With just over a week to go in the January transfer window it would seem an ideal time to access the players signed in the summer window. I haven't listed all the signings, rather the signing we felt were key in the summer.
The star signing of the summer as Arsenal paid around £40m to bring the Real Madrid play-maker to the Premier League. His opening day performance set a few pulses racing and the form the following weeks suggested Arsenal had proven to the critics they could not only attract star players but with his aid were now a title contender. Ozil has a reputation both in Germany and Spain to be a player who goes in and out of form. So far in his first season in the Premier League this analysis seems correct. White hot in the late summer months into the autumn, a dip has since followed. The decision to continue playing him when this dip came is questionable as Ozil then picked up an injury. His return this month has yet to bring the early season form back. Ozil's arrival seems to have coincided with the squad finding belief in themselves. They head the league table and have shown the ability to both dig out a result and to turn a game around. This title winning attribute was missing from the squad last season. Second, an underrated point is the focus the opposition has forced upon him when playing to face Arsenal. If you get a chance to watch them live Ozil attracts opposing players. This attraction creates space for the deep midfield talent Ramsay, Cazorla, Wiltshire etc and Ramsay in particular he benefited.
Fantasy value - In the opening weeks we thought we had this seasons Cazorla. The most common season keeper in peoples minds he has yet to meet the heights. A few have sold him and many have used the bench option in recent weeks. At this stage last season Cazorla was only behind Bale in the cost of midfield talent. Ozil sits 25th in the midfield rankings in cost at a current price of 11.76. His top three weekly scores are 29, 19 and 18pts. He has only 6 scores 10pts or over with only 3 of those since week 9.
Manchester United and David Moyes last day panic signing has been a bigger failure than anyone could imagine. United fans support their own but there was little excitement of this signing and watching Arsenal spend £42 on Ozil, a player many Utd fans and Wayne Rooney wanted has not helped matters. Fellaini has like most of the Man Utd midfield has not been given a run in the side in a large part to injury. When given the early chances he has been selected in central or defensive midfield. This is just a personal view here but I believe his best position is the one he adopted in his last Everton season playing in behind the centre forward. His battering ram style, strength and work rate caused a number of sides including Utd themselves plenty of problems. Playing in midfield though has been a problem. Whilst he lacks nothing in effort his simply has yet to show any sign of the passing skills, movement or technical skills needed to play in that position. Further from a defensive midfield point of view his reading of the game is in question as is his pace to mark midfield runners. Bottom line, he is a much better player than we have seen and should get a chance in the second half of the season to make an impact. His physical style while a little ugly at times is just the fight the side need in the remaining weeks.
Fantasy value - Well none!. Always a booking magnet but no yellow this season, he has always needed goals to make him a fantasy pick. Playing deep and playing rarely he hasn't been in our thoughts since the opening couple weeks. Currently priced at 9m he can be viewed as a sleeper to keep and eye on. Unless United overpay in the transfer window, Fellaini will be expected alongside Carrick to lead the side into a top 4 challenge. United will need to win games and what better way to use him than late at Old Trafford needing a goal with cross after cross coming into the box.
"The Beast" a nickname that means you can't roll over under the slightest contact, you can't moan at lifes luck and you better be good or you will find yourself with a new nickname. Negredo has lived up to his billing and done so under the pressure of playing for a side the size of Manchester City. Having said all of that lets look at the statistics. Negredo has 9 league goals which puts him 9th place on the goalscorers chart. When you consider City have scored over 100 league goals it becomes less impressive. Negredo in his first season looks the home bird with the majority of these goals coming at home. Further he has yet to score a league brace or better. It is coming and you hope you will be on him when it happens. However there have been games where he simply isn't in the match, Swansea away and just this week home to Cardiff. What he has done is followed a bad performance with an improved performance. No pace or real skill he is very much a stereotypical English centre forward and contrasts Kun Aguero when they play together. So all in all is he a success that compliments the squad and team play,
Fantasy value- Failure to score more than one goal a game means his top score is 21pts achieving this in his last away game at Newcastle. 9 double figure games and 9 games he has scored hmmmm do we have a pattern. Can only improve and with the way City play those braces and better will come.
