Foden vs Greenwood

The last two weeks have been monumental for the two English wonderkids from the Northwest. As their output has struck a spike since the restart, with both City and United showing flashes of world-class football, their share price has rocketed accordingly.

As a result, we’ve seen traders littered across social media sharing their curiosity that Foden’s rise is inflating Greenwood’s simultaneously, and vice versa. Those traders holding both claim they are as equally valuable as each other. Do they have a valid point?

Although it’s almost certain the two Mancunians are destined for Premier League greatness, it’s important to distinguish two very different players – thus two very different investments. Simply because they’ve both hit form and shared a similar rocket since the Premier League returned, traders must take caution in understanding why they are investing in both players. They’re both young, English and playing elite PL football, but there are vast differences that should be observed, calculated and evaluated to understand if one is a better investment than the other. Claiming ‘young, three year hold’ as a trading strategy is lazy at best. At least determine if you are holding for capital appreciation, or PB dividends, or media? Perhaps all three? The following data will inform those yet to invest, or perhaps educate those that hold shares in either player as to how best to profit from these two superstars-in-making.

Of the three ways to profit on Football Index, we’ll start with Capital Appreciation:

Important Note - at the time of writing, Foden has a Matchday in advance vs Southampton.

Greenwood vs Foden, Capital Appreciation

Although simple, this data informs a trader a good deal about how hyped a player is. Greenwood has risen more in the last 12 months on the whole, but also risen more since the restart of the PL. It’s easy to tell by market value alone which player is more ‘in demand’ on the basis of the market price and the spread (the difference between Buy and Instant Sell). But it’s important to consider how a player got to his market value in the first place. Greenwood has risen more in the past few weeks relative to his market value, so we can conclude he is the more ‘hyped’ player.

Does this indicate Greenwood is at a peak or overvalued? Not at all. But it suggests more traders hold, and more traders are ‘new’ holders. It could be a case that fewer traders hold, but each hold more shares – though the likelihood is that more traders hold Greenwood than Foden, and more of those traders are new shareholders. New shareholders are always a risk-factor to consider. When an influx of traders onboard a player in a short period of time, it’s not clear what their trading strategy is. In some cases a short-term FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) flip could be on the cards, so more traders are looking to profit quickly from the hype rather than holding for the long-term. On the basis that Greenwood has increased more as a % of his market value since the restart, we can assume that more traders in Greenwood are going to flip short-term when compared to Foden. This may not be significant, but it would suggest Greenwood is marginally more ‘hyped’ than Foden by FOMO traders. With a matchday for Foden today though, the scales may soon be balanced!

To clarify, this does not mean that either player is safer than the other, nor does it mean either player is going to increase more than the other… if we knew which players would appreciate in capital the most on FI, we’d have retired from writing a long time ago.

So what about PB?

Foden vs Greenwood | Football Index Gurus

Performance Buzz is a fantastic earner for plenty of traders on FI. It logically should be what determines market price, but the wonderkid hype took the reins from Messi and co. So, how good are Foden and Greenwood in the Performance Matrix?

Performance Buzz

Foden looks the better PB option here. His goal involvements across all competitions, 19 in 24 starts, have been staggering for his age at such a high level. Greenwood has 8 goals and an assist in 26 Premier League appearances, though only 7 of those have been starts. Both look very strong since the restart.

19/20 Premier League Stats

What’s important between these two players is the more fundamental elements of the game that contribute to PB, and not the highlight plays. Foden pulls strings, Greenwood clinically finishes plays. Forwards like Greenwood are actually not all that good for PB scoring, as they are excluded from a good chunk of the build-up. A lack of total passes completed and key passes per 90 exemplifies this. Furthermore, although confident and capable, Greenwood is not such a direct player like many wingers. He has relatively few dribbles per 90, so isn’t racking up high PB scores from extensively beating defenders, whipping balls in or playing the key pass. He’s far more of a ‘finish the play’ kind of winger… and he’s incredibly effective at fulfilling that role, as yesterday's exceptional brace against Bournemouth demonstrated.

