Monday, May 23 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United (Forward, 12.5m)

Right, if we were to devote a percentage of time to each player in this column based on popularity in social media conversations, then 98% of the content here would be about Ronaldo. But, he will only get equal mention as officially he was confirmed prior to deadline day. Technically, he should not be brought up at all. But…how can we ignore the guy? We can’t. No one can.

So, to keep things simple in this space – YES. Yes, Ronaldo is FPL-relevant. He has been priced at the highest price point of the season, which once belonged to Harry Kane before his price dropped a couple of times. There are no secrets to this generational talent. Only, whether you feel his price is worth the production you envision. For some, the optimism is such that, whether through use of a wildcard or a points hit, Ronaldo is a must-have immediately, and that based on his numbers in Serie A last season, is still putting up elite numbers, and what better place to continue his production than at his former club where his superstardom was cemented?

You then have the “devil’s advocate” mentality. While elite, Ronaldo turns 37 years old this season. Players who we deem as legendary, Thierry Henry for example, eventually see a dip in production or, at least, see their production only continue on in leagues that are not as competitive as the PL. We know Ronaldo signed a deal to play two years at Old Trafford. Will they be his final two years? If so, it is not an absurd notion that we will see glimpses of vintage Ronaldo, and there will be weeks where he will put up armband-worthy numbers in the FPL game. A popular sentiment, and perhaps the most honest take regarding Ronaldo around the Twitter-verse is the notion that one doesn’t necessarily “need” Ronaldo, they simply WANT him. Over one million FPL teams have spoken, because over a week before he has a chance to play, 14% of managers as of this writing have already brought him in. The spotlight will be strong on CR7 and he is certainly an immediate add for those that want him, because the idea of how much damage he can do in his “welcome back” game, home to Newcastle, is frightening.

Saúl – Chelsea (Midfielder, 5.5m)

While the echoes of Ronaldo kept him the headline name even on deadline day, perhaps the biggest addition for any club at the end of the transfer window was the loan spell for Atletico Madrid’s versatile midfielder Saúl. The reason the FPL community is not too vocal about the move is reflected in his 5.5m price tag. Big names playing for big clubs that have a small price tag usually mean the player is not often attack-minded, which is the case for Saúl, who has never topped six goals in league play, whilst in La Liga. However, his attacking numbers are much more impressive in cup competitions, both foreign and domestic. He has the talent in him to be a double-digit goal scorer, but the chances of that happening with his base midfield role at Chelsea are going to be slim.

Even if Saúl were to get off to a hot start, which would consist of simply a single goal in his first match or two, interest in him will skyrocket immediately. There are not many options at his price point that FPL managers are attracted to, so any signs of attacking form may draw investment his way, especially in a couple of weeks when the fixtures for the Blues take a pleasant turn. However, given who Chelsea have at the position – N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho, and Tomas Tuchel’s managerial style, we will likely see Saúl rotated in and out too much for our liking in the classic FPL format. He may be the last piece needed for Chelsea to earn a league title this season, but for FPL, he will not garner much interest until a goal starts a bandwagon.

Odsonne Edouard – Crystal Palace (Forward, 6.5m)

The Eagles have struggled mightily on the attacking side of the ball through the first three weeks of the season, with no goals in the first two of those three, and Edouard looks set to cement his first-team status as the striker atop the depth charts, which means we may be spared seeing the likes of Christian Benteke or Jean-Phillipe Mateta in the Starting XIs of the future. Edouard is only 23 years of age and has spent the past few seasons putting up big numbers with Celtic, with twenty goals a low bar during his stay there. Two seasons back, he was one goal shy of thirty. Surely, a player with that kind of scoring record priced at 6.5m is a can’t-miss bargain, right?

Well, Edouard could develop into a solid PL striker and put up numbers that make his current price tag a great value, but his numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. The Scottish Premiership is a rather lopsided league. Celtic and Rangers basically take turns every season to see which will finish first, while all other clubs in their way typically take a beating. The talent Edouard will be up against now is much, much more tough, and it will be a challenge every single week. Right, perhaps not against Norwich…but virtually every week. Like just about any player not named Ronaldo, it is typically best to play a wait-and-see approach with new players, then decide whether they are worth a spot in your FPL squad, but Edouard should be high on your watch list, because it is clear he has a path to regular playing time and, as long as he can reach double digit goals this season, he is going to have value, as so many other forwards do at or around his price point.

