With two weeks to go until the season kicks off, the transfer circus is still churning out daily stories for us. However, rather than focusing on the rumours let’s look at the moves that Premier League clubs have been making in the last week in order to strengthen their teams and how those moves affect the fantasy landscape. This article will be worded towards fantasy drafts, but for Salary Cap leagues if I were to say a player is not draftable, then I wouldn’t be putting him in my opening day squad either! If I say he is a late round pick then he’d probably be a cheap option I’d be contemplating for my bench in salary cap leagues.
Van Aanholt (From Chelsea to Sunderland – Permanent): A young left back who was signed by Chelsea in 2009 but has spent every year out on loan. He was included in the preliminary Holland squad for the world cup, showing that he has a big future ahead of him and this move to Sunderland should see him get much more playing time than he would have seen at Chelsea. With the return of Marcos Alonso to parent club Florentina there is a gaping hole at left back for Sunderland, and Aanholt is likely to be the man to fill it.
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Sunderland’s defence will not be the tightest again this year, so he’s a late round pick at best but expect solid playing time from him.
Didier Drogba (From Galatasaray to Chelsea – Permanent): As one headline said this week: “The Beast is Back!” Drogba left Chelsea two years ago a club hero and most are pleased to see him back. However, at 36 he is more likely to be a talisman figure coming off the bench than a week to week starter. His struggles at the world cup in the summer tell you he isn’t the player he was when he left, but Chelsea will be under no illusions about this and neither should you be.
Extremely likely to be named on the bench every week, he could feature late in games and could see more playing time in the case of any injuries to Costa. Worth a late round flyer just to see how they use him.
David Ospina (From Nice to Arsenal – Permanent): A solid addition by Arsenal after they lost their second keeper in the summer. Ospina was superb at the world cup but was overshadowed a little by the performances of the other Goalkeepers. This move throws Sczcesny’s grip of the number one Goalkeeper position into doubt but it’s likely that Ospina will serve as back up until Sczcesny loses the position.
Solid late rounds pick who could easily prove to be one of the best Goalkeepers in the game if he gets the opportunity. For a small investment you could get a great return, but you could also end up with nothing.
Dejan Lovren (From Southampton to Liverpool – Permanent): A slightly strange addition by Liverpool given the sheer amount of central defenders they have. Skrtel is the man in possession of one of the spots given his goal scoring and defending last season, but with Toure, Sakho, and Coates already there, Lovren is coming into a highly competitive situation. You would think that a price of £30 million would guarantee him a starting spot but that is not necessarily the case given the talent around him.
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A middle to late round pick for me just because of the questions about playing time. Has he been brought for the Champions League, or is he the Premier League starter and Sakho the Champions League guy? Only Brendan Rogers really knows the answer and I’m sure he won’t tell us anytime soon. He’s still the second Liverpool centre back I am taking after Skrtel.
Calum Chambers (From Southampton to Arsenal – Permanent): This is more of a move for the future for Arsenal as they have already signed their right back for the season with the addition of Debuchy from Newcastle. Chambers is likely to serve as backup/domestic cup player but may see some Premier League starting opportunities during the Champion’s League group stages when Debuchy will be busy recovering from midweek games. The effect on Southampton is minimal as he wouldn’t have featured over Nathaniel Clyne at right back anyway.
He isn’t really worth drafting at this point but he is one to have on your radar if Debuchy struggles or shows signs of having niggles/being unable to recover from midweek games.
Andrew Robertson (From Dundee to Hull – Permanent): Another young full back who has made a move this past week and this is an intriguing one because he’s a natural left back. That means he’s likely to be behind Figueroa on the pecking order initially, but with Figueroa not being overly impressive last season and giving away more than a foul a game, Robertson may get a chance at some point.
I don’t expect Hull to be a clean sheet type of defence this season so even if he was the starter there are better full back options and with it being unlikely he will start the season as the #1 choice I wouldn’t be drafting him but I would be keeping him on my radar if he does get the chance.
Harry Maguire (From Sheffield United to Hull – Permanent): Hull moved for two young defenders in one day and the situation for Maguire is that he’ll more than likely serve as back up with a view to stepping up in the future. Hull have decent centre back options with Premier League experience who they will turn to first.
Not really a feasible option to draft and probably will not be fantasy relevant all season.
Romelu Lukaku (From Chelsea to Everton – Permanent): This is undoubtedly the biggest move of the week from a fantasy point of view. Lukaku was likely to be mostly an off the bench player for Chelsea who would start if Costa was tired or injured, but at Everton he’s an every week starter. He scored double digit goals last season and I expect that to continue in this year with the potential he could be the leading scorer in the Premier League.
He’s probably still not one of the elite guys at the position but he’s close and should be the first striker taken after the first tier of strikers.
Ryan Bertrand (From Chelsea to Southampton – Loan): Another Chelsea left back that has left this transfer window! Okay, so this one is only on loan but what it does do is signal clear intent that Felipe Luis is their man this year. It also signals Azpilicueta is likely to be the second choice left back. Now from the Southampton point of view they lost Luke Shaw this summer and Bertrand is an experienced young man who fills that gap for them this season.
Southampton have been ripped apart this season and I expect them to struggle defensively after the loss of Lovren, meaning that Bertrand is a late round pick at absolute best but I think there are better options out there. He’s a waiver wire option if they can stay solid at the back.
Carl Jenkinson (From Arsenal to West Ham – Loan): Another young full back moving around the Premier League! Jenkinson is a right back who will have had his nose put out of joint by the addition of Chambers, and that may well be the reason behind this move. The West Ham defence was acceptable last season but they will want to improve and Jenkinson feels like an improvement. It allows Reid to play in his favoured centre back position and the occasionally mistake prone Demel was not the long term answer anyway. The issue is they have a lot of good centre backs, so whether they want to keep Reid in as their starting right back could impact Jenkinson’s playing time.
This is a tough one! West Ham can have great defensive performances and keep a few clean sheets but the fact he may not be the first choice means I would hesitate to draft him. But he is on my radar for a waiver wire pick up!
Brede Hangeland (from Fulham to Crystal Palace – Permanent): A nice addition for Palace to add an experienced centre back who can grab a goal or two. His addition should sure up their defence and he shouldn’t have too much of an issue breaking into the starting line-up. A good addition that solidifies their defence.
Well worth a late round pick and he also increases the value of their other defenders as well.
Brendan Galloway (from MK Dons to Everton – Permanent): There is a real thing going on with signing young defenders in the last 12 months, and Everton are happy to work with this trend. Not much to say here really because he will probably end up out on loan somewhere.
Highly unlikely to feature and therefore he is irrelevant for fantasy in the short term but is a name to watch out for in the long run.
So there we have it for an interesting week of transfer in the Premier League. Most of the transfers have positive impacts for the players signed and for the club signing them. Only the signing of Lovren actively weakens the Premier League team he was signed from and has a potentially negative effect on the players around him.