It was 5:00 P.M. on January 30th when I made the audacious assertion that this article you have just begun reading may not have any relevance, given the minimal amount of business that had taken place over the course of the month. In the email conversation with my manager, ever the optimist, that he asked me to push forward with the plan that had been put in place far earlier.
With less than 24 hours remaining in the transfer window, I had no major qualms with my assignment, or its topic. My only concern was how was I going to provide something of substantial length and creativity to warrant your time as readers. Being an avid follower of soccer as long as I have, I should have known better. As I sat there updating my Twitter feed (you can follow me @MatzyMatz) intermittently between training lectures and their supplemental computer based training, this article began to substantiate itself, over, and over, and over.
On the 31st of January, by my count, there were six fantasy-relevant transfers. David Brian wrote up an evaluation of Youri Tielemans, following his move to Leicester, and I discussed the fantasy implications of Miguel Almiron moving from Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United to Newcastle this past weekend. If you keep your internet dial tuned to Never Manage Alone, I can confirm that there will be analyses of Denis Suarez and perhaps Michy Batshuayi crossing the English Channel to London’s Arsenal and Palace respectively. Less publicized, at least on my side of the pond, moves that have the opportunity to provide some fantasy impact included Fulham swooping for Lazar Markovic, and Peter Crouch rejoining the Premier League at Burnley. My assertion that the transfer window was going to be an uneventful occasion was premature.
Combine moves listed above with the acquisitions, via loan or purchase, of the handful of earlier names that triggered the interests of fantasy managers, and there is a bountiful influx of new fantasy options, many more than I had expected in that fretful email. The early names of note include Ryan Babel, Gonzalo Higuain, Nathaniel Clyne, Oumar Niasse, and Jason Puncheon. There may be more, of course; any player could pop up for with an unexpected, noticeable, performance. But, these are the ones that raise the highest interest.
From an analysis perspective, there are five new-boys who intrigue me for the second half of the season:
- Gonzalo Higuain, FWD, Chelsea (£9.5m)
- Miguel Almiron, MID, Newcastle (£6.0m)
- Michy Batshuayi, FWD, Crystal Palace (£6.5m)
- Nathaniel Clyne, DEF, Bournemouth (£4.4m)
- Oumar Niasse, FWD, Cardiff (£5.0m).
Some of these speak for themselves. Gonzalo Higuain prospered as predicted, meeting the standard of expectation that comes with leading the line of an English “Big Six” club. If his presence continues to have an impact on the the team’s conductor, Eden Hazard, it is hard to imagine Higuain not becoming a mainstay in many fantasy lineups.
We have yet to see the impacts that Miguel Almiron or Michy Batshuayi will have on their clubs, but at least Bats earned 10 Fantrax points in his 8-minute intro cameo on the weekend, a good omen. Now the anticipation of having plugged in the last piece of the puzzle for Newcastle’s and Palace’s attacks suggests they’re fantasy players who will outplay their designated cost.
Nathaniel Clyne makes the list, as it is the year of the fullback after all. Bournemouth held Chelsea scoreless in the first appearance of Gonzalo Higuain, as well as the West Ham game the week prior, two games in which Clyne participated. The Cherries are in the middle of a rough stretch of schedule, but following week 29, it opens up for fantasy goodness. They have proven able to pour in the goals. If they can add some defensive reliability, Nathaniel Clyne could be the next great budget defender, a la Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Matt Doherty.
And finally, Oumar Niasse is a proven commodity who fits directly into the playing style that Neil Warnock is trying to implement at Cardiff. His £5.0m price tag becomes the best budget striker option with Aboubakar Kamara being shipped out of the Fulham team.
Those are the players that I am most intrigued by. But, I am merely a single mortal entity. So, I ask of all of you, What transfer do you think was the best piece of business for fantasy managers?
Which January transfer will offers the greatest fantasy impact for the remainder of the season?
This poll is closed
Other (Post in Comment Section)
Be sure to vote before the poll closes at this weekend’s FPL deadline! For continued discussion of January transfers, please comment below.