Diamonds in the rough
We’ve already had a look at some of the big name additions to Fantasy Premier League this season, but what about the less heralded ones? Their arrivals haven’t been met with the same fanfare as others, but they’re still worth considering as you try and find some value names to fit alongside the big money stars.
Michu, Midfielder, Swansea – Fantasy Price Tag £6.5m
A quick scan of the top 10 goalscorers’ list in La Liga last season would return the names of all the usual suspects, but below Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and the others lies the little-known Miguel Perez Cuesta – or ‘Michu’ to his mates.
In his one and only season with Rayo Vallecano, the 6ft 1ins midfielder returned 15 goals to end the campaign as the Spanish top flight’s joint-ninth top scorer, a hardly insignificant feat at a struggling club. Which brings us to Swansea.
There are so many unanswered questions about just what Michael Laudrup will bring to the Swans following the departure of Brendan Rodgers, but the general consensus appears to be that they’ll struggle to hit the heights that they were capable of last season. This is where Michu – hardly a novice at 26 – could come in.
If he’s half as effective as Gylfi Sigurdsson was in the attacking midfield position then the £2m spent by Swansea to bring him to Wales will be money well invested, and whilst you’ll have to shell out three times as much of your Fantasy money to add him to your side, he might just be a gamble that quickly pays off.
Matt Lowton, Defender, Aston Villa – Fantasy Price Tag £4.5m
Paul Lambert needs to quickly make an impact on an Aston Villa side which could struggle to shake off the negativity of the Alex McLeish ‘era’ (if you can call that an era), and in Lowton he may have found a player who’ll help him do just that.
The 23-year-old right-back arrives from Sheffield United having impressed all who came across him in League One last season, when he even managed to chip in with six goals.
He’ll face a battle with Alan Hutton for a starting berth at Villa Park, but there is nothing to suggest that that is a battle he won’t quickly win, and if he hits his stride early then Villa supporters are sure to take to a player who was loved at Bramall Lane.
The leap from the third tier to the Premier League was one successfully made by Lambert and his Norwich side in the space of two years, and now that the Scot has seen something in Lowton then he too could successfully make that jump – albeit in a much shorter time.
You get the feeling that rather than be intimidated by that scrutiny though, Lowton could thrive under it.
Robert Snodgrass, Midfielder, Norwich – Fantasy Price Tag £6.0m
Leeds United boss Neil Warnock tried to move heaven and earth to keep Snodgrass at Elland Road, and it’s not hard to see why.
The former Livingston wideman has been the heart and soul of the Whites for the past four years, but after failing to achieve promotion with the Yorkshire side he’s finally decided that the top flight is place to be at the age of 24.
Forty-three goals over his time at Leeds shows that he knows where the net is, and the Scot will be looked to by Chris Hughton as one of his main men as the former Newcastle and Birmingham boss seeks to get comfortable behind his desk at Carrow Road.
Snodgrass has crucial leadership abilities that he picked up during his time with Leeds, and so with the Premier League unlikely to intimidate him, he could quickly become an integral part of both the Norwich side and of yours.
Steven Naismith, Forward, Everton – Fantasy Price Tag £6.5m
Whilst Naismith will be making trips to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the coming season, the newco Rangers that he left behind will be going to Montrose, Berwick and Elgin, and so whilst there was sure to be emotional issues behind his decision to leave Ibrox you can’t argue with the sporting reasons.
The forward had his injury problems last season, but as a hard-working, strong-willed Scot he’s sure to fit in very well with David Moyes’s plans, especially now that the Blues have lost Tim Cahill.
Naismith’s former Rangers team-mate Nikica Jelavić (£8.5m and a popular choice) will of course be Everton’s key man in the coming campaign, but with Naismith, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini buzzing around him then goals look assured.
The step up from Scottish Premier League to Fantasy Premier League isn’t always as smooth as Jelavić made it look last season, but Naismith has the tools to make a good impact at Goodison Park, and offer an interesting alternative to several Fantasy managers.
Mladen Petric, Forward, Fulham – Fantasy Price Tag £6.0m
With Clint Dempsey looking likely to head for the departure gate marked ‘Anfield,’ the key question facing Fulham is just where will the goals come from now?
The signing of Hugo Rodallega is a welcome rather than inspiring one, but the 31-year-old Petric adds experience and good pedigree.
The Croatian won’t be troubling the top end of the goalscorer’s list in the coming campaign, but if he can maintain his fitness and get a regular run in the side then there’s no reason why the former Hamburg man can’t hit double figures, a reasonable target for the third forward in your Fantasy squad.
Having already played under Martin Jol in Germany, Petric crucially knows that he’ll be heading into his first campaign in England with the trust of his manager. Maybe you should trust him too?
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Posted on 31 Jul 2012, in Player Selection and tagged Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton, Fantasy Premier League, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Matt Lowton, Michu, Mladen Petric, Norwich, Robert Snodgrass, Steven Naismith, Swansea. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.