compared to the transfer period in the previous 2019/2020 season.
Paul Mukairu is the youngest of the quartet of the loaned players by Anderlecht and that is why he logically has a large progression margin.
And such a transfer policy has become a reality and necessity at Anderlecht today. Due to the huge debts from the past, a great deal of effort must now be made on young talents with resale value, preferably from their own youth programme, but also promising – and affordable – foreign youngsters.
Age and potential added value were decisive in attracting Mukairu, but that was just as good as Anderlecht demand a direct impact from all their recent acquisitions.
Although the Nigerian is only 20, he will soon have to work hard and reach a high level. However, based on his statistics in the Turkish Super Lig at Antalyaspor – where he was not always a starter – no one immediately becomes lyrical about Mukairu: just three goals in 24 games were his stats last season.
Also in the current Turkish league, where Mukairu played in three games, he did not score.
Mukairu is therefore not a real goal-scoring machine, but a winger – although he can also work as a central striker – that is not immediately a requirement.
On the other hand, the fast Nigerian is purposeful in his actions, but still needs the essential experience and efficiency to turn his energy and efforts into successful actions.
Time brings advice, especially with young players, and at Anderlecht they hope that Mukairu will take the first important steps in the right direction at the Lotto Park. However, at Sporting they do not have the luxury of time to date…
Based on Mukairu’s profile, he initially appeared to be the replacement of Doku. In certain aspects, the Nigerian is indeed similar to the Belgium international. Mukairu is fast, powerful, goal-oriented and he can keep up with the ball.
But Mukairu is certainly not a Doku clone. He is offensively more versatile as he can also play centrally and because Mukairu is both powerful and more athletic.
In the most recent edition of the Turkish Super League, Mukairu invariably came out as a right winger, and in his three games this season he already stood out with his qualities.
For example, he posted an average of five dribbles every 90 minutes, placing him in the Top 10 in Turkey.
In comparison, Doku is the runner-up in the Jupiler Pro League with no less than 11 dribbles per 90 minutes.
On the other hand, Mukairu managed to successfully complete 75% of his one-on-one actions, while Doku’s frequency was somewhat lower this season with 56% successful dribbles
To portray Mukairu as a better dribbler than Doku on this basis is not an objective conclusion at all, the Nigerian will first have to do the action at the Lotto Park. But it is already a promising signal about what Mukairu can offer.
Due to his fast dribbles and high degree of speed, Mukairu can also accelerate several times at long distances with the ball at the foot in matches. In that part, for example, he was the third best winger in Turkey, while Doku was the runner-up in the Jupiler Pro League.
Mukairu had been on the radar of Anderlecht for months and his development was closely monitored by the club’s scouting network, which usually rated his reports as positive.
The departure of Doku to Stade Rennes made his arrival possible in the past transfer window. It was Mukairu or no one, it could be read and heard.
This emphasizes the sporting importance of transfers at Anderlecht, while in the past the club were too often dependent on the advice and advice of friendly players’ agents.
The fact that Vincent Kompany was also a great supporter of Mukairu’s arrival speaks volumes of what Anderlecht and Belgium should expect.
Potential, technique, strength and speed are the keywords.
Adapted from Voetbalniuews.be