By Chris Wright
There’s just one Match of the Day-less Saturday night to go before the Premier League farts back into life on August 17th, so it’s high time to be getting those Fantasy League teams in order people if you haven’t done so already.
Without further ado, here’s Pies’ pick of the inbound summer transfers who we feel should really be angling for a spot in your hallowed XI…
1. Nicolas Anelka, West Brom: Still slick, still clever, still effective, fairly cheap and almost guaranteed to be chipping in with goals and assists in a front-line that will probably be geared around him given that West Brom will be Lukaku-less this season. What’s not to like?
2. Jesus Navas, Man City: Quick, sprightly, pacey, lightning across the ground, rapid, nimble, speedy, fleet-footed, fast, quick and pacey, Navas is well-equipped to tear full-backs to shreds next season, prodding crosses into a six-yard box full of the likes of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, David Silva, Yaya Toure and a couple of others lower down on this list. He’s a potential assists tsunami in the making – though, that said, he only managed six in 37 starts last year.
3. Gerard Deulofeu, Everton: We’ve got it on fairly good authority that Deulofeu can be a bit full of himself at times and that he’s prone to the odd strop, but that’s to be counter-balanced with the fact that Everton have gone and bagged themselves one of the most highly-prized urchins to come through Barcelona’s school of excellence over the past two years – if only they could spell his name right, eh? We’re looking forward to seeing how he handles adult life with significant anticipation.
4. Stevan Jovetic, Man City: It’s nothing more than a hunch, but we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that Jovetic is going to be a “spurt” player for City; starting with an early flurry of four or five goals before tailing off come November-ish. The Montenegrin forward is probably worth having in from the start, ditching if/when the goals start drying up and then using those significant freed-up funds to chop and change that ropey midfield of yours about a bit as and when.
5. Loic Remy, Newcastle: There’s no doubting that when Remy’s in the mood and feeling loved he’s a dangerous entity. The French striker has proven he was capable of nabbing himself a decent Premier League goal-haul despite being deployed at the apex of a woebegottenly shite QPR side last season. Unlikely to cost an arm and/or leg either.
6. Wilfried Bony, Swansea: The moribund crapheap that was Afonso Alves has taught us to treat any player arriving from the Eredivisie on the back of a 30-goal season with extreme caution, but Bony looks cut out for the Premier League – providing the muscle while Michu hustles. Indeed he’s already scored two goals for the Swans in 2013/14 by grabbing a brace on his competitive debut against Malmo in the Europa League qualifiers last week.
7. Alvaro Negredo, Man City: You just know this guy has goals oozing out of every orifice. First of all, apologies for that mental image, but the fact of the matter is that Negredo is proper poacher. All of his 25 La Liga goals for Sevilla last season were scored from within the area. A genuine out-and-out “No.9-style” striker if ever o’ ever there were.
8. Leroy Fer, Norwich: Standing at 6’2″ and nicknamed “The Bouncer”, it’s fair to say that Fer, while perhaps not the sharpest sandwich at the picnic, is a bit of a midfield brute with a booming thunderbastard of a shot on him and a steady goal tally for FC Twente (21 goals in two seasons). He might be a bit of a yellow card magnet, but we’re backing him to offset that with a string of choice goals over the course of the season.
9. Adel Taarabt, Fulham: Languid, skillful, creative, mopey, egotistical and possessive of hair-trigger concentration levels, Taarabt’s season-long loan to Fulham could go one of two ways. Given that he’s only got a year to stay focused we’re backing him to succeed and get the foothold in the Premier League that he obviously craves, though you’ve got to question whether the Cottagers’ first-team will be able to support two half-arsed, mercurial genii (you know of whom we speak) at the same time.
10. Roberto Soldado, Tottenham: You just know goals are guaranteed for Soldado in a Spurs shirt, especially if a certain Welsh somebody or other is retained to ply him with dreamy deliveries all season. There are few more potent natural finishers in world football. In fact, only Lionel Messi (161) and Cristiano Ronaldo (146) have scored more La Liga goals over the past four seasons than Soldado’s tally of 75.
Fun fact while we’re on the subject: Falcao, Higuain, Negredo, Soldado scored 93 league goals between them last season, and all four have left the Spanish top flight this summer.
Honourable mentions: Simon Mignolet and Iago Aspas (Liverpool), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Arouna Kone (Everton), Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Nathan Redmond (Norwich), etc…
Any other potential Fantasy Football bargains you’re throwing your weight behind for 2013/14 Pies fans? Let us know, and feel free to share your teams if you so desire…