Fantasy FPL 2014/15 Transfer round up Part 3
Having covered some of the more high profile signings in the last two articles today we look at some of the lesser known but none the less potentially important ones. It’s often the guys we know less about that can make a huge difference one way or the other to your early fantasy squads. They are usually priced kindly and should you get one or two right from the off then they can be fantastic value for money. Think Michu two seasons ago. Think Ramsey in the last one although we all knew him well we just didn’t all anticipate the step up he would make from an also ran to a must have. Southampton have been shopping and bought a couple of well regarded players to replace the rest of the squad who are currently on a bus bound for Liverpool. Newcastle likewise are looking to replace the likes of the long departed Cabaye and the imminently departing Remy and Debuchy and Swansea may have found a gem in ‘Bambi’. Lets take a look at how we feel they may fare….
Southampton were the bright young things last season which culminated in them providing the England squad with three of its members which may have been four had Jay Rodriguez not suffered that late season injury. The future looked promising for them as a team but such is the nature of football today money talks and they now go into the new season having lost their manager as well as Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana to date with other clubs still hovering over the fresh corpse in the hope of landing the likes of Dejan Lovren and the aforementioned Rodriguez. Ronald Koeman has arrived as manager and has quickly returned to his homeland to snap up a couple of replacements in the shape of striker Graziano Pelle and play-maker Dusan Tadic.
Bit of a strange one is Mr Pelle! A quick bit of research reveals that despite him now being 28 yrs old he’s been fairly useless up until the last two seasons and yet the Saints have forked out £9m for him! Someone somewhere rates him as he’s appeared for the Italians at all sorts of youth levels but just never really cut it properly which has led to a bit of a nomadic existence trying to find his feet and possibly his level. Truth is though that his last two seasons have been nothing short of sensational! The bad news is that they were in Holland (sorry Raz!). He’s actually now the second highest scoring Italian outside of his homeland thanks largely to 50 goals for Feyernoord in the last two seasons under the tutelage of the newly appointed Saints boss. Koeman himself said “In terms of his qualities, he’s a tall striker with a lot of movement and he’s fast. He’s a player who gives confidence to the team because he keeps the ball, and he’s very dangerous in front of goal”. Prior to the Feyenoord success he was a bit of a journeyman trying to find his feet in between Italy and Holland with little to show for his efforts but in all fairness some players are just late developers and that may appear to be the case here. Whether he can replicate his Dutch showing in the tougher environment of the EPL remains to be seen but if he can then he could be a great 3rd choice striker as he is likely to be valued quite kindly we feel. If nothing else he’s got a bit of a strange trendy haircut which should immediately endear him to the Southampton locals!
Unlike Pelle, Tadics’ early career has been a success story. He is an attacking midfielder capable of playing on either side and seems a perfect replacement for the departed Lallana. He is a regular Serbian international having made his drbut at 19 and has scored 6 goals in 25 games for his country. He arrives at Southampton from Dutch side FC Twente for a fee believed to be £10.8m having made 66 appearances for them in which time he netted 28 goals. Prior to that he was at FC Gronigen where he scored 14 in 68 and at his previuos club Vojvodina he had equally impressive stats with 29 goals in 107 appearances. So whilst he clearly has an eye for goal what will be even more enticing for fantasy managers is that the lad likes an assist too! In the 2010/11 season he was actually ranked third highest in Europe for assists with 22 that season. In fact he managed 14 assists last season to go with 16 goals in just 33 games. So all in all he looks like a real prospect. We will temper your enthusiasm slightly with two caveats – he achieved all of the above in a less competitive league and he is playing for a team that will be in transition given the wholesale changes. If he hits the ground running though he could be a steal for the Saints and fantasy managers alike.
