As we’ve done for nearly half a decade on this site, we’re going to bring you the latest tips, commentary, analysis and strategy surrounding the official Fantasy Premier League football game all season long. And since the season starts in less than 10 days time, let’s take a look at some of the fresh faces to enter the Premier League this summer transfer window.
We’ll take a look club-by-club [alphabetically] at the new signings and give our take on their potential for fantasy stardom. Each player’s FPL price will follow their name in brackets. Good luck to all fantasy managers. Here is Part One:
Santi Carzola [9m] is the biggest name and the midfielder makes his way from Malaga with lofty expectations – he is Arsenal’s all time record signing – purchased for about 16 million pounds. The pint sized player has yet to win anything at club level, and perhaps won’t make the same impact in the Premier League as fellow Spaniards David Silva and Juan Mata have but he should be a fantasy performer that provides similar value to teammates Mikel Arteta [8m] and Theo Walcott [9m]. If he can establish his role as the consistent attacking creator Arsenal rely on, then his potential is Mata or Silva-esque, but that could be asking a lot in his first season.
Olivier Giroud [9m] comes over from Montpellier and with Robin van Persie edging closer and closer to a move to Manchester United, he will be relied on to produce the goals. He is a 6 foot 3 target man, and if he is given consistent starts as Arsenal’s #1 striker, the 25 year old could produce a 10-15 goal season which would delight his fantasy owners.
Lukas Podoloski [8.5m] is Arsenal’s other big-name acquisition. It’s amazing that he’s only 26 years old – as he’s already appeared over 100 times for Germany. Wa-wa-wee-wa! Podolski is classified as a forward, of course, but he could be used out wide and cut in to Gervinho’s and Theo Walcott’s playing time either on the left or the right. At 8.5m, he may be expensive if he sees a wide role rather than a central striker role on a regular basis, but again, he is a proven goalscorer who could be a major fantasy force. I imagine one of Podolski or Giroud will hit the ground running and that form player will thus see more investment in the early stages of the season as Arsenal begin to gel.
Superb work from Wenger in the market – as fantasy managers lick their respective lips.
II. Aston Villa
Ron Vlaar [5m] and Matthew Lowton [4.5m] are two new signings at the back for Aston Villa. The 27 year old Vlaar is a former Feyenoord star and should slot in as a starting centre back under new manager Paul Lambert but Lambert showed a tendency to focus a bit more on a creative, fluid attack than a rock solid back four at Norwich so a massive amount of clean sheets for this pair is doubtful.
Karim El Ahmadi [4.5m] and Brett Holman [6m] are Lambert’s non-defensive signings. Both are classified as midfielders in the FPL game. El Ahmadi is cheap – but he’s cheap for a reason – he’s a defensive midfielder who has scored only 1 goal for Morocco in 18 national team appearances. Don’t expect much. Largely ignore him. Brett Holman, on the hand, is a more attacking weapon. The Australian will grab his fair share of goals and assists, but with former FPL studs Ireland [5.5m] and N’Zogbia [6.5m] in the same price range and proven performers, it will take an extremely risky fantasy manager to plump for Holman over those proven past commodities.
Oscar [8.5m], Eden Hazard [9.5m], and Marko Marin [7m] are Chelsea’s three massive new signings. Hazard is the most likely to produce the fantasy goods but it remains to be seen whether he will out-perform teammate Juan Mata for fantasy glory. We just published a preview of Chelsea’s fantasy assets where we looked at each new signing in a bit more detail. In summary – Hazard’s minutes should far outpace Oscar’s and Marin’s and thus their fantasy prospects may be risky.
Steven Pienaar [6.5m] came over from Tottenham in a deal worth about £4.5m and we don’t really need to say much about the South African. He’ll be a solid contributor in the midfield but will frustrate fantasy managers with his inconsistency. One month with goals and assists in 4 or 5 straight games and then a barren spell of 5 straight games to follow. If you catch him when he’s hot, he can contribute well in the FPL game.
Steven Naismith [6.5m] is a striker that joined from Rangers on a free transfer. Everton’s star striker Jelavic is obviously the man that will grab the goals, but if Naimsith can earn a starting role as a second striker [think Tim Cahill in the past] then he could provide some value in this region. Jelavic is priced at just 2m more, however, and at 8.5m will see significantly more investment than his former Ibrox teammate.
Hugo Rodallega [6m] comes in priced cheap after a poor season at Wigan that saw him score just 2 goals. I think he’ll score 10+ goals this season and priced at just 6m, will be one of the value bargain strikers of the Fantasy Premier League campaign. A superb signing for Martin Jol, Rodallega is used to the Premier League and just needs to stay fit to prove his obvious quality. With Bobby Zamora gone, the former Funny Feeling Friday will have the chance to shine.
Mladen Petric [6m] is Jol’s other big summer signing. He previously played for Jol and has scored in every pre-season match this summer for Fulham. Like Rodallega, Petric is cheap as chips – and if Clint Dempsey does move to Liverpool – both Rodallega and Petric could be handed starting roles.
Fulham, then, offer two potential value strikers to start the FPL season in Petric and/or Rodallega. Bryan Ruiz is less tempting but also an option, while Dempsey is the obvious [expensive] attacking selection if he ends up staying at Craven Cottage.
There you have it. That’s Part I of our look at the Premier League’s new summer signings and their potential impact on the Fantasy Premier League this season. Stay tuned for the remainder of our preview articles this weekend.