Fantasy FPL 2014/15 Transfer round up
Congratulations to Germany on their fantastic World Cup win but time waits for no man and so we move on already! As we eagerly anticipate the imminent launch of this seasons FPL game, many teams have been busy in the transfer market market already despite the World Cup distractions. Louis Van Gaal has wasted little time in beginning the rebuilding process at Old Trafford, Jose went early with Fabregas and Costa, Brendan has ripped the heart out of Southampton and even Arsene has jumped to it with the rather exciting purchase of Sanchez. Over the next series of articles we will give you a run down on the main transfers that have occurred, the potential impact of each player and more importantly we will examine whether they are a viable fantasy football option for your new team.
Let’s begin with a simple table that we will update each time with the main transfers in for each team –
We shall begin with some of the big ones. Chelsea came so close last season in Jose’s first season back at the club and it was somewhat surprising to see them surrender the advantage they had so feebly. When you consider that they trailed by just four points in the end but in the last nine games and suffered defeats to Villa, Palace and Sunderland it really was an opportunity lost. Jose has been ruthless as ever though and recruited two of the top talents from La Liga which will surely see them move on a level or two from last term and be serious contenders for City’s’ crown once more. Lets take a look at the pair.
Diego Costa (from Atletico Madrid, £36m)
Diego Costa is the Chosen one by the “Chosen One” so of course there will be no more excuses coming from Jose if they don’t win the title, WRONG! He will simply get more creative in deflecting blame and look for a different scapegoat if he does not deliver the EPL title. Creative is a good word to segue into the many things the Brazilian Costa, errrr Spanish International offers Chelsea with his arrival. CFC fans and FPL managers will find a player who can finish with both feet, can be lethal on the counter which is surely a helpful attribute when playing for Mourinho and despite his low output in assists last season (3), is very capable of sharing the ball. When playing with Falcao two seasons ago at Atletico Madrid he showed his capacity to pass the ball and work off the central striker. In La Liga last season he had 35 appearances and scored 27 goals with 7 yellows and the aforementioned 3 assists. Why do we mention the 7 yellows you ask? Because this is a marked improvement from the previous seasons, if we exclude his last campaign one will see that over the previous four La Liga seasons he had 34 goals, 17 assists and YES 34 yellows. He is also very, very, very creative in his way of getting booked or earning the wrath of many of his counterparts. We can imagine what a dream it will be for a referee to see that he has been assigned a Chelsea game this upcoming season. Double trouble if you ask us, Costa is what we imagine Mourinho would be like on the pitch if he had any skill. With the departure of Suarez and his biting ways we will definitely need someone to fill the void and the “Panther” as he is known by his fans or “Puto Cabron“ by the rest should do a splendid job of scoring, diving, mini-head butting, studs up tackling and depending on the occasion spitting, but we are sure that will only be reserved for the bigger rivals, the spitting part that is. A man of many talents is on his way to Stamford Bridge hopefully this comes in the way of points for us managers or at the very least a polarizing figure who inspires debate, we hope for both.
Cesc Fabregas (from Barcelona, £28m)
This could be an interesting one. Serial badge kisser Fabregas was a veritable fantasy points machine in his final couple of seasons at Arsenal. He managed to rack up 28 goals and 31 assists in those final two years from 72 appearances. Since his big money ‘dream’ move back home he’s not actually let up much, notching 42 goals and 48 assists in 151 games. So on the face of it, given a reasonable price and playing for a title contender he should be a shoe-in for most squads. There is a big BUT on the horizon here though in the shape of a certain Jose Mourinho. He will play him, no doubt about that and he will be a pivotal figure for Chelsea next season. The big question is where he will play him. At Arsenal Fab was king and was allowed to play wherever the heck he liked in all honesty. At Barca and for Spain, when selected. he has been as far advanced as playing the false No 9 role. That’s very unlikely at Chelsea given the arrival of Diego Costa. The next best scenario then is a role in behind as a No 10. This is a possibility but they have Oscar who is a Jose favourite and kind of cemented that role last season. This may leave Fabregas filling one of the deeper roles in a more traditional midfield sense which will surely dent his appeal. He may well still bag a lot of set-pieces regardless of where he plays so all may not be lost. Keep your eyes peeled as to how he is deployed in pre-season and if it looks like he is to be given some attacking freedom then we suggest he will be a serious contender for your team. If he does hit the ground running then he’s sure to be kissing that Chelsea badge at a ground near you soon!
Last season was clearly one to forget for Manchester United – the retirement of Fergie didn’t go to plan as David Moyes came and almost as quickly went, United finished seventh and have since waved goodbye to Vidic, Ferdinand and likely Evra too in the coming days. Louis van Gaal is the new man at the helm and a busy transfer window is expected as the club aim to return to being a title contender and Champions League football. They have already signed two players in Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera, who we look at below, but with a huge transfer budget believed to be available, expect LVG to be a busy man when he officially joins the club this week.
