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Why we should be optimistic about Rodrigo Muniz

Written by Arthur Duke on 12th February 2024

Rodrigo Muniz gets ready to re-enter the pitch at Craven Cottage.
Rodrigo Muniz © Adam Farquharson 2024

Rodrigo Muniz is a man in form in the Premier League. After he bagged his first in our (albeit disappointing) draw at Turf Moor last week, he added two more to his tally alongside an impressive performance against Bournemouth this weekend. Here’s why I think Muniz has a big role to play at Fulham both in the long-term, and, potentially, now.

A Marco Silva signing

It’s best to note from the off that Rodrigo Muniz was a player Marco Silva personally identified. When it comes to attacking acquisitions, Silva’s record is actually quite good. During his last three jobs in England (Fulham, Everton, and Watford). Silva oversaw the signing of six first-team strikers (including signing Richarlison twice). The six strikers have recorded an average of 63 appearances for their respective clubs, a sample that includes Vinícius, Muniz and Raúl who are all yet to reach the end of their time at Fulham.

Moreover, every single one of those signings has gone onto have either a high resell value or become an incredibly important asset to their given club. For example, Richarlison provided both Everton and Watford with high resell opportunities, And Andre Gray (signed at Watford) went on to make more than 100 appearances for the Hornets.

It’s also worth noting the environment Silva provides for his strikers. Marco imposes an attacking philosophy wherever he goes which lays down a system for attacking talents to be successful. Strikers who are involved in his philosophy tend to get a high number of both chances in front of goal and in terms of minutes. His backroom staff is notable, featuring the likes of analyst Antonis Lemonakis and assistant Luis Boa Morte. These individuals strike the perfect balance that a striker would need to succeed in England, from playing experience to statistical proficiency.

With that said, when it comes to signing strikers. Marco Silva has a very impressive success rate in England. Which is an interesting to keep in mind when looking at Muniz’s bigger picture.

The numbers


When deciding the starting point for the data I wanted look at. I settled at the scouting reports from the 2021/22 campaign, I wanted to start here for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he played the greatest number of minutes across his two-and-a-half-year period in England. And secondly, we can compare him to Alexander Mitrović, which is the role he is tasked to inherit over the duration of his time in SW6.

What made Mitrović the colossal force he was in the championship season of 21/22 was his ability to obtain high xG from volume/attacking positioning of shots, his general involvement in the final third (in terms of touches in attacking positions/ability to create chances) and ultimately his strong aerial presence.

Rodrigo Muniz did not fall short in any of those metrics that season. He exceeded Mitrovic in aerial duals won, shots attempted and touches in the attacking penalty area (per 90 minutes). And even managed to keep up when it came to shot creating actions, ranking in the top 1% (championship) of GCA and SCA (shots that led to a goalscoring shot/shot attempts). Muniz even starts to deviate from Mitrovic in possession and defensive metrics. This is in reference to his take-on success rate per 90 (60%) and defensive actions (shots/passes blocked, interceptions, tackles, and clearances), which saw him rank among the best in the league that season, again on a per-90-minute basis.

Now, obviously the fact that these stats are restricted to a per-90-minute basis means we cannot directly compare him to Mitrović and other strikers in the Championship that season. In reality, the gap between Mitrović and Muniz that year was extremely clear. But these statistics tell a different story. Through breaking down what Muniz was able to do in the 663 minutes he played that season, we start to see what profile of striker he is. Throughout the 2021/22 season, Muniz demonstrated he could play the role Mitrović thrived in and be a reliable reserve should Mitrović not have been available.

2023/24 (so far)

When it came to this season. I decided to see how he faired when compared to Raúl Jiménez and Armando Broja. Raúl has recorded a little more than 1,200 minutes this season with Broja and Muniz both playing roughly 500 minutes. Due to this, I have adjusted the stats to a per-90-minute basis again.