Now here is a player with mixed reputation. Prior to his move to the Premier League he was linked with anyone and everyone. The young dane had been a consistent success at Ajax so why did he end not end up in a team already in the Champions League?. Well, often critics would point to his lack of pace or inability to beat a man. His best position is behind the forward. Looking back he clearly was not an AVB signing of choice as he was quickly pushed out of the first team. The sacking of AVB and appointment of Tim Sherwood has relaunched his Tottenham career. Strangely he has mainly played to the left hand side of a midfield four before in the last match he played behind the forward, a role he looks so much better suited. The second half of the season will tell us more. Now the star of the team he seems to be relishing the responsibility. Set pieces, play-making and now adding goals he is the player to mark tightly, This will be his challenge. Without pace he will need to adjust to the defensive tactics the opposition take.
Fantasy value - In the last few weeks he has exploded. He really reminds me of David Beckham although yet to quite match his points just yet. He strikes me as a ten point par game week in week out with 20pt plus games common with his set piece goals. If he could just get penalty duties he would be a must. A question Is he better in fantasy than in the real world?
For those of you who do not watch leagues outside the Premier League, how Tottenham paid the money they did will for Mr Soldado will confuse you. However, Soldado is one of the best finishers in European football, or at least he was. Soldado has clever movement which creates space for others and himself but he needs service. He cannot produce his own chances often. Tottenham under AVB had not been set up to get the best out of him. He confidence fell and forwards thrive on confidence. When the chances then came he snatched at them and panicked. The next few months are big for him, Should Tim Sherwood continue a 442 system it will suit his game better but the team will struggle to control games. Should they go with one up top and Eriksen behind, Soldado will find himself benched.
Fantasy value - At times he has looked ready to break through. Just the 5 goals and 4 from the penalty spot sum his season up so far. He was a potential season keeper but that view is long gone. One to avoid/monitor and perhaps the seasons biggest disappointment. If he heads back to Spain/Italy in the summer watch him hit 20 goals plus next season.
Eto'o is one of the most successful African player to ever play football. A goal scorer at every club he has played and at 32 on paper not too far off his prime. A hat trick in his last game against Manchester United suggests Chelsea have picked up the piece missing from the puzzle last season, a top centre forward. However, discount the Utd game and Eto'o has disappointed as much as all the Chelsea forwards. The acceleration and movement has clearly declined since leaving Barcelona and that was a huge part of his game. Perhaps the Utd game was a sign of improvement to come but Eto'o is an old 32 year old.
Fantasy value - A lottery to select him as you cannot be sure whether he starts from one game to the next. With Torres injury he should hold the premier league starting position and if you picked him up on the barn door then is a viable option against West Ham next week.
Wilfred has been a slow start signing for Swansea. Getting familiar with a new league, country and team is a challenge for many players. When you consider the new team has been stripped with injuries and suspensions plus have had to deal with the distraction of the Europa Cup. Eased into the side he has now settled into the first team forward position and shown growing confidence. A real performance of power and pace against Manchester City on New Years day caught the eye and he followed up with the winner at Old Trafford in the FA Cup.
Fantasy value - Bony like his performances have been improving. It will be interesting to see
how he can progress with a fully fit Swansea side and with a relationship with Michu. The Man City brace showed us the potential and in the second half of the season picking him with the right fixture could be bring rewards. Home to Fulham next week, hmmmmm,
So there we go. How do you view the chosen players progress and have any proven a successful fantasy choice for you? Has any of the list become a favourite player to pick? Of the summer signings made not in the short list above, who has caught your attention?
Finally I have attached a poll. Lets vote based on their fantasy impact rather than their impact in the real world.