Draft Premier League 20/21: Summer Transfer Analysis [Part 1]
The Premier League signings are steadily rolling in, so our Summer Transfer Analysis will delve into the prospects of all the major transfers. We use a five-star rating model to rank the new signings; use these hints and tips to help get your Draft Premier League season off to a flyer!
Read below for the potential impact these players could have on your Draft League. It’s imperative that you know who the new signings are ahead of the upcoming drafts, and what kind of impact they could have on the Premier League!
The Premier League New Signings covered here occurred between February 13th and August 4th.
Summer Transfer Analysis 20/21
We outline each Premier League new signing individually, providing our views on how they will perform this season and a star rating is given based on their upcoming prospects!
We’ve ranked the prospects based on a star rating, from 1 to 5:
⭐️ = Steer clear
⭐️⭐️ = Wait and see
⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Could be worth a punt
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ = Great prospect
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ = The Premier League signing you’ve been waiting for!
Position: Right Winger (Midfielder in Fantrax)
Signed From: Ajax
Prospects: Great business by Chelsea to finalize the deal for Willian’s replacement way back in February. The only frustrating part was the fact that Willian then decided to become the club’s best player post-restart before (apparently) signing for rivals Arsenal. But oh well, in his place Lampard has a man 4 years his junior, with an 8.19 WhoScored rating in the Eredivisie last season (best in the league), 3.7 key passes/game (best in the league), 12 assists (2nd best in the league), and 6 goals. Incredibly these are actually down on his 2018/19 and 2017/18 numbers, so it’s far from a fluke season. It all bodes well – in theory – for fantasy heaven, but just take a second to remember some other notable arrivals from the Netherlands with similar stats…Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Davy Klaassen, Vincent Janssen, even Steven Bergwijn…none have gone on to do the business. But to be fair, none were quite this good, and none were joining a Chelsea side that looks made for attackers to thrive in.
Verdict: He could end up in the top 20 points scorers, but that doesn’t make him a 1st rounder. There’s too much risk here because of the league he’s coming from. Second round maybe; third round for sure.
Position: Centre Forward (Forward in Fantrax)
Signed From: RB Leipzig
Prospects: The Bundesliga’s 3rd best player last season (according to WhoScored) has already arrived at Chelsea and could well remain the biggest transfer of the summer. Getting transfer business done early shouldn’t be underestimated and – given the prolonged 2019/20 season which allowed Werner to start settling in before the last season was even over – we could see the forward fly out of the traps on day one. The German international scored 78 goals in league 127 games whilst at RB Leipzig. 27 assists during that period isn’t bad too. As a cheeky comparison, Firmino has 47 goals and 28 assists in his last 144 league games for Liverpool (yes, the Premier League is probably tougher than the Bundesliga, but Liverpool are also better than RB Leipzig). He is a huge upgrade on Abraham and Giroud, so there shouldn’t be the worries about rotation like elsewhere in this Chelsea side. Oh, and with Jorginho set to depart, he might well be the club’s penalty taker, having scored 5 out of 5 last season.
Verdict: You only have to look at the likes of Di Maria and Depay to know that being a top player doesn’t necessarily mean that you will produce in England. That said, the reward is worth the risk with Werner. 1st rounder for sure, but a good pre-season could even see him creep into top-5 talk.
Position: Attacking Midfield (Midfielder in Fantrax)
Team: Brighton & Hove Albion
Signed From: Liverpool
Prospects: Lallana is a big name, at least when we’re talking about Brighton, but let’s not get carried away. He’s 32 now and has started just 9 games over the past 3 seasons. His best days (see 2013/14 at Southampton where he had a 12.8 FP/G) are well behind him. Even if he gets/stays fit – and that’s a BIG “if” – how many games will he start under Graham Potter; a man whose rotation is only rivaled by that of Guardiola’s? There will no doubt be days when the ex-England international rolls back the years and picks up a goal and an assist to bring in 20+ points, but it’s more likely that the majority of days you’ll see a big red flag next to his name. How many times does an ex-big 6 midfielder/forward on the wrong side of 30 drop down to a smaller club and become a success there? Danny Ings (ironically from Liverpool to Southampton, in a reverse of Lallana’s career) is the only one from the last five years, but he doesn’t even fit the criteria given that he was 26 at the time. Maybe Andros Townsend too, but again, he was 24 when he left Tottenham in 2016.
Verdict: Worth drafting (if fit!!), but don’t reach high (i.e. 8th round or above) for him. Given his reputation, he could be used as trade bait early in the season.