Muniz’s numbers this season tell a story of a striker who isn’t quite ready for the step up to the Premier League. This is made apparent in the quality that he has been able to offer in front of goal. He has recorded 0.20 xG per 90, 0.16 short of what Raúl has been able to produce with more minutes. Showing that he has not been able to get into the high opportunistic attacking positions compared to Raúl.

But there are areas where Muniz has been able to thrive this season. He ranks above Broja and Raúl in most of the shot-creating data, recording more shot creating actions from both attacking and defensive scenarios than the other two candidates. Muniz recorded an average of 1.40 key passes per 90 minutes, at least 0.65 ahead of his nearest competitor (Raúl). And, has recorded the most touches in the attacking and defensive penalty areas. Encouragingly, his defensive numbers again look to have carried on from his Championship performances in the 2021/22 season, which tower over Broja and Raúl. And despite his poor xG, he has been able to test the goalkeeper more frequently with an average of 3.20 shots per match.

This data suggests that Muniz has been involved in more actions than Broja and Raúl while also being able to create and offer a focal point in counter-attacking scenarios. Ultimately, a striker’s job is to put the ball in the back of the net. And his performances on paper this season don’t support him in this aspect in reference to raw attacking returns. But again, we start to see a profile of a striker that can offer a lot more than stereotypical striker duties. This is supported by Alan Shearer’s analysis of his performance on Match of the Day. Shearer stated Muniz was “Strong, ran the channels, brought players into the game and really upset the Bournemouth defenders in every way”, which is consistent with his statistical performances across the entirety of the 23/24 campaign. Should his record in front of goal improve and considering his young age, we could start to put a case together for Muniz to get at least a run of uninterrupted games in the topflight.

Best years ahead

To point out the obvious, Rodrigo Muniz joined Fulham at the age of 20. This is an age profile Fulham hadn’t signed in a long time. The last time Fulham signed a striker within one year of Muniz’s age was Adam Taggart who joined in 2014 from Newcastle Jets, even going back to 2014 Taggart was one year older than Muniz. Since then, Fulham have changed their transfer focus to be involved in a slightly older market.

This means that as a fanbase we tend judge Muniz through a perspective that has seen more older strikers. The likes of Raúl, Vinícius, and Fonte are profiles of strikers that are expected to hit the ground running in front of goal. The fact that Muniz hasn’t hit the heights Mitrović showed is no reason to panic and hit the sell button. Out of all the attacking signings made since 2014, Rodrigo Muniz has the strongest case to be given time to adjust to life in London.

In a recent pod, Jack Collins raised the valid point of giving Muniz one more loan to properly develop under a long run of games. Muniz is of the age where he could afford to go away on loan in the near future and still return with the best years ahead of him, which cannot be said for our other striking options. This point of view was also supported in Match of the Day’s analysis of Fulham versus Bournemouth. Where a punditry panel (including Alan Shearer) reinforced the point that with players like Muniz it “takes time” and despite his rocky start at Fulham could still come good.


Muniz is a player that has the ability to have a huge impact on Fulham in the long term. The context of Muniz’s arrival and the numbers he has put up in a Fulham shirt demonstrate he hasn’t been a bad acquisition. And should he play more minutes this season, would guarantee a work rate and presence that Raúl and potentially Broja wouldn’t offer.

By no means am I am I stating Muniz will keep Broja out of the team for the remainder of the season, the likely outcome is Broja will assume the regular starting place in the next few games. But Muniz’s performances over the last two-and-a-half years have been good enough to consider him a reasonable long-term option. Keeping Muniz on the books would allow Fulham to continue their older transfer strategy and recruit experience until he is ready to assume a more prominent role in the squad, while also having the option to provide him with an opportunity to break into the starting XI and become a valuable long-term asset in the team.

Ultimately, Muniz is a player that requires a lot of patience. It wasn’t long ago he couldn’t speak a word of English and looked like a player lost in this Fulham team. To go from there to scoring a brace in the premier league, all via encouraging performances hints that patience pays off. Maybe (just maybe) Fulham could have the next Mitrović on their books already.

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