6 Potential Midfield Gems for the 16/17 Season
Written By @TheSarjeant
Roberto Firmino £8.5m — Liverpool
Roberto Firmino made a big impact in his debut season for the Merseyside club, contributing towards 18 goals in the Premier League. Jürgen Klopp played the Brazilian many times as a centre forward or secondary striker last season, and this is what has got Fantasy Managers so excited – a player who is playing out of position. Any player who is playing out of position in a more attacking role than what he’s listed as on the FPL game, always peaks the interests of Fantasy Managers.
There’s a slight catch, though. Firmino only produces returns when he’s playing in one of those two roles for Liverpool. In all competitions last year, Firmino played 21 matches on the left, right or attacking midfield positions and claimed just 1 assist. In comparison, he scored 11 goals and assisted 10 when playing as a centre forward or secondary striker.
Firmino has the potential to be a key asset in our Fantasy teams if Jürgen Klopp continues using him in a more attacking role. It would be wise for us Fantasy Managers to keep a close eye on the role and positions that he plays in. Luckily for us, Liverpool don’t have a great start to the season – four away games in their first five fixtures, which includes Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea – which gives us ample opportunity to scout the player and the club.
André Ayew £7.5m — Swansea
The Swansea midfielder is another player who might be playing out of position this season. André Ayew has been playing as a striker in pre-season and this trend may continue into the new season as, at the time of writing this article, Swansea don’t have a recognised striker in their team. Although, reports suggest that they may be close to signing Fernando Llorente on loan from Sevilla.
Like Firmino, André Ayew played in numerous positions last season. He featured in 18 matches on the right wing last year, where he scored 5 goals and created another, but he’s much more prolific as a centre forward. As a striker or secondary striker, Ayew scored 6 goals and assisted 3 in just 8 games.
However, the media have been reporting that numerous Premier League clubs are interested in signing the Ghanaian. As for now, Fantasy Managers will have to wait and see where Ayew’s future lies. If he was to stay at Swansea, hopefully Guidolin will continue to deploy him as a striker and his end-of-season form – where he scored 4 in the last 3 games – continues into the new season.
(Since writing this article Ayew has moved to West Ham)
Érik Lamela £7.0m — Tottenham
Érik Lamela started to show a glimpse of what Spurs paid £30m for last season and it seems that Mauricio Pochettino is the right manager to get the best out of him. Lamela really struggled to adapt to the Premier League after joining from Roma in 2013 and he was nearly sent out on loan at the beginning of the 15/16 season.
Before last season, Lamela had scored 5 goals for Tottenham in Europe and the league in 3,417 minutes. In the same competitions last season he scored 11 goals in 500 fewer minutes.
It’s clear that Lamela is developing as a player under Pochettino and it’ll be interesting to see if he can ever hit the heights that he did at Roma in the Premier League. In his last season for the Italian club, the Argentinian averaged 0.52 goals per 90 minutes in Serie A. Whilst I highly doubt he’ll get near those figures in this upcoming season, an increase on last season’s average of 0.19 goals per 90, plus his assists that he regularly gets, then £7.0m could be a snip for his talents.
Andros Townsend £6.5m — Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have a great start to the 16/17 season: West Brom (H), Tottenham (A), Bournemouth (H), Middlesbrough (A) and Stoke (H) – and Andros Townsend could be a great enabler with his low price tag.
Townsend’s a pacey winger who’s great on the counter attack and loves a long shot. A lot of people mock him for his long range efforts, but this makes him a good FPL option – because he’s greedy. Greedy players are good in FPL because they tend to try and score themselves, rather than create the goal – which equals more points. A lot of his long range shots are wasteful, but hopefully Pardew can teach him to develop a bit of discipline to his game.
During his half a season stint at Newcastle, Townsend notched 4 goals and grabbed 2 assists. Playing regular football at Palace, it’s quite possible that he could score double figures and rack up the assists – especially if Palace were to sign a target man like Benteke to get on the end of Townsend’s crosses.
Although he’s a new player at the club, and it might take some time for him to settle in properly, for his price and starting fixtures, Andros Townsend is a worthy punt.
Gerard Deulofeu £6.5m — Everton
Last season Deulofeu was a great creator of goals for Everton, assisting 9 in just 1,384 minutes. He developed a great partnership with Lukaku, with 6 of his assists creating goals for the striker. But, during the second half of the season he dropped out of favour and he only played 60+ minutes 5 times.
New Everton boss Ronald Koeman has been playing the Spaniard upfront in pre-season where he’s shone scoring 3 goals. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll continue to play upfront in the league but it might be a sign that Koeman wants him to be more of an attacking player than a creator.
Everton also have a great opening set of fixtures – bar the first game: Tottenham (H), West Brom (A), Stoke (H), Sunderland (A) and Middlesbrough (H).
Deulofeu could prove to be a good coup in your FPL team if he can add goals to his game, as well as his assists. Although his attacking partner – Lukaku, may be leaving the club this summer.
Nathan Redmond £6.0m — Southampton
Southampton signed Nathan Redmond this summer from Norwich and their state-of-the-art training ground at Staplewood is the perfect place for him to develop as a player. He’s expected to be the replacement for Mané who left to join Liverpool. If the Englishman can emulate the role Mané played at the club, he could be a potential goldmine this season.
The new south coast recruit scored 6 goals for a Norwich side who couldn’t survive the Premier League but, being around a higher quality pool of players is bound to increase Redmond’s returns. He averaged 0.23 goals per 90 minutes for Norwich in the league last season, which roughly equates to a goal every four games.
Like Townsend, it’s possible that Redmond can score 10+ goals this season – if he’s a nailed on starter for Southampton. Personally, I wouldn’t start with Redmond in my team, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on him for certain.