Position: Centre-Back (Defender in Fantrax)
Team: Brighton & Hove Albion
Signed From: Ajax
Prospects: Graham must be following in his namesake Harry’s footsteps because to get this man in for just £900k is some sort of wizardry (yes, I know he probably doesn’t have much say in transfers, but the joke doesn’t work otherwise!). In all seriousness, TransferMarkt have the defender valued at £7.2m, and even this seems low given that he’s played over 200 games for Ajax in both the league and Champions League, has won three league titles, been capped by the Netherlands 22 times, and been voted into the Eredivisie Team of the Year on three occasions. Three main concerns exist from a fantasy perspective: 1) he’s a centre-back, and whilst this doesn’t immediately make him undraftable, the list of reliable point scorers from this position is much smaller than for everywhere else, 2) he’ll be playing for Brighton – Dunk and Webster had FP/G’s of 6.48 and 6.56, respectively, last season, and 3) he may not start all the time; Webster was brought in last summer for almost £20m and Dunk was their 2nd best player according to WhoScored, so unless there’s a switch to a 352, the competition for his spot will be fierce.
Verdict: Incredible business by Brighton, but no need to consider him in Fantrax. Maybe monitor the situation in case Brighton switch to a back 3 and Veltman becomes the south coast Chris Basham.
Position: Right Winger (Forward in Fantrax)
Team: Manchester City
Signed From: Valencia
Prospects: It is always tempting to see a big (ish) money move to a top 6 team and want to draft the player high so that someone else in your league doesn’t get there first. Torres may be a perfect example of that this season. It is important to remember though, that the winger is only 20 years old, and whilst he will no doubt play plenty of minutes, this is a signing for the future, and so most of those minutes are likely to be off the bench. His numbers from the 2019/20 season with Valencia support this as they are far from the level you would expect of a typical Guardiola signing: 4 goals, 5 assists, 0.7 key passes per game, and a 6.72 average WhoScored rating in the league. The ever-brilliant draft_fpl (make sure you follow!) produced an exceptional analysis that also urges caution with City’s new Spaniard, providing data to back up the idea that Pep will ease his new signing into the team, much like he has done in the past with the likes of Sane, Bernardo Silva, and Mahrez.
Verdict: This one depends on how many subs your league uses and how willing you are to “waste” space with someone who probably starts only a third of the league games this season, at most. Torres will probably end up with a low FP/G but a high PP90 – similar to teammate Foden last season – but could have some nice returns if you are happy to be patient with him.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Returning Players: Europe back to the Premier League
The following four players are ones who were signed in the summer of 2019 or earlier but did not play in the Premier League last season because they were loaned out elsewhere. Only players with a market value (according to TransferMarkt) of at least £8.5m at the time of writing were considered, which meant excluding the likes of Ethan Ampadu and Adrien Silva, who both have a (very) small chance of making an impact in 2020/21. Alexis Sanchez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Chris Smalling, and Davide Zappacosta were excluded because it is almost certain that they will not be returning to their parent clubs. Finally, it does not include players who were loaned out in January 2020, such as Wolves’ Patrick Cutrone.
Position: Centre-Back (Defender in Fantrax)
Returned From: Saint-Etienne
Prospects: Last summer Arsenal paid Saint-Etienne £27m to acquire the services of William Saliba, before loaning him back to the French club for the 2019/20 season. Unfortunately, injuries and a COVID-induced shortened Ligue 1 meant that the center-back only made 17 appearances for the club. In the games he did play he looked…okay. His defensive numbers (1.6 tackles/game, 1.8 interceptions, 2.9 clearances) probably most closely resemble that of North-London rival Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen had a PP90 of 7.3 in 2019/20, but Arsenal are a slightly better team defensively than their near neighbors, so perhaps Saliba could exceed the 8 mark next season. Recent reports have raved about Saliba’s prospects – and Arsenal’s with him now there – but at the end of the day, he’s still a center-back, and therefore holds limited value from a fantasy perspective.
Verdict: There’s a lot to like from a real-world perspective, but it’s telling that the 6 highest FP/G’s amongst defenders last season (minimum 500 minutes played) were all full-backs. Draft-able in the final few rounds.
Position: Centre Midfield (Midfielder in Fantrax)
Returned From: Hertha BSC
Prospects: Cracking into a side that’s just won the league by 18 points is going to be a tough ask, but if there’s one area of the pitch where Liverpool could be looking for help, its midfield. Indeed, Bayern’s Thiago is an almost certain arrival according to the bookies, but there may still be the opportunity to compete for a spot. Wijnaldum, Henderson, Fabinho, Keita, Ox…all very good players, but none would get into a World XI like the rest of the Liverpool team arguably would. Grujic was a key part of the Hertha side that finished 10th last season, playing 2,422 minutes (3rd most for the club), scoring 4 goals (tied for 3rd) from a deep-lying midfield position, and averaging 6.94 according to WhoScored (5th). Draft_fpl calculated his equivalent Fantrax PP90 at 7.3 – the same as Gundogan and similar to Doucoure, Fabinho, and Almiron.
Verdict: It would be a huge surprise for Grujic to become a consistently viable fantasy asset in 2020/21, but don’t be surprised if he becomes a decent “2 pm player”*, similar to Keita, the Ox, and Jones.