Nikola Vlasic– West Ham United (Midfielder, 6m)

Certainly falling short of the “Welcome Back” parade being showered upon Ronaldo, one may not even have known Vlasic was in the PL before, as he had a brief stint with Everton a few years ago. Much like Edouard, Vlasic has been putting up some impressive attacking numbers the past few seasons and, like Edouard, has room to grow at only 23-years of age. He has hit double digit goals the last two campaigns, but like Edouard, one has to consider the Russian Premier League a considerable level below the competition of the Premier League. Still, it is another promising addition to a West Ham side that has already outperformed expectations with their attacking output.

The biggest question after Vlasic became a Hammer was not so much whether if one should consider bringing him into their FPL team, but whether his arrival would be a threat to the playing time of the current midfield trident of Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Saïd Benrahma. In the short term, barring injury, Vlasic should be of no threat at all, as things are clicking nicely for David Moyes. However, it would not be surprising to see Vlasic get a run in the side at some point. He is basically the first choice backup for all four of West Ham’s biggest attacking positions. Even at striker, where Michael Antonio reigns, should something happen to him, Bowen becomes the de facto replacement, which simply means Vlasic could slip into the midfield to fill Bowen’s void there. Edouard has the chance to make an FPL statement immediately. Vlasic could wind up being just as relevant by the end of the season, but he should stay only on your watch list for now.

Marc Cucurella – Brighton (Defender, 5m)

Brighton made a peach of a deadline day deal by not only addressing the position that needed it most, but doing so by bringing in one of the best young talents in the world for such a role. We are talking, of course, about the left wingback role in Graham Potter‘s wingback system. Previously an area that saw a revolving door of players, with Solly March being the most popular choice last season, once Cucurella settles in, he should cement himself as one of the first names on Potter’s weekly team sheet. And yes, if you haven’t noticed, 23-years-old is a popular age to move to a new football club on deadline day.

Cucurella was fantastic at Getafe. Quite durable, he played over 3000 minutes of league play in each of the last two seasons, with four goals and eight assists combined. The FPL game understands that Cucurella offers more than your typical Seagull defender, and appropriately priced him as the most expensive of their options, along with Lewis Dunk, at 5m. Coming over to an entirely new league at his age, it would be no surprise for Cucurella to NOT be in the Starting XI for Week 4, but he should lock the gig down soon thereafter. Like most defenders, FPL investment is heavily dependent on fixtures and what teammates may offer better value. Considering Shane Duffy‘s contribution in the opening weeks and still priced below 4.5m, FPL managers are going to likely look his direction if wanting to add a Brighton defender, but all that could change as soon as we see Cucurella in action.

Dan James – Leeds United (Midfielder, 6m)

The only player to move within the PL, Daniel James has instantly transformed from Man United afterthought to immediate prospect at Leeds in terms of FPL production. Obviously, James was a talent but a small fish in a gigantic pond. Once United are at full strength, his path to minutes were pretty much non-existent and thus, they felt fine letting the 23-year-old (yes, that age again) move on to Leeds. Priced at 6m, it reflects the incoming position battle between he and fellow 6m wide midfield option (6m when the season began, anyway), Jack Harrison. Leeds represented great value with their FPL attacking options last season, with Patrick Bamford, Raphinha and even Harrison all enjoying considerable investment throughout the season. Raphinha is a lock for regular playing time, so when looking at how Leeds typically line up, Harrison stands out as the one most at risk. James may develop into a solid FPL option should he take the job and run, but it will take time for that to happen.

However, there is another way. Leeds could shift Raphinha into a central attacking role, bumping someone from midfield base they have now, and create a #10 role for him, allowing Harrison and James to both play. Still, it may not translate to great things, as it creates four mouths to feed instead of three and, while Leeds have a sound attack, they are not Manchester City-level. In all honesty, James’ investment numbers will likely remain low, simply because Raphinha adds so much more threat for just .5m more. It is still a solid addition for Leeds in reality though. Should they keep their shape, and Harrison and James are left to battle it out, whoever loses becomes a very good weapon off the bench, which they had lacked before scooping up James.

