Twenty3’s Under 23s to watch: Gift Orban

Gift Orban could be on the verge of a move to the Premier League, with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all reportedly keeping tabs on Nigeria’s hottest prospect.

The 20-year-old – who plays for Belgian Pro League club Gent – can operate as either a striker or a winger.

He has played a pivotal role in the Buffalos’ league campaign to date, finding the net with alarming regularity, while also starring in his side’s run to the Europa Conference League quarter-finals. 

Using Twenty3’s Smart Reports, we take an in-depth look at Orban and analyse his impressive skill set.

Goal machine

After signing from Norwegian side Stabæk in the summer, no one expected Orban to immediately break into the first-team and have such a devastating effect. 

As you can see from the detailed player overview below, the key stats on the left give an excellent insight into just how ruthless Gent’s No.20 has been this term. 

He has scored an eye-watering 14 goals in just 13 matches, which clearly represents an incredible return, especially when you consider his age and relative lack of experience. 

Perhaps the most striking stat is his accumulated xG of just 4.7, meaning Orban is massively overperforming in front of goal, based on the chances he is presented with.

This ties in with his impressive xG shot map (top right), as it becomes clear that he is happy to fire off shots from the edge of the box – demonstrating a penchant for scoring from low-quality chances.

Another feature of this Smart Report is the ability to use the comparison radar to compare his performances with those of other players.  

In this case, we used fellow Gent striker Cyriel Dessers – he is the league’s top scorer with 22 goals. 

As you can see, Orban matches his teammate in most aspects, even outperforming him for key passes and completed dribbles. 

His heat map also paints a picture of which zones the forward operates in.

Orban covers a vast area, often dropping into deeper positions to pick up the ball – a coveted quality in modern strikers.

Pass master

Orban’s natural ability to put the ball in the back of the net is the most eye-catching of his qualities, but his vision is also particularly impressive. 

The 5ft 10in frontman has attempted 240 passes, showing plenty of intent by completing 21 forward passes to date. 

Orban has also attempted nine key passes and completed eight of them, making his distribution at crunch moments stand out. 

He has been rewarded for his efforts with two assists, and that number will only increase if the youngster continues to supply his teammates with high-quality chances.

The passing attempts by zone visualisation (below) also showcases his ability to play these balls in central zones – notoriously the most congested area when it comes to build-up play. 

But the passing flow visualisation does suggest that he struggles to play the ball directly into the box, and often tries to pass around his opponents instead. 

However, if Orban continues to drop deep and assist with build-up play, he is likely to develop that aspect of his game. 

Stat attack

Orban was not immediately introduced into the first team following his move to Belgium – hence why he has only played 14 games this season. 

But – by continuing to use Twenty3’s Smart Reports – we can accurately compare the attacker with his peers.

In this case, we have used per 90 data for Orban, as he has not featured in as many matches as other players. 

His goals per 90 record of 1.22 is simply outstanding, and is a stat which will undoubtedly be grabbing the attention of Europe’s finest clubs. 

For context, the phenomenon that is Manchester City’s Erling Haaland has 1.13 goals per 90 in the Premier League. 
Orban does not rank as highly for all attacking metrics, but he does perform well for two of the key ones – touches in the box (5.06 per 90) and shots attempted (4.1 per 90).

This suggests that he has the primary attributes to succeed at an elite level, with a Premier League transfer potentially on the cards in the months ahead.

All the Smart Reports in this article were produced using the Twenty3 Toolbox. For more information, please get in touch below.