Fresh Blood

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After analysing the fresh midfield and forward talent over the past week, it’s time to take a look at the new defensive options available to us this season. Hopefully there’s more promising options than in midfield, let’s go!

Pieters (5.0) 0.8%

Last season, the arrival of an attacking minded left back to Pulis’ side would have gained great attention, however Hughes will need to prove his defences worth before we seriously consider. Looking at the inflated prices of Begovic, Shawcross, Huth at 5.5 thanks to Pulis’ dour displays last season, he does seem to provide a much needed option in their defence. However I think immediate investment should be avoided anyway. Wait and see how Stoke go with a more attacking mindset, also take note of a tough few games to start with. Hughes’ rein kicks off with trips to Liverpool, West Ham and Arsenal in the opening five along with a home clash against City. Having just said that, Pieters should certainly be nailed down on Stoke’s left hand side of defence and can also move to centre-back if needed. If you’re after a Stoke defender then he is probably your best bet.

Amorebieta (4.5) 1.6%

Jol didn’t waste any time in trying to solve Fulham’s endless problems from the end of last season, signing the 6 foot 4 centre-half. He had been a mainstay in Athletic Bilbao’s defence for the last 8 seasons in La-Liga before desiring greener pastures this season. He looks an absolute bargain at 4.5 and is expected to get plenty of first team football alongside Hangeland, who is somewhat over-priced at 5.0. Whilst it looks good, Fulham’s defence was pretty woeful last campaign, so who knows what will be delivered this season.  Listen to this for a shocking stat though. In his 195 appearances for the Spanish club, he registered 75 yellow cards and 11 red cards. Yes you read that right, that’s almost a card every 2 games. Considering he only managed 3 goals and 3