Emerson Royal – Tottenham (Defender, 5m)

This signing came as a bit of a surprise. Going into deadline day, right back looked to have a surplus to requirements, as you had former Nuno Espirito Santo player Matt Doherty, regular option last season Serge Aurier and the youngster who has taken the job to start this season, Japhet Tanganga, already in the mix. Well, as part of their deadline day dealings, Spurs terminated the contract of Aurier, so there is one less option to worry about. Doherty has seven minutes of league play under his belt before Emerson’s arrival, so it appears that Tanganga will attempt to hold onto his “top of the depth chart” status, but that eventually Emerson is going to take the job.

Tanganga, to his credit, can play anywhere along the back four, is still quite young, and may carve out a regular role down the road, perhaps as a partner to Cristian Romero. But one has to think as soon as Spurs fail to keep a clean sheet or Tanganga makes a considerable mistake, Santo will have the situation he needs to throw Emerson into the fray. There may be too much rotation involved in this first season for Emerson, much like it was for opposite fullback Sergio Reguilón last season, and, with Reguilon also a 5m option (recently priced up to 5.2m), it seems the prudent move would to be to spend that bit extra more for the more established Reguilon. Once Emerson settles though, he has the potential to be Tottenham’s best defensive option in FPL.

Salomon Rondon – Everton (Forward, 6m)

This marks the area where the players coming in may not have a path to regular starts, which pretty much makes them of little value in the classic FPL format. The veteran Rondon, who we remember from his playing days with Newcastle United and West Brom, appears to be that very player. It looks very clear, and to be fair, very necessary, that Rondon was brought in as a backup striker. The Toffees generally prefer to play two at the top, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison playing alongside one another. Until Rondon came in, they did not really have a backup to either, with Moise Kean unable to make an impression this summer and his subsequent loaning out. We have seen DCL make the injury report a couple of times already and Richarlison can be a bit of an enigma at times, so this was a needed addition for Everton but little impact as of this writing in FPL-land.

Ademola Lookman – Leicester City (Midfielder, 6m)

One thing is for sure, Leicester have been big spenders in this window and they felt they needed to squeeze one more in on Deadline Day in snagging Lookman from RB Leipzig. Lookman already got a taste of Premier League life last season when he spent the campaign as a loanee with Fulham. He was a regular for the Cottagers, appearing in 34 of 38 games, but could only register four goals and four assists for a club with an overall weak attack. Despite looking the most threatening most of the games he played, it simply could not translate to FPL relevance. Could things change with the Foxes?

The odds would say “probably not”. It is a bit of a strange addition. Leicester have grown so much in their league status over the years, and now in a Champions League season, it makes sense to beef up the depth of the squad. But, Lookman’s path to regular playing time is blocked both by proven players above him and the formation that Brendan Rodgers deploys. Even before Lookman’s arrival, there has been some speculation about how the Foxes could line up, as it seems there is no sensible way to include the likes of Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho in the same side. We know Barnes is best-suited for attacking from wide left, which is where Lookman was typically seen with Fulham. There is also names like Patson Daka, Ayoze Pérez and even Week 3’s veteran hero Marc Albrighton still in the mix. Any player with talent and form has a chance to be a relevant player in FPL but the odds are stacked pretty steep for Lookman here.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – Arsenal (Defender, 4.5m)

Last and perhaps least, based on how things have begun for Arsenal, the biggest spenders of any club during this summer’s window is the promising Japanese international Tomiyasu. As his 4.5m price tag should indicate though, he is joining a crop of players all with much to prove. Ben White has to be nailed on at center back considering the money that was spent on him and Kieran Tierney looks to be a mainstay at left back, but White’s partner and the right back spot are still up in the air. Tomiyasu is considered more of a center back, but does have his share of experience playing at right back. Given how shaky things have been to start the season, Tomiyasu certainly has the opportunity to nail down a spot somewhere, but it could take some time. So, there are two hurdles to climb before we can have any FPL interest in him. First, he has to nail down a gig. Second, Arsenal’s defense has to improve. In other words, do not expect a Tomiyasu bandwagon any time soon.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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