Foden on the other hand is a far more involved player each game. He’s the maestro wanting to get on the ball, advance the play and string the passes together. Remembering a simple pass earns one PB point, being involved in the game's build up play can raise the PB score effectively. Being involved in the final product, as well as the start of the attack, is what Foden is brilliant at. The PB matrix recognises this. It’s largely for this reason he has a higher average PB rating, but also a higher PB max.

So in terms of PB, Foden is the one to look at. That said, he doesn’t fare so well compared to many similar playmakers just yet. We haven’t had a vast sample of starts to compare Foden against others, but seeing that he’s having to rack up goals and assists to score an average of 230 per 90 in the last three matches is an indication that there’s room for improvement. Players such as Kimmich and Kroos can regularly lay down 220 per 90 through one simple assist, whereas Foden is having to rack up a strong tally on the scoresheet to come close to such scores. Foden needs to improve his defensive input, such as ball recoveries and interceptions, as well as the key passes and assists, to start making a big impact on PB ratings if he wants to increase his average without having to score a brace every game.

What about Media Dividends?

You’ve got to lean towards Greenwood, not for the player, but for the club. We recently wrote a premium article on the United Bias which we’ve made available for free here.

Foden vs Greenwood | Football Index Gurus

United dominate the media, as a club they’ve collectively won over 12x more media dividends than City this season.

Media Dividend Potential

With United finally showing some signs of competing as a Top European side, the papers have a host of players to flick between to push regular stories; Bruno, Pogba, Rashford, Maguire, Martial and Greenwood look to be the obvious stars, whilst Ighalo had buzz since the transfer. Then De Gea vs Henderson is a building story. Aaron Wan Bissaka is another media feature; he's won more than Kevin De Bruyne in media dividends this season.


There’s just constant media from Old Trafford – Greenwood will almost definitely benefit from this, particularly with United looking to qualify for Champions League football next season.

With the Bradford-born teenager recently breaking into the first team regulars, he’s more than likely to be a media attraction in coming weeks. On top of that, the manner in which he’s risen has built a huge degree of hype. If he starts playing badly, is dropped, injured, has fall outs, controversial stories or rumours, they’ll all play into his media buzz. If he continues his hot form, he’s almost definitely going to pick up more media dividends before the end of the season. Foden won’t get such a backing from the media – that’s just the way it goes. That’s not to say he’ll not win media dividends, but the natural dominance of United over City in the papers is going to favour the media potential of Greenwood far more than Foden will benefit from playing for City.


Final Remarks

It's a fantastic time to be on Football Index, and a fantastic time to be watching the two Manchester giants flexing their young English talents. However, it's always important to take a step back and judge what you'd consider good value over hype. Do not fear missing out and buy for buying's sake. Equally, do not fear taking a slice of humble pie and joining the bandwagon later on. Plenty of successful traders buy, top up, sell and re-buy every day on the index. If you believe both Foden and/or Greenwood are the real deal, not just as Footballers but as investments, then this article will hopefully have helped you gauge their values. Always remember, just because other traders are buying, it doesn't mean the player is good value. If you solely rely on capital appreciation from an unproven dividend winner you're in a gambling hot seat as your winnings are entirely built on speculation, much like betting on Maiden Horses. Just because traders are lumping on both, it doesn't necessarily mean you should too. Separate the investments. Evaluate.


Finally, aside from the investment opportunity, I'd like to remind all English traders that this is a time to support these youngsters on the scene from a National Team perspective. We're seeing a generation of very special players charging through the ranks, with masses of pressure building on their shoulders. Do what you can to support them, regardless of what club they're at.


- Stats taken from whoscored.com and transfermarkt.com, PB data from footballindex.co.uk and indexgain.co.uk

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