Luke Shaw (from Southampton, £31.5m)
Shaw finally completed his transfer to Manchester United after the World Cup, though clearly an agreement had been in place way before then. United spent just shy of £30mln on the left back and is a natural replacement for the departed Patrice Evra. There have been many rumours of the formation LVG will use in his first season at the club, but looking at his stats from Southampton days, it would appear that Shaw may be better suited to a 4-4-2 then being used as a wing-back in a 5-3-2 – no goals and just one assist in 35 matches last season does not suggest that Shaw will compare with a Seamus Coleman in attacking returns.
However, on the positive front, United’s first handful of fixtures look appetising, on paper at least, so a few clean sheets will be expected. Secondly LVG is well known for his development and nurturing of younger players and at 18 years of age, Shaw certainly falls into this category. The new manager will be looking for his full backs to join in the attacks and it would not be a surprise to see a huge improvement in those attacking stats for Shaw. It will certainly be worth your while keeping a close eye on United and Shaw in pre-season to see exactly how Shaw will be used by the new manager.
Ander Herrera (from Athletico Bilboa, £28.8m)
Finally United managed to bag the young Spanish midfielder they had spent most of last summer chasing. Not cheap at £35mln, the 24-year old describes joining the Reds as a dream come true. So, what can we expect from the 24 year old? He’s likely to be used in central midfield, an area where United have struggled in recent seasons. Herrera is known as a ball winning midfielder who then looks to pass the ball on quickly to his forwards and attacking midfielders – he is a good distributor of the ball, well organised, almost like a Xavi type of player, tactically sound, but not the sort of player who will dribble round five players, more likely to be the assist to the assister. Last season for Bilbao, Herrera scored five goals and contributed five assists in 33 matches for a side which finished fourth. So as a fantasy prospect, is there any value there? That all depends on whether FPL have introduced new rules for recoveries, balls won etc as per the World Cup McDonalds & MLS formats – if they have then Herrera could be gold, depending on price also, of course. If the rules for midfielders are the same, then he is not the 10 goal as season midfielder you are looking for, nor is he likely to top the assist charts.
Liverpool were without doubt the surprise package of last season and only for an unfortunate slip from Steven Gerrard they would quite possibly have won the league! It was suggested at times last season that Liverpool were rather reliant on a certain Uruguayan, while it was also widely accepted that their squad did not have enough depth. So now that Suarez has done one, where does that leave Liverpool? It certainly means we will see a number of new arrivals at Anfield and to date Brendan Rodgers has brought in three new faces. Let’s take a look at two of them.
Adam Lallana (from Southampton £25m)
Adam Lallana completed his move to Liverpool shortly after England returned home from Brazil and the 26 year old arrives at Anfield carrying the weight of a rather hefty transfer fee. Aside from a short loan period with Bournemouth back in the 2007-08 season Lallana has spent his entire professional career with Southampton and this alone could create some problems as he attempts to settle into life at Anfield. Having come agonisingly close to winning their first title since 1990 Liverpool fans will expect a similar challenge this season and as a result Lallana will be expected to hit the ground running. While Southampton made back to back promotions it was clear that Lallana had an eye for goal as he scored 34 league goals in just three seasons, yet he only managed 3 from 30 appearances when Southampton returned to the promised land in 2012. Last season however he was a fantasy football revelation as he scored nine and picked up nine assists. What will this season bring for Lallana? At this stage it’s hard to tell, as we’re unsure as to where Brendan Rodgers will play him and with Luis Suarez having departed for pastures new, Liverpool may be forced to somewhat alter their style of play. Without wanting to state the obvious, Lallana is the type of player Rodgers likes, in that he’s intelligent and is comfortable on the ball while he will also allow Liverpool to slow the play down when needed. All this suggests that he is likely to see quite a bit of game time as Liverpool prepare for life without Suarez.
Rickie Lambert (from Southampton, £4m)
It was a widely held opinion that Liverpool’s squad was not deep enough to cope with the coming season, so it was no surprise when Brendan Rodgers got his summer spending underway before the World Cup had even begun, although it was a surprise to some that Rickie Lambert was his first summer signing. However on the face of it, it could be s shrewd purchase by Rodgers as he has brought in an experienced striker for just £4m. Liverpool will be Lambert’s seventh club and the good news for Liverpool fans is that Lambert has scored goals nearly everywhere he has played, albeit at a lower level. However in his only two seasons in the Premier League he has scored 15 & 13 goals, a record which isn’t going to set the world alight but also shouldn’t be ignored. Even with the recent departure of Luis Suarez you would have to imagine that Lambert will be the clubs 3rd striker as Rodgers will be forced into the market for another frontline striker. Nevertheless, with Liverpool set to embark on their first Champions League campaign in five seasons Lambert will certainly be given the opportunity to impress and who knows, he might yet prove to be an effective 3rd striker for your FPL side!
Thanks for reading Fantasy FPL 2014/15 Transfer round up. This article was written by Cookie, Inittowint, Kop and Mito.