Recent transfers: Any picks or punts?
The final days of the transfer window, although not especially spectacular, kept us intrigued until the end of deadline day. Gareth Bale was eventually sold during the final day in which we wondered whether, despite denials by their clubs, Liverpool’s Luis Suárez, Chelsea’s Juan Mata and David Luiz could follow Bale out of the Premiership to Spain’s La Liga. In the end, nothing came of these rumours and, aside from a few surprises (Özil to Arsenal and Lukaku to Everton), it was fairly routine last day transfer activity.
Fantasy football managers will have spent the past week mulling over whether any of the players who moved in the window could be worth a pick or a punt. Many managers will be currently considering playing their wildcard in the coming days to get some of the new players on board and to get rid of under-performers after the first three Gameweeks.
I’ve been studying the 38 new players who have become available to Fantasy football managers since the end of Gameweek 3. I’ve picked out some who look the most appealing options. However, I can’t help but say there appear to be few ‘must-haves’ and their current levels of ownership back this up. There are too many players who we know little about and, as such, would represent a gamble rather than a sound buy.
Of the 38 players transferred to the Premiership during the last week of the window, 25 either arrived from abroad or from English Championship clubs or, in the case of Flamini (Arsenal), as a free agent. As things stand 24 of these players are less than 0.5% owned by managers. This tells us that managers are either holding fire before buying these players or just aren’t interested in signing them.
The exception is Özil who moved to Arsenal from Real Madrid for a whopping £42.4m. At £10m, he is currently owned by 5.8% of managers. Given his record of creating and scoring goals, he looks set to be a big Fantasy football points earner and could make a big difference to Arsenal’s title bid.
Strangely, several big name signings such as Chelsea’s Eto’o (£9m; 0.5% owned) and Willian (£8.5m; 0.1% owned) plus Tottenham’s Lamela (£9m; 0.3%) and Eriksen (£8m; 0.4%) haven’t been snapped up yet by many managers. That, of course, could change towards the weekend.
I think Eto’o, with a 1 in 2 goalscoring record (and 288 career goals) could easily prove to be a bargain at £9m. He’s my pick of the bunch. Erik Lamela is an interesting option, classed as a midfielder rather than a forward, he scored 15 times and got 6 assists for Roma last season. I think attacking midfielders Willian and Eriksen could be excellent picks but managers may prefer to wait to see how they adjust to the EPL before buying them.
Of the new defenders on offer Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho (£5.5m; 0.3% owned), comes with rave notices from Paris St-Germain, but he may not go automatically into the first team. Likewise, Tottenham’s Romanian signing Chiriches (£5.5m; 0%). Di Michelis (£6m; 0%) may have played in the Manchester City defence from the off but for injury.
A lot of the other transfers, including forwards Kozak (Aston Villa – £6.5m; 0% owned) and Alvaro (Swansea – £5.5m; 0%) appear to represent too much of a gamble. Stoke’s new Austrian attacking midfielder/winger Marko Arnautović (£5.5m, 0.1%) falls into the same category. A decent option in the coming weeks is Everton’s James McCarthy (£5.5m; 0.1%), who may develop into a Stevie Gerrard-type player, and may well play a similar role to the departed Fellaini. Jimmy Kebe (£5m; 0%) at Crystal Palace is one to watch. Barring injury, he would probably have got Fantasy football managers lots of points for Reading last season.
13 of the 38 new Fantasy football players moved from one Premiership club to another. Of these, Fellaini (£8.5m; 11.9% owned) moved from Everton to Manchester United. Re-united with ex-Everton boss David Moyes, Fellaini could add a new dimension to United’s play. He can play various midfield roles, is capable of getting goals and assists, plus he is a dangerous weapon from free kicks. Another good pick option, expect him to get goals, especially from deadly accurate van Persie set pieces.
Everton appear to have pulled off a major coup in landing Lukaku (£7.4m; 5.8%) on a season-long loan. His ownership will surely rise but probably not significantly until Gameweek 5 as he is ineligible to play in Everton’s fixture this weekend against parent club Chelsea. West Brom secured Sessegnon (£6.8m; 3.1%) from Sunderland and might be a punt but is more of a wait-and-see option for now.
Two Victors look well worth a punt – West Brom’s forward Victor Anichebe (£5.3m; 1.3%) if he stays fit and gets starts and midfielder Victor Moses (£6.2m; 0.6%) who many predict will make a big impact at Liverpool.
Other potential punts could be Cardiff’s Peter Odemwingie (£5.7m; 0.6% owned) and, just possibly, Sunderland’s Fabio Borini (£6.2m; 0.2%) if he responds better to Di Canio’s Italian than to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ English/Irish!
In summary, the end of the transfer window hasn’t exactly had us Fantasy football managers chomping at the bit to snap up the new signings – at least not to date. However, that is not to say there might not be a few golden nuggets that could add sparkle to our squads.
That said, with the exception of ones who look genuine potential picks or punts, the vast majority look to be ones we will watch out for rather than dive in for!