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Wonderkids: Myron Boadu

Myron Boadu, soon to turn 20, is one of the best examples of a modern ‘poacher’, a forward with an extreme focus on scoring goals. A product of AZ Alkmaar’s talent factory, Boadu has demonstrated his special instinct for goals, although he does also seem inclined towards the associative game typical of Dutch football. After last year’s breakthrough season, Boadu’s performance levels have dropped, in line with AZ Alkmaar’s. Nonetheless, we believe that the transfer rumours about him will intensify in the near future.

Myron Boadu AZ Alkmaar Soccerment png

Bio and playing style

A product of AZ Alkmaar’s talent factory

Myron Boadu was born on 14th January 2001 in Amsterdam, where he started playing football for SC Buitenveldert. Aged 12 he joined the academy of AZ Alkmaar, one of the best in the Netherlands. We have extensively written about AZ Alkmaar’s philosophy and academy on our blog in the past.

Boadu quickly rose through the youth ranks at AZ and was included in the reserve team aged 16. He recovered very well from two severe injuries (knee and ankle) in time for a very successful 2019/20 season (14 goals and 6 assists in 24 apps), proving to have uncommon mental strength and determination, as well as an innate instinct for finding the back of the net.

An agile and effective modern poacher

Profile
Seasonal stats
Advanced stats & comparative tool

Myron Boadu’s playing style almost perfectly encapsulates the modern ‘poacher‘, i.e. a forward with an extreme focus on scoring goals. The most famous poachers in world football right now are probably Edinson Cavani, Mauro Icardi and Jamie Vardy.

However, in some ways we see Boadu as a more dynamic version of the typical poacher, one that is certainly more associative in his playing style compared to the aforementioned forwards, but who also shares many traits in common with them.

Player % touches in the boxShots P90Shooting accuracyxG per shot (open play)NP goal conversion
M. Boadu18.9%2.3451.7%0.2124.1%
E. Cavani23.3%3.4550.7%0.2424.1%
J. Vardy21.2%2.4250.4%0.1920.9%
M. Icardi24.4%2.9249.0%0.1920.8%
Average forward 11.9%2.4939.8%0.1413.5%
Source: Soccerment Research | League data as of 31.12.2020

Excluding penalties, on average the forwards in our database convert 13.5% of their chances into goals, or one in every 7.4. Myron Boadu converts 24.1% of his chances, or one in 4.2, in line with Cavani and well above both Icardi and Vardy.

Boadu displays a much better-than-average shooting accuracy (51.7% vs the 40% avg), which comes as the result of him taking more favourable shots compared to the average forward (xG per shot of 0.21, vs a 0.14 average for the role).

Since the beginning of last season Boadu has scored 18 goals from 76 shots. Interestingly, all of those goals have come from shots taken from inside the box, and most from within the six-yard box.

To find the net, Myron Boadu leverages his two principal “weapons”:

  1. Spatial awareness and an ability to deceive defenders in tight spaces.
  2. Agility and acceleration, which allow him to gain an edge on defenders in the first few meters, giving him more time to line himself up for a shot.
Myron Boadu Goal Map
Source: Soccerment Research | League data as of 31.12.2020

It is fair to say that Boadu has a special bond with two players at AZ Alkmaar, both of whom developed through the club’s academy: creative attacking midfielder Calving Stengs and left back Owen Wijndal.

Stengs’s main skill is vision and – in particular – the ability to deliver accurate through balls (0.6 per 90 minutes), which makes Boadu’s life much easier, perfectly complementing his ability to cut through defences.

Calvin Stengs delivers an accurate through ball to Myron Boadu, who scores against Fortuna Sittard (2019/20 Eredivisie)

Owen Wijndal’s specialty, meanwhile, is reaching the goal line to deliver fast, low cutbacks towards the penalty spot for the upcoming forward, often Boadu.

Unsurprisingly, out of 18 Eredivisie goals scored this season and last, 5 were assisted by Calving Stengs and 4 by Owen Wijndal.

More associative than the usual poacher

The average forward in our database takes slightly fewer than 12% of his touches in the opposition area. In Myron Boadu’s case, however, the percentage is more than 50pp higher, at around 19%. That said, this is still lower than Cavani’s, Icardi’s and Vardy’s percentages, as Boadu has a more associative playing style.

This can also be seen in his higher number of both accurate passes and chances created, as shown in the table below.

Player Acc. passes P90Chances created P90Expected Assists P90Assists P90
M. Boadu15.71.320.140.22
E. Cavani14.61.100.130.25
J. Vardy8.60.970.160.13
M. Icardi10.51.090.150.10
Average Forward 15.60.990.130.11
Source: Soccerment Research | League data as of 31.12.2020

Myron Boadu’s associative playing style is also reflected in his heatmap, which differs markedly from those of Cavani and Icardi.

Myron Boadu Heatmap

Potential and playing style

A drop-off after a breakthrough season

Following last year’s outstanding performances, which resulted in a direct contribution to 20 goals in 24 Eredivisie appearances (14 goals and 6 assists), Boadu hasn’t started the new season anywhere near as well, scoring just four goals in 911 minutes.

The young forward is suffering from AZ Alkmaar’s fall in level this season, while he may also be having some trouble meeting the higher expectations that the public has for him and the team. Moreover, transfer rumours regarding Boadu are intensifying and may be some distraction.

AZ Alkmaar’s slow start to the season

Last year, before the Eredivisie was cancelled due to the pandemic, AZ Alkmaar were at the top of the league along with AFC Ajax, and many considered AZ favourites to win the title. The abrupt end to their title dreams, as well as the departure of key player Oussama Idrissi are likely the main reasons why AZ haven’t performed particularly well at the beginning of the 2020/21 season.

AZ drew their first five league matches and were eliminated at the Europa League group stage. As a result, at the beginning of December, Arne Slot was sacked as manager and replaced by Pascal Jansen.

SWOT analysis

STRENGTHS

– Goal scoring (24% non-penalty conversion)
WEAKNESSES

– Heading (35% aerial success ratio)

OPPORTUNITIES

– Euro 2020

THREATS

– Highly dependent on assists from Stengs and Wijndal
– Managerial changes

Transfer rumours set to intensify

Boadu’s agent is Mino Raiola, who also manages Stengs and Wijndal. With AZ out of Europe and off the pace in the Eredivisie, the player and his agent could even consider a move from Alkmaar during the ongoing transfer window.

At the same time, AZ may prefer to wait until the end of the pandemic before selling Boadu, in order to book a larger capital gain from the transfer of one of their top assets. Moreover, Boadu is in the reckoning to feature in the Netherlands’ Euro 2020 squad, which would certainly represent a good opportunity to attract further interest.

Boadu’s contract expires in June 2023 (according to Capology his gross annual salary is €300,000), which gives AZ some negotiating power.

AC Milan are looking for a possible substitute for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose agent is Mino Raiola. Milan and Raiola are supposed to meet at some point todiscuss Zlatan’s contract, which expires in June; might this be a convenient time to discuss Boadu?


This analysis is part of our ‘Wonderkids: 2021 Outlook‘. Please find the link for its download here. A printed version is available too.