As the transfer window closed on Monday night (or Tuesday morning for certain clubs), we saw a flurry of activity that will have a major impact on the Premier League in general and certainly on our fantasy football season. With the biggest moves being focused on Old Trafford as global superstar Radamel Falcao comes in (see our first thoughts on his arrival here) and Danny Welbeck moves on to top four rival Arsenal (see a more in depth analysis of Welbeck’s potential here), we take a look at some of the other transfers that took place on that hectic final day of the window and see if there are any worthy investments.
Tom Cleverley - £5.3m
Cleverley has come in for much abuse over the last few years in both a Man United shirt and an England shirt as his performances haven’t lived up to the very high expectations of both sets of fans. However, with one year left on his contract, he something to prove and a fresh start at a different club whilst he spends the season on loan at Villa, Cleverley could turn out to surprise a few people with his performances. Roy Keane, Villa’s assistant manager, would have seen a lot of Cleverley throughout his time at United and wouldn’t allow his current club to make a serious offer, let alone beg the Premier League to allow the move to go though after the deadline, if he didn’t see any potential in the midfielder. That being said, Cleverley doesn’t offer much in terms of fantasy football with only 3 goals and 3 assists recorded for the past 2 seasons whilst playing in a much more attacking United team that will naturally outscore a team like Villa. With Villa’s upcoming fixtures too, the overwhelming conclusion is to avoid Cleverley at this stage of the season.
The Saints used the final day of the transfer window to finish their rebuilding project under Ronald Koeman after the summer exodus by signing two new players:
Toby Alderweireld - £5m
Southampton completed a couple of strong signings on deadline day that may have slipped under the radar but could have a big impact on fantasy football. Starting at the back, the Saints have signed a strong defender in Toby Alderweireld. Naturally a centre-back, but can also play right-back, Alderweireld signed on a season-long loan from current La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, where he played 12 games last season. It is expected that Alderweireld will compete with Yoshida and Gardos to partner Fonte at centre-back and if he makes that position his own he could prove to be a solid fantasy football defensive acquisition.
Sadio Mane - £7m
Southampton’s signing of Senegalese forward Sadio Mane poses some interesting questions for our teams. Obviously untried in the Premier League, Mane comes in to the Saints squad with an excellent pedigree in front of goal, albeit in the Austrian league for Red Bull Salzborg. With a goalscoring record of better than one in every two games and the ability to play both up front as well as in midfield, centrally or on the wing, a lot depends on how Ronald Koeman decides to deploy his new signing. He’s a flair player who is very good with the ball at his feet as he runs at defenders, trying to put them on the back foot with an obvious eye for goal so if he clicks with the Southampton set-up quickly he could end up grabbing attacking point returns as the season unfolds. It’s wise to hold back on purchasing him and instead keep an eye on how he fits into the Southampton team for the time being, especially with a FPL price tag of £7m.
Deadline Day saw Hull make some ambitious signings going forward as they look to bolster their attacking options after losing Shane Long to Southampton:
Hatem Ben Arfa - £5.8m
In terms of natural talent, Ben Arfa has plenty. However, a series of injuries and the subsequent falling out of favour at Newcastle had left him a frustrated figure on the sidelines at St James’ Park. A season-long loan to Hull was the answer and if he can find a starting berth in Steve Bruce’s team he could be a bargain at his £5.8m price-tag. He has the ability to win a game on his own, score goals as well as create them and is a defender’s worst nightmare if he’s running towards them with the ball. His major weaknesses unfortunately pose a risk in fantasy football as he is both susceptible to injures and can be very inconsistent; two traits we tend to avoid when selecting our squads. For that reason it would be a gamble to bring him in but one that would be fruitful if he hits top form consistently.
Gaston Ramirez - £5.5m
Ramirez came to the Premier League with high expectations but has never fulfilled them since his £12m move from Italy. Another player to suffer with many injuries, Ramirez only completed 90 minutes for the Saints once last year and has moved north in the hope of more game time as he looks to establish himself as a Premier League player. He’s capable of playing the number 10 role in Bruce’s favoured 3-4-1-2 system but can also play out wide and is known for his clever forward passes and excellent technique. With so many options in midfield it’s a wait and see game with Hull’s team but if he can nail down the number 10 berth then he could be a worthwhile fifth midfielder. However, it will be a few weeks before we see how Bruce wants to line up and whether Ramirez has any part to play so hold off until things become clearer.
Abel Hernandez - £7m
The new recruit from Palermo for a club-record £10m is Hull’s direct replacement for the departed Shane Long, which should see him get regular starts for Steve Bruce’s team playing up front alongside Jelavic. Last season Hernandez had his most prolific season yet as he scored 14 goals in 28 games whilst also picking up 3 assists. However, this was in Serie B as Palermo earned promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking. Hernandez’s goalscoring record in Serie A leaves much to be desired with only 17 goals in 83 appearances, resulting in an average of a goal every 250 minutes. With the insecurity surrounding starting places in the Hull midfield now they’ve strengthened significantly over the summer, the safest route into Hull’s attacking points will be through the strikers. However, with Jelavic a whole £1m cheaper and having scored 2 goals in his last 2 games, plus a whole bunch of better options on or below the £7m mark (Naismith, Weimann, Berahino, Diouf etc), Hernandez isn’t particularly tempting in terms of fantasy football potential.
Zeki Fryers - £4.4m
Zeki Fryers has come into the Crystal Palace squad on the final day of the transfer window to find that he’s the only recognised left back among the senior squad. Since releasing Dean Moxey and Jonny Parr at the end of last season, Palace have been without a natural left back with both Joel Ward and summer signing Martin Kelly playing there this season. It is expected therefore that Fryers will slot straight in at left back and, barring an awful run of form, will make that spot his own in the Palace back four. This will make him the cheapest route into the Palace defence that was so strong last season but is expected to leak goals this year under the management of Neil Warnock, as displayed by the 3-3 draw with Newcastle last weekend.
- Daley Blind (Man Utd)
- Benjamin Stambouli (Tottenham)
- Sandro (QPR)
- Mo Diame (Hull)
- James McArthur (Crystal Palace)
- Nathaniel Chalobah (Burnley)
Throughout the whole of transfer deadline day we saw holding midfielders linked with moves to new clubs, and many of those materialised by the 11pm deadline. These players may all be very talented individuals who are able to break up the play and keep the ball moving, starting attacks from deep; but they don’t pose much potential in terms of fantasy football. Defensive midfielders have never been successful because they rarely get the attacking points due to playing so deep but don’t get the clean sheet bonus either due to being listed as midfielders. It is worth noting though that these defensive players often make others around them play better. The defensive work they do allows the attacking players in the team to flourish as they have more time and space on the ball, contributing to a better overall team display and more attacking returns for the creative midfielders. With that in mind, keep an eye on how Man United’s attacking play develops with Blind in the frame supporting them defensively; we could see them get a lot better quickly just because of his defensive duties.