It’s been asked for on twitter, and when twitter calls, Seags answers. Today I’ll round up my Top Five fresh blood picks for the year, and induct them into the 2012 Fresh Blood All-Stars. This article has been requested by @team_muz , so all of you reading this take note…. ask, and you shall receive!
Firstly, a roughie/smokie type I’ve been looking at intensely. Steven Davis (5.0) has been signed from Rangers on a free after the ‘Gers dropped from the top division of the SPL. The man is an orchestrater in the midfield, notching up four goals, and thirteen assists last campaign in Scotland. He’s had PL experience before, at Villa, and should seamlessly slot into the Saints’ lineup. Won’t fire immediately at the start of the season, given their dodgy draw, but after the first month he is my tip to bolt. Watch him seriously as an alternative to Noble and Guthrie.
Coming in at #5, A guy that everyone should recognise. Eden Hazard is a gun. Twice winning Ligue 1 player of the year… despite being only 21. Priced at 9.5 he’s not cheap, but it’s a fair reflection of what the guy can do. Will start as a CAM for Chelsea, but unfortunately for him, his scores will largely reflect Torres‘ form. If El Nino decides to put his finishing boots on, Hazard will be in for a LOT of assists. If not, Hazard could be relying solely on goals. This, coupled with the fact he has no prior PL experience, is the reason he appears lowly at #5. Don’t get me wrong though- he will be a gun, it’s just a matter of how long it takes him to settle.
#4 belongs to our dear friend Jaaskelainen. A 4.5 Keeper with PL experience (over 500 games of it) and a guaranteed start week in week out? He jumped off of the sinking Bolton bandwagon and found himself at home with the mighty hammers. He represents the safest pick you could possibly wish for at a bargain price, with Federici currently nursing a rib injury and Begovic not completely guaranteed to start over Sorensen. So if you want a player who is a safe bargain GK pick, who won’t toy with your emotions by texting you flirtatiously some days, then ignore you others, lock him in. Will be a solid pick.
#3 also belongs to a bargain pick, this time in defence. Fabio represents tremendous value and by looking at QPR’s list, he represents a marked improvement on their alternative left-back, Traore, who struggled with the defensive duties last campaign. QPR should improve on their clean sheet tally this year, as their defence looks more settled with the reinforcements gained from Nelsen, a PL veteran. Although QPR have a horrid 3 weeks of Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham in a row, the draw soon clears up and Fabio starts looking like he will be a fantastic bench warmer/starter (depending on fixtures). Lock him in.
Splitting the top two was hard, but I’ve decided that #2 deserves to go to Shinji Kagawa. Sir Alex has been lathering the dude in praise ever since his switch from Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund. Let’s get one thing straight. He can play, and seriously well. At 8.5 I’d suppose you should expect that, but he is incredibly quick, comfortable with the ball at his feet, and can thread passes through impossible gaps. He’s starred so far this pre-season, scoring and assisting seemingly at will. He is what is missing at Manchester United. For too long Rooney has been relying on balls from Carrick, now he’ll have top quality delivery from the classy Japanese international. Expect a very healthy return from Kagawa, (consequently Rooney too!)
Drum roll please….. I think you all know who comes in at #1 , and is therefore dubbed the Inaugural Fresh Blood Champion. The man starred in the Premier League during his short stint at Fulham, scoring 6 goals since joining the club in January. A clinical finisher, potential penalty taker and he looks likely to lead the line at his new club too. Pavel Pogrebnyak is a lock. Just do yourself a favour, put him in your team and throw the key as far away as you freaking well can. Coming in at 5.0 , he’s underpriced. Massively. Not sold yet? He plays twice in the first game week. Given Jason Roberts‘ suspension that carries through from the Championship from last year, his spot is under no threat whatsoever.
So there you have it. My top 5. I figure a few honourable mentions should also be made. Sigurdsson is expensive, but he should score well providing AVB plays him in a CAM rather than a CM. Michu is another player who looks like he could slip into some form- Swansea have done well to snap up the bloke that finished 9th in the La Liga scoring chart last year. A creative midfielder who will slip straight into the void left by Sigurdsson you’d imagine. Clyne, at 4.0, is a potential bargain. Provided he plays. Given that he’s young, I’m reluctant to lock him in just yet, but with the potential to play on the wing as well as right-back, you’d be mad not to consider him. Naismith is another signing who looks like he could seamlessly slot into Everton’s lineup and reunite with his old Rangers strike-partner Jelavic. Mladen Petric is another mid-price/cheapy to consider, especially if he translates his 4 goal pre-season into the first game week. The signing of Pienaar has also just been approved, so he’s also another to watch out for, as he was dynamic in his loan spell with them after January. Guthrie is also another cheapie to monitor at Reading who will play and score solidly.
As per usual, questions/queries/anything else, tweet me and I’ll tweet back whenever I get the time.