Siem De Jong
Newcastle lost 11 times in their last 15 games in 2013/14 so it should come as no surprise that Alan Pardew has been a busy man in the transfer market. The Geordies only managed to find the back of the net on 43 occasions, with Loic Remy top scorer on 14 followed by Yohan Cabaye on 7, neither of whom will be at the club this season! De Jong made his debut for Ajax in 2007/08 and since then he has scored 57 goals in 168 league games, although worryingly for Newcastle fans he only made 19 appearances last season due to a number of injuries! It remains to be seen where Pardew will field de Jong, with the Dutchman admitting that his favourite position is in the hole behind just behind the striker. With Newcastle in the market for a striker it would appear that de Jong will be given the opportunity to play as a number 10, unless Pardew opts to play two up top. One thing is for sure and that is that de Jong has already made an impact on his new gaffer with Pardew naming him vice-captain. Newcastle fans will hope he has more of an impact at the club than his brother Luuk had during his loan period last season!! Is he a fantasy football prospect? This will depend on his price and how Pardew utilises him, for now we would suggest a watching brief.
Cabella, who has been in Newcastle’s sights since they attempted to sign him as a replacement for Cabaye back in January, became Pardew’s fourth summer signing, joining from Montpellier for a fee of £12m. This makes him the clubs second most expensive player behind Michael Owen, Newcastle will be hoping that he’s somewhat more successful. The Frenchman certainly has goals in his locker scoring 24 goals in 97 league games across the last three seasons in Ligue 1 and significantly, his returns have increased season on season. Pardew will hoping that he can fill the void left by the aforementioned Cabaye although with Hatem Ben Arfa likely to leave the club he could also feature out wide. He has been described as a fast, agile and creative midfielder who can play on the wing or behind a striker and apparently he loves nothing better than a step-over which is likely to endear himself to the Geordies who still fantasise over a certain David Ginola. On the face of it, it would certainly appear that Newcastle have bought wisely and Cabella could turn out to be a great fantasy football asset as he is likely to pick up both goals & assists from midfield.
Alan Pardew cannot be accused of lounging around as he made Daryl Janmaat his fifth summer signing, a signing that is likely to trigger the transfer of Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal. Janmaat began his professional career back in 2007/08 in the Dutch 2nd division with ADO Den Haag making 25 appearances before making the step up to the Eredivisie with Heerenveen the following season. He played 84 league games for Heerenvenn scoring five time before he made the move to Feyenoord in in 2012 for whom he played 63 league games, scoring five. Last season Newcastle conceded 59 goals yet still managed to keep 10 clean sheets, so should they manage to tighten things up at the back you would expect that they will keep in excess of 10 clean sheets and with Janmaat clearly having an eye for goal he could prove to an interesting prospect. Despite the picture he wasn’t actually signed in the 1920’s, this was the official press release pic sent by Newcastle to the national press. Kind of sums the club up really!
In what could turn out to be one of the best value transfers this summer, the Swans have picked up Gomis on a free transfer from Lyon. The 28 year old striker, who is know affectionately as Baby Boo (but we’ll call him Bambi), has scored 62 goals in 172 games for Lyon over the last five seasons and has represented France on twelve occasions, scoring three goals. Bambi has been courted for a while by a number of clubs, with Newcastle rumoured to have agreed an £8mln fee last summer – however, in perfect Ashley and Pardew style, they screwed up the deal and the Swans have stolen Bambi on a free. Nice going Pards. It remains to be seen whether Bambi will be the main man or will link up with Wilfried Bony, who is constantly being rumoured to be leaving – how Swans boss Garry Monk would love to have them both terrorising Premier League defences and it would definitely add some penetration to what was often a toothless attack for much of last season.
Bambi can finish well with both feet, is strong in the air and very agile despite his size but also has a skilful and tricky side to him which should see him fit perfectly into Swansea’s passing game. Physically, he won’t be intimidated by life in the Premier League as he finally gets his wish of playing in England. Not impressed yet? Ok, well how about this – Bambi scored four goals for Lyon vs Dynamo Zagreb in the 2011/12 Champions League, which featured a hat-trick in just seven minutes, a record for the competition. Goodbye S&S, we now have B&B…assuming Bony stays of course.