The new boys

A quick look at some of the new signings who’ll be making their Fantasy Premier League debuts this season. Can they cut it in Yirma?


Olivier Giroud, Forward, Arsenal – Fantasy Price Tag £9.0m

A Thierry Henry or a Jeremie Aliadiere? A Robin van Persie, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, or a Francis Jeffers, Kaba Diawara and Christopher Wreh?

Arsenal’s signings can be somewhat hit and miss, but Giroud joins Fantasy Premier League following two prolific years in France, where he helped unfancied Montpellier to win the league last season (an amazing achievement kind of on a par with say, Everton, winning it over here) and he’s bound to have an impact on the Gunners whatever happens with Van Persie.

A big, physical forward, Giroud was seen coming off the bench for France at the Euros – he missed a sitter against Sweden, but don’t let that put you off – and whilst his price is likely to put off all but the most confident of Yirma managers, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on after he’s had a couple of months to settle into life in England.

Marouane Chamakh has put him in his team already.

Shinji Kagawa, Midfielder, Manchester United – Fantasy Price Tag £8.5m

Kagawa is potentially the signing of the summer so far, for a number of different reasons.

Commercially, he’ll fill the Park Ji-Sung sized hole in United’s Asian market, but the Japanese international is much, much more than just a shirt selling signing.

As a key part of the Borussia Dortmund side which won back-to-back German titles, Kagawa scored goals, made assists and linked up the play brilliantly, something that he could do again for United if given the chance.

The trouble is, with Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young already competing for two spots on the wings and Wayne Rooney guaranteed to start upfront with Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez ready and willing to partner him (oh yeah, Dimitar Berbatov is still there too), just where will Kagawa play?

He might be seen from the bench in the opening weeks of the season as he searches for a position in United’s and your team, but the man from Japan has the quality to eventually make an impact.

Fabio Borini, Forward, Liverpool – Fantasy Price Tag £8.0m

Strictly speaking this isn’t the Italian’s Fantasy debut, as he got 37 minutes – and four points – for Chelsea in 2009/10, but the 21-year-old looks destined for a bigger impact this time around.

As Brendan Rodgers’ first signing for Liverpool, the forward will be eager to repay the trust of a man he’s already played for in Chelsea’s reserve side and at Swansea on loan, and with the Reds all set to play Rodgers’ attractive, possession-based style of football, the youngster is sure to have a key role in the side – certainly more key than Andy Carroll anyway.

Nine goals for Roma in Serie A last season after largely coming off the bench show that he knows where the net is, but Borini could also rack up the assists playing in one of the wide positions in Liverpool’s front three, with his partnership with Luis Suárez looking particularly attractive.

As always with new signings there is a danger that Borini won’t hit the ground running, but crucially he already knows that he’s got the confidence of his boss, and at 8.0 he might prove to be a bit of a bargain.

Eden Hazard, Midfielder, Chelsea – Fantasy Price Tag £9.5m

Look how many midfielders Chelsea have got! Just look at them!

They might have more players in there than more than a few countries have got representing them at the Olympics, but undoubtedly Hazard is the most intriguing ahead of the new season – considering that it’s likely to take the Brazilian Oscar a few months to settle in.

Hazard will be ready from the off though, and after months and months of transfer speculation the Belgian could well be ready to show just why he was the man everybody wanted.

Chelsea’s double gameweek in the first week of the season will have already drawn Yirma managers to their players, and Hazard might just hit the ground running in the same way that Deco did when he first joined the Blues in 2008 and immediately went into everyone’s fantasy teams.

The danger is that Hazard dips in form after that initial impact, but the warning to fantasy managers is already there.

Pick him from the start, or you may be sorry.

Lukas Podolski, Forward, Arsenal – Fantasy Price Tag £8.5m

The 27-year-old Podolski reached 100 caps for Germany during Euro 2012, an amazing achievement whatever your age, but have Arsenal signed the player who performs so consistently for his national team or the one who couldn’t save Cologne from relegation last season?

Podolski struggled the last time he made a big move – to Bayern Munich in 2006 – and after he returned to Cologne with his tail between his legs many in Germany wondered if he was able to handle the big time.

He’s more mature now of course, and is likely to start on the left of Arsenal’s front three when they kick-off their season.

He’s not going to be a prolific goalscorer, and his assists rate is sure to depend on whether or not Van Persie is around to finish off the chances he creates, but if Podolski finds his feet then there’s nothing to suggest that won’t be a good addition to any team at a reasonable price.

He’s an improvement on Gervinho anyway, although whether that’s praise or not is debateable.



Posted on 29 Jul 2012, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Nice read!

    I personally think out of all of them listed above, Kagawa will do the best. He fits into United’s team very nicely.

    Hazard won’t do to bad either.

  2. Have to put a note in defence of Chis Wreh 😉

    Wreh played a vital part in the Gunners’ Double-winning season of 1997–98, scoring in 1–0 Premier League wins against Wimbledon and Bolton Wanderers, and scoring the only goal of the Gunners’ FA Cup semi-final win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

    Pick this one out!!


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