The season is drawing close and the moves are starting to come in faster than before so in an effort to try to keep up, we're going to combine a few news items here and get to their fantasy implications as well. Fortunately, none of them are terribly important for the first week of the season so they are best filed under "Barn Door Knowledge" or "Things to Remember" rather than "Act Immediately".
Before we get to the analysis, here's a quick recap of the significant deals that have been completed today:
Liverpool: Signs Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi from Heerenveen.
Sunderland: Signs French/Perpetually Injured forward Louis Saha from a training table.
Newcastle: FINALLY Signs Ajax midfielder/defender Vurnon Anita.
Here's what it all means to your fantasy team:
Oussama Assaidi: Up - He'll be coming in at a low price and as a speedy, goal-scoring winger (9 and 10 over the last two seasons) it feels like there's some potential there. Throw in Liverpool's lack of wide players outside of Downing and it seems likely he'll get some solid playing time if the Premier League isn't a bridge too far.
Joe Cole: Down - Not that we expected much from the returning Cole but it just got more crowded in a spot that he could conceivably play. Outside of getting paid a ton of money, things haven't really gone Joe's way in, well, forever.
Louis Saha: Up - Assuming he can stay healthy (a HUGE if, we know), this is a great move for Saha and seems to be about the level where he is the most successful. If Sunderland has their way, they'll still bring in another, more durable solution and Saha will be reduced to an "instant offense" role off the bench where he is more likely to stay healthy 20 minutes at a time.
Sunderland's Other Forwards: Down - The options - Ji-Dong Won, Connor Wickham, and Frazier Campbell - aren't exceptional but they are really cheap but Saha's arrival certainly will eat into their playing time assuming he's healthy (again, a HUGE if). I'd imagine that this won't be Sunderland's last forward acquisition so this seems likely to change.
Vurnon Anita: Up-ish - The big question with any versatile performer like Anita - he has played at left back and in midfield for Ajax - is a) where does he ACTUALLY play and b) where is he listed in your favorite fantasy game? Given the price paid, you have to assume that he will start somewhere with the suspicion being left back. If he is listed as a defender then that could be interesting. If he is playing mostly in defense but listed as a (clean sheet-less) midfielder then that's far less interesting. We'll have to wait and see on this one.
Ryan Taylor: TBD - Assuming that Anita does play left back then we are confronted with the real possibility that RTay will take a hit in playing time. There does remain the potential that he will be moved up in midfield which could actually boost his value. Finally, it could be that Anita will play in midfield and not disturb Taylor's minutes at all. Too much still to be determined here to know. Even worse, with Anita's arrival coming so soon before the start of the season there's a reasonable chance we don't get to find out which way this will fall until next week or later.
Kyle Bartley: Up - After being on loan with one-time football team Rangers last season, Bartley will get a chance to play in the Premier League with Swansea. There is a definite chance for Bartley here with Steven Caulker having headed back to sit on the bench at Spurs and play some Cup matches. Vice-captain Alan Tate started coming back from a significant leg injury late last season and will likely be Bartley's main competitor for a starting CB spot. We'll have to see how Swansea are on defense in the post-Rodgers era but this situation is worth monitoring.