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End of July EPL Summer Transfer Round-Up

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There have been several big moves in the second half of July as the Premier League’s summer transfer window approaches its end. Which recently incoming players should we watch?

Joelinton - Newcastle - Premier League
Can Joelinton fill the massive hole up front at Newcastle?
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

With the August 8 deadline for the incoming summer transfer window looming, July moves have continued to trickle in. Let’s take a look at the biggest confirmed transfers into the Premier League covering the second half of the month, and weigh whether fantasy managers should consider taking a flyer on any of them when assembling their teams.

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Joelinton (Newcastle United)

  • POSITION: Forward
  • FPL PRICE: £6.0m
  • FORMER TEAM: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Germany’s Bundesliga)
  • NATIONALITY: Brazil
  • TRANSFER FEE: $50.2m
  • AGE: 22
  • 2018-19 STATISTICS: 7 goals, 7 assists in 28 Bundesliga games
  • CAREER STATISTICS: 7 goals, 7 assists in 29 Bundesliga games

PROGNOSIS: During his time as Newcastle manager, Rafa Benitez seemed in a near-constant struggle with ownership regarding player investment, and he finally got a big wish granted with the record signing of attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron in January. But did that signify a true change of direction? Well, Benitez left in June (landing at China’s Dalian Yifang), so let’s fathom a guess that he was not sold on that premise.

This summer, Newcastle has sold attacker (and leading scorer) Ayoze Perez to Leicester for $38.1m, while second-leading scorer Salomon Rondon departed following his loan from West Brom (hitching back up with Rafa at Dalian Yifang). Together, Perez (12) and Rondon (11) combined for 23 of Newcastle’s 42 goals; no other player had more than four. Now Newcastle has invested a big chunk of change to bring in new record signing Joelinton, albeit for not too much more than Perez brought in.

Despite the two massive openings up front, it remains to be seen just how ready Joelinton is for Premier League action, and whether Rafa’s replacement Steve Bruce will field a two striker set or a single point man up front. Furthermore, the new skipper has other options in the form of Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto, either or both of whom he may choose instead. Interestingly, Muto offers a cautionary tale for Joelinton: after scoring 8 goals with 4 assists for FSV Mainz 05 in 27 Bundlesiga games in 2017-18, Muto came over to Newcastle last summer. What happened then? Muto managed only one goal (and no assists) in 17 EPL appearances for the Magpies in 2018-19.

The flip side of having two openings is that so much of the offense has vanished that, even more than they did last season, the Magpies will probably struggle to score unless another big buy is in the works for August. At the moment, that makes it difficult to get excited about investing in the Newcastle offense. With all of that in mind, I would approach the newcomer with hesitation, rather than jumping in, despite Joelinton’s affordable price tag in fantasy. After all, a slew of forwards with proven track records — Bournemouth’s Joshua King, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, Watford’s Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu, and Wolves’ Diogo Jota — beckon at only £0.5m more.

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Sebastian Haller (West Ham)

  • POSITION: Forward
  • FPL PRICE: £7.5m
  • FORMER TEAM: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany’s Bundlesliga)
  • NATIONALITY: France
  • TRANSFER FEE: $45.6m
  • AGE: 25
  • 2018-19 STATISTICS: 15 goals, 9 assists in 29 Bundesliga games
  • CAREER STATISTICS: 24 goals, 13 assists in 60 Bundesliga games

PROGNOSIS: West Ham’s offense continues to undergo a major make-over ahead of manager Manuel Pellegrini’s second season in London. Marko Arnautovic, Andy Carroll, Samir Nasri, and Lucas Perez are gone, as Haller joins previous summer addition Pablo Fornals (from Villareal of Spain’s La Liga); meanwhile, the status of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez remains in limbo.

Whether Chicharito stays or goes, it seems likely that Pellegrini will roll with Haller, Fornals, and Felipe Anderson at the center of his offense. With talented players such as Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini, Robert Snodgrass, Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko as options to support that trio in the XI, the Hammers should create an entertaining attack; the team’s 52 goals put it in the upper half of Premier League teams last season, and that was with Arnautovic, Carroll, Lanzini, Wilshere, and Yarmolenko missing an awful lot of time from injury.

Chelsea v Eintracht Frankfurt - UEFA Europa League Semi Final : Second Leg
Will Marko Arnautovic fans now turn to Sebastian Haller in fantasy?
Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Haller’s price tag is far from outrageous, but the problem is that he enters at the same cost as Wolves’ Raul Jimenez, who returned 181 points last season in 3,117 minutes. Marko Arnautovic delivered 117 points in 1,988 minutes, which extrapolates to 183 points in the same number of minutes that the healthy Jimenez managed. Even if you are optimistic about Haller, do you expect him to match or exceed the production of Jimenez or Arnautovic last season when they were both outstanding? It’s certainly very possible, but not probable. While I’ve got my eyes on Haller, I’m still putting the promising newcomer in the wait and see department.

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Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa)

  • POSITION: Midfielder
  • FPL PRICE: £4.5m
  • FORMER TEAM: Manchester City (EPL)
  • NATIONALITY: Brazil
  • TRANSFER FEE: $19.2m (reportedly with a buy-back clause, as per Birmingham Mail)
  • AGE: 21
  • 2018-19 STATISTICS: 0 goals, 0 assists in 23 La Liga games (loaned to Girona)
  • CAREER STATISTICS: 0 goals, 0 assists in 15 La Liga games (all with Girona)

PROGNOSIS: This one theoretically ticks a lot of boxes that would normally have fantasy managers salivating: Brazilian national; Manchester City product; going to a lesser EPL team with the promise of plenty of playing time; and dirt cheap FPL price. However, the negatives far outweigh the positives, as Aston Villa have added so many players, it seems like they’re throwing darts at the board, hoping one or two will stick. Even worse, Luiz has no goals or assists in 38 career La Liga games, so it would take a miracle change in both role and production to make even the barest fantasy investment pay off.

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Dani Ceballos (Arsenal)

  • POSITION: Midfielder
  • FPL PRICE: £5.5m
  • FORMER TEAM: Real Madrid (Spain’s La Liga)
  • NATIONALITY: Spain
  • TRANSFER FEE: N/A (loan deal)
  • AGE: 22
  • 2018-19 STATISTICS: 3 goals, 0 assists in 23 La Liga games
  • CAREER STATISTICS: 7 goals, 4 assists in 100 La Liga games

PROGNOSIS: Fantasy managers will naturally approach this addition with caution, given that the January 2019 loan of midfielder Denis Suarez from Barcelona was a complete dud. Another worry from a FPL perspective is that Ceballos simply doesn’t have an appetizing statistical track record, as the central midfielder has never notched more than three goals or two assists in a single season in La Liga. However, that can be explained away at least in part by a lack of minutes; the young talent has basically accumulated what would be considered two full seasons across his five campaigns with Real Betis and then Real Madrid. On top of that, the top-notch quality of Real Madrid’s midfield veterans and Ceballos’ young age put the bright prospect in a far more favorable light.

Mesut Ozil disappointingly earned part-time minutes in Emery’s first season as Arsenal manager, and Ceballos should permanently banish Ozil to the bench as the newcomer puts his stamp on the creative, central role in the XI. Linking up with offensive threats Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette (as well as the rumored but not official addition of Nicolas Pépé) makes Ceballos an intriguing fantasy prospect. Ceballos does boast finishing aplomb and savvy set-up skills, but whether the frequency of those contributions will prove regular enough to justify investment in the FPL format which exclusively rewards goals and assists is a huge question mark. In a more well-rounded platform such as Fantrax, the stylish Ceballos may be worth taking an immediate chance.

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Jesús Vallejo (Wolves)

  • POSITION: Defender
  • FPL PRICE: £5.0m
  • FORMER TEAM: Real Madrid (Spain’s La Liga)
  • NATIONALITY: Spain
  • TRANSFER FEE: N/A (loan deal)
  • AGE: 22
  • 2018-19 STATISTICS: 1 goals, 0 assists in 5 La Liga games
  • CAREER STATISTICS: 1 goals, 0 assists in 12 La Liga games

PROGNOSIS: Normally fantasy managers would be very excited to see a 22-year old central defender move from Real Madrid to an EPL side on loan. However, the lack of a track record from Vallejo will temper hopes of him being able to lock down a regular role in the XI, even for a non-Big Six side. Following last season’s successful return to the Premiership by Wolves, I expect Nuno Espirito Santo to continue to rely on the same defense of Willy Boly, Conor Cody, and Ryan Bennett in the middle, flanked by Matt Doherty and Jonny Otto as wing backs.

Wolves were extremely fortunate last season in avoiding injury, as it became a running joke well into the season that Santo had the most boring, set line-up in the league. It is nearly impossible that the same luck will hold this time. Having a five-man defense — and three in the middle — should offer Vallejo some playing time when someone in central defense breaks down or if a veteran’s form fails to hold. It may take some patience, but eventually we should be able to see the newcomer’s Real Madrid bona fides in action. However, even if Vallejo cracks the XI immediately, you’re not getting a discount on him compared to Boly, Cody or Bennett, so why bother?

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[NOTE: Statistics, transfer fees, and some of the other player info came via www.transfermarkt.com, unless otherwise noted. FPL player prices and past seasons’ fantasy scoring info came from the official fantasy Premier League website.]

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Which of the above-listed transfers are you watching for your fantasy teams, and whom are you dead-set against? Are there any other players not included who deserve mention? Take the poll below and please share your thoughts in the comments!

Poll

Which EPL transfer from the latter half of July is the best fantasy prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Dani Ceballos
    (19 votes)
  • 43%
    Sebastian Haller
    (44 votes)
  • 19%
    Joelinton
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    Douglas Luiz
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    Jesus Vallejo
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (name in comments)
    (0 votes)
  • 11%
    None, not interested in any of them
    (12 votes)
102 votes total Vote Now

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