Position: Right-Back (Defender in Fantrax)
Returned From: Schalke 04
Prospects: At first glance, this may seem a non-starter, for various reasons, but look a little deeper and there could be a little gem here…or maybe at least something to watch. Sidibe has returned to Monaco, and Coleman is 31 now and had a pretty poor season, at least by his previous standards. Unless Everton brings someone in (ex-Chelsea man Ivanovic has been rumored), Kenny may well have a shot at starting this season. The 23-year-old didn’t light things up in the Bundesliga (WhoScored average rating of 6.51), but he did start an impressive 31 times for Schalke, managing 2 goals and 3 assists. Ancelotti has shown he will let his fullbacks get forward, so if Kenny does manage to get some game time, he could well hold some fantasy value. (Note: since this initial write-up, it has been reported that Kenny is a transfer target for West Ham United).
Verdict: Right now the odds are that Coleman – or a new signing – will be the starting right-back come September 12th. But Kenny has an opportunity here, and if things fall his way (i.e. no competing arrivals, Coleman’s continued decline, and a good pre-season), he could be a shrewd draft pick in the lower rounds/early waiver-wire pickup.
Position: Defensive Midfielder (Midfielder in Fantrax)
Returned From: Monaco
Prospects: Finally, a bit of a curveball here. Chelsea paid Monaco £36m back in July 2017 for Tiemoue Bakayoko and in his first season he played 29 league games (24 starts), scored 2, assisted 2, and had a 6.6 FP/G. The France international never really settled though, and has been sent on loan to Milan and Monaco in the last two years, where his WhoScored average rating has been a lot closer to the pre-Chelsea one that generated so much excitement. His equivalent fantasy PP90 with Monaco this season was 7.5, which is higher than the likes of Fornals, Doucoure, Milivojevic, and Neves. With Jorginho looking likely to leave, Gilmour only 19, and Kante coming off the back of 5 separate injuries which cost him 22 games in 2019/20, there is definitely space for a defensive midfielder in Lampard’s squad. Can Bakayoko revive his Chelsea career? The latest transfer rumours suggested that Bayern were interested in the midfielder…that in itself might make Chelsea reconsider his future at the Bridge…
Verdict: Hard to see Bakayoko coming back into the fold, but stranger things have happened. If Chelsea keep spending their money on attackers, they might need the extra defensive depth that he would provide. That said, he is very much a holding midfielder, so the best that he is likely to provide from a fantasy perspective is as a high floor asset.
Returning Players: Premier League to Premier League Summer Transfer
The final two players are ones who are returning to their parent clubs after stints at another Premier League team. These players will hopefully be very familiar to Fantrax managers, but their prospects for the coming season are still useful to analyse, given the changes in circumstances that they will now be under.
Position: Left-Back (Defender in Fantrax)
Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Returned From: Newcastle United
Prospects: Bleak. That is the outlook for Rose this season if last year is anything to go by. In the 12 league games Mourinho managed whilst Rose was still at the club, the left-back started just 1, and in 11 of those Ben Davies – presumably Jose’s number 1 given his playing time post-restart – was out injured. Even his days as a back-up may be limited when you consider that Spurs have the young duo of Tanganga and Sessegnon who can play there. So it seems the best chance for Rose to become a viable fantasy option (which is surely his main objective in life) is to find a new club, and both Leeds and Newcastle have both been linked with the defender. Neither would likely get fantasy managers on the edge of their seats (Newcastle conceded the 7th most goals last season but had the 4th worst expected goals against, whilst Leeds will be making the big jump up from the Championship), but we’ve seen before with the likes of Brighton and Burnley how defenders from lesser-performing teams can still hold great value.
Verdict: Even if he signs elsewhere, this is an avoid situation. His PP90 during his spell at Newcastle was 2.84, and that’s probably what to expect again this season – wherever he is.
Team: Manchester United
Returned From: Sheffield United
Prospects: This is one story that looks set to roll all off-season. Who will be United’s number 1: de Gea or Henderson? It really is up in the air at the moment, and United’s fortunes in Europe this month could well be the tipping point for whether they commit to, or get rid of, the current incumbent de Gea. And even if the Spaniard were to leave, the complications are likely to continue, as it’s been suggested that United would still want to sign a replacement (Kasper Schmeichel the latest name), despite having Sheffield United’s 2019/20 hero back in the fold. On the flip side, were de Gea to stay, United could even let Henderson go, either on loan again (perhaps back to Bramall Lane) or sold (Chelsea could be interested). So yeah…a whole lot of moving parts in this one, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the situation is just as cloudy come deadline day on October 5th (at which point we’d likely be 4 games into the season!).
Verdict: The 5 highest points scoring goalkeepers last season were Pope, Dubravka, Henderson, Schmeichel, and Guaita. In 2018/19 it was Alisson, Fabianski, Lloris, Foster, and Ederson. And in 2017/18 it was de Gea, Pope, Fabianski, Pickford, and Ryan. The point of the story is this: the goalkeeper position is a streamable one by and large, and in any rate, the exceptions are often difficult to gauge until a few weeks into the season at least.
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