Football Features

Is Jude Bellingham Europe’s most ‘clutch’ finisher?

By Harry Edwards

Published: 15:38, 10 May 2024

Every club dreams of having a player who can guarantee goals.

For some, that means scoring in sheer volume, regardless of the difficulty of a chance. For others, that’s a player who you can back to finish when played through on goal in a battle of the minds against the goalkeeper.

There are some examples across football of world-class players who actually perform worse when they have time to overthink, running through on goal.

But who is the best in Europe this season, of those who you can back in a one-on-one?

To come up with this list, we’ve taken a look at players with a minimum of 20 big chances (excluding penalties) across Europe’s top five leagues to rank them on their conversion rate.

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10. Serhou Guirassy – 48.65%

Non-penalty total big chances: 37
Non-penalty big chances scored: 18

Serhou Guirassy has been killing it in the Bundesliga this season. If it weren’t for an injury and the Africa Cup of Nations seeing him miss six games, the Guinean striker could have been challenging for the Bundesliga’s Torjägerkanone.

Guirassy has scored 25 goals in 26 games in the Bundesliga this season, with only Harry Kane (36) netting more. Of his 25 goals, 22 have been big chances including four penalties. So when when you take out those four penalty goals (from four penalties), Guirassy has a decent conversion rate.

9. Dominic Solanke – 50%

Non-penalty total big chances: 24
Non-penalty big chances scored: 12

There has been a lot of discussion this year about which strikers will provide support for Harry Kane in the England squad at Euro 2024. The debate is often between Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney. But Dominic Solanke has been a clinical finisher in the Premier League this season.

Only four players have scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Solanke who, let’s not forget, has netted his 18 goals for Bournemouth. He has only scored two penalties too, with 12 of his 14 big chances scored coming from open play — that’s the third-best such tally in the Premier League.

8. Lautaro Martinez – 50%

Non-penalty total big chances: 24
Non-penalty big chances scored: 12

Lautaro Martinez looks to have the Serie A Golden Boot wrapped up with 23 goals so far, seven more than his closest challenger. His goals have been a crucial element in Inter Milan’s 20th title win, and they’ve also secured his best-ever goalscoring return in his professional league career.

To add to the impressiveness of his 23 goals, just two have been penalties, with Hakan Calhanoglu taken the spot-kick responsibilities at Inter. In total, that’s 12 goals from 24 big chances, the best conversion in Serie A.

7. Jonathan David – 51.85%

Non-penalty total big chances: 27
Non-penalty big chances scored: 14

Only one player has had more big chances in Ligue 1 this season than Jonathan David, but the Canadian sits top for big chances scored. Sixteen of David’s 17 total strikes in Ligue 1 for Lille this season have been big chances.

Even when you take out the three penalties he’s taken and two scored, David has still scored more non-penalty big chances than any other player. And he remains second for non-penalty big chances in total.

6. Alexander Sorloth – 52%

Non-penalty total big chances: 25
Non-penalty big chances scored: 13

Just two players have scored more goals in La Liga this season than Alexander Sorloth, who has been fantastic for Villarreal. Unfortunately his 17 goals look to be for nothing as La Liga sit in midtable, but the Yellow Submarine know they can count on a reliable finisher.

Just three players have scored more big chances in La Liga this season than Sorloth’s 13, but he is second to none when you take out penalties — as the Norwegian hasn’t taken a spot-kick this season.

5. Deniz Undav – 52.17%

Non-penalty total big chances: 23
Non-penalty big chances scored: 12

Our second Bundesliga representative in this list, is another Stuttgart man. While Guirassy has got a lot of the headlines particularly for his record-breaking start to the Bundesliga season, Deniz Undav has been doing his part. Still registered to Brighton, Undav has had a great season on loan with Stuttgart, directly involved in 27 goals with 18 goals himself and nine assists.

All 18 of Undav’s goals have been from open play, with 12 of those being big chances.

4. Thijs Dallinga – 52.38%

Non-penalty total big chances: 21
Non-penalty big chances scored: 11

It must be said that Thijs Dallinga does benefit from penalties being taken out, as he has only scored one of his three attempts. But the 23-year-old has been reliable from open play. He’s scored 11 of his 21 non-penalty big chances, as Toulouse have secured their spot in Ligue 1 for another season.

When you take out penalties, only two players have scored more big chances than Dallinga in Ligue 1 this season, including David.

3. Ante Budimir – 52.38%

Non-penalty total big chances: 21
Non-penalty big chances scored: 11

Another of La Liga’s top scorers, Ante Budimir has netted 16 goals for Osasuna this season, just under half of their total La Liga strikes. Unfortunately for Budimir and the club, his season came to a premature end due to a rib fracture suffered last month.

Fourteen of Budimir’s 16 league goals this season have been big chances, dropping to 11 when you exclude penalties. Now, Budimir has scored three of his four penalties this season, and you might have heard about the one he missed…

He won’t be trying that again!

2. Alexandre Lacazette – 55%

Non-penalty total big chances: 20
Non-penalty big chances scored: 11

The top man in Ligue 1 when it comes to finishing his big chances, Alexandre Lacazette has been clinical this season. The former Arsenal striker has scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 this season, re-finding himself at Lyon after a period of struggles in London.

Lacazette has been perfect from the spot this season with one goal from one effort, but taking those away hasn’t really impacted him negatively. Only two players have scored more big chances in Ligue 1 than his 11, though crucially they have come from just 21 big chances.

1. Jude Bellingham – 65%

Non-penalty total big chances: 20
Non-penalty big chances scored: 13

The golden boy of La Liga and England, Jude Bellingham has scored 18 goals in his debut league campaign for Real Madrid so far. He led the Golden Boot race for some time, but now sits second behind Artem Dovbyk. But that won’t take away from his season, and he has been more clinical than anyone.

The Englishman has scored 14 of his 21 big chances in La Liga this season, and that only reduces slightly to 13 from 20 when you take out the one penalty he has taken and scored. It’s worth taking a moment to understand that Bellingham is 10% clear of second place in this list. He’s in a league of his own.