The week in Fantasy Premier League: Transfer window players - worth a punt or wait and see?

There wasn't too much in the midweek games to get Fantasy Premier League managers excited - all the best action was off the field.

What turned out to be one of the most active January transfer windows ever left an changed FPL landscape in its wake, not least for the 13.7% who owned the in-form Riyad Mahrez (LEI, 8.7).

 

Managers who wisely saved their free transfer are now poised to reap the benefits - but with players still finding their feet at new clubs, some patience yet may be required.

The lower the price, the less risk involved, so with that in mind, let's take a look at some of the standout prospects that have emerged this week.

 

Worth a punt

One player who really caught the eye in GW25 was Newcastle’s loan signing Kenedy (NEW, 4.7).

Were it not for a fluffed Joselu penalty, he was set for a double-figure haul and would surely have garnered more attention in the FPL market had he done so.

Rafa was coy on where he saw the versatile 21-year-old fitting in on Tyneside - but his average position against Burnley should calm any fears about being consigned to wing-back anonymity.

Comparison courtesy of Fantasyfootballscout.co.uk

 

He’s quickly assumed corner-taking duties too, and providing crosses to a unit like Islam Slimani (NEW, 6.6) should prove to be a well-worn path to goal in the games ahead.

  

 

It won’t do your team balance any favours, but for those desperately looking to cut costs, a transfer to Swansea may just have made Andy King (SWA, 4.2) the cheapest playing midfielder in the game.

Further up the food chain, the decision by Pep to slot Aymeric Laporte (MCI, 5.5) straight into the team against West Brom has certainly aroused plenty of interest in the FPL community.

 

The fact that he fits perfectly into a Christensen-shaped hole was probably not lost on those mischievous FPL boffins when the time came to price him up.

It’s hard to believe that even Man City would break their transfer record for a benchwarmer. We’ll know for sure when Stones and Kompany are back to full fitness, but Stones, in particular, may struggle to regain his place in the short-term.

This week’s most transferred-in player, Theo Walcott (EVE, 7.2) looks reborn in his new surroundings. He’s almost guaranteed to play every minute in Everton's constantly fluctuating line-up, and the price is certainly right for such a classy player in this kind of form.

 

Wait and see

 

It’s been an unusually upbeat January transfer window for Arsenal, with the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS, 10.5) understandably generating most of the excitement.

Barely off the plane, it’s hard to see him playing anything close to 90 minutes on Saturday, and given that Arsenal play Spurs and Man City after that, potential FPL suitors would be well advised to hold fire for now.

For owners of Sergio Aguero (MCI, 11.9) in particular, Aubameyang could provide a well-timed replacement for when Gabriel Jesus returns and the Man City rotation merry-go-round kicks into gear once more.

Whether he turns out to be a viable asset now or later, the mere arrival of Aubameyang could well herald a return to the days of needing two big-hitters up top - something to bear in mind when deciding on your future team structure.

 

He certainly won’t be short of scoring opportunities at Arsenal, who were already among the top teams for creating big chances even before the arrival of the well-priced Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ARS, 7.6).

There’s been some fake news about how often he has assisted his former Dortmund teammate, but it’s safe to say they’ll be happy to see each other.

 

The much-maligned Olivier Giroud (CHE, 8.2) could be an option for those with a painless exit strategy in place (namely, an upcoming wildcard).

He's certainly a massive upgrade on the motley crew of candidates first touted for that "big man role" - but the fact that Chelsea were considering those players in the first place would indicate that a permanent tactical shift is unlikely.

Nevertheless, such has been Morata’s dismal form for the past 10 Gameweeks, and if Giroud can hit the ground running, he could be hard to dislodge.

The arrival of Lucas Moura (TOT, 8.0) ratchets up the competition in the Spurs attacking midfield three. Spurs already have him hard at work linking up with his new teammates.

 

With Alli seemingly undroppable and Eriksen returning to form, we could be seeing less of Heung-Min Son's (TOT, 8.1) smiling face on the pitch from now on.

Regular starts for either would offer great value, but if Pochettino returns to his penchant for rotating Son in and out of the team, the pair would effectively cancel each other out, from an FPL point of view.

Daniel Sturridge (WBA, 7.9) really is one for the gamblers out there, but he definitely has the potential to reward what would be a massive leap of faith. Coming as he does just as budget strikers have emerged, however, it’s hard to justify his price - especially when compared to the likes of Jordan Ayew (SWA, 5.2) and Leonardo Ulloa (BRI, 4.8), as well as the red-hot Callum Wilson (BOU, 5.8).

 

Over at Palace, Alexander Sørloth (CRY, 5.5) is worth adding to the watchlist for the day Roy Hodgson finally loses patience with Christian Benteke.

Remember - there’s no rush to bring many of these players in, as their price won’t increase for a while anyway.

One to avoid

By this stage, most of us are looking to take some kind of a punt. Those doing well want to push for the very top, while the rest of us are on the lookout for the new Josh King to breathe new life into our season.

This can often lead to the FPL equivalent of beer goggles, as we eye up the more ‘mercurial’ players across the dancefloor that is the transfer market.

The thought of bringing a former Barcelona winger into your squad may sound appealing, but if you recruit Gerard Deulofeu (WAT, 6.0), you’ll really only have yourself to blame.

QUICK TIP

With all the focus on new players, it’s important not to ignore the (often negative) impact they have on the FPL potential of the players in their new teams.

The signing of Martin Dubravka (NEW, 4.5) should see the end of Darlow and Eliot.

A niggling hamstring injury keeps André Ayew (SWA, 6.8) out of our immediate plans, but his return could affect many of the cut-price players in a rejuvenated Swansea side.

His brother Jordan Ayew (5.2) - now established as the go-to budget forward - could see his role change. It also looks unlikely that £4.4m midfielder Nathan Dyer will continue to start up front under Carvahal - ending that particular bandwagon before it ever really got started.

BUY

Tipping top scorer Mo Salah (LIV, 10.3) is hardly a revelation, granted, but for some reason, more than a quarter of active FPL squads still don’t own him, including many who have not brought him back after GW22.

Perhaps it stubbornness for not buying him at £9.0m or for selling him in the first place, but once the Spurs fixture is out of the way, Liverpool's new penalty taker is a viable captaincy choice for the rest of the season.

TRY

All is clearly not right at Man United - Jose Mourinho’s square-pegs-in-round-holes approach to keeping his attackers happy backfired spectacularly against Spurs.

That said, you’re in dire need of that season-changing boost, you could do worse than gamble on Alexis Sánchez (MUN, 11.7).

 

 

Should Mourinho opt to move him into a central attacking berth, a Sánchez captaincy against a struggling Huddersfield outfit could help you fall in love with FPL again.

 

GOODBYE

This is getting beyond a joke now.

Prudent managers who ignored the prophecies of doom and kept faith with Andreas Christensen (CHE, 5.5) this week seemed to have their good sense rewarded when he started against Bournemouth, only to see him limp off early once again.

Some took it better than others.

 

It’s completely counterintuitive of course, but we’ve all secretly wished for a player we own to get injured, just so we have an excuse to sell him. This is one of those times.

He could return for GW27 - but could you bear to see what happens then?

 

Top of the League

 

It could hardly be tighter at the top of the Official Irish Examiner League! Seamus O’Dowd’s Garfinny Goats and Eoin O'Brien’s Kroos Control are tied at the top on 1,574 points each, with Seamus on top thanks to his two fewer transfers. He will be hoping Kane can get firing again to put some daylight between him and second place.

Long-time contender Will C and his 420 Fedora Fanatics are their nearest challenger, 18 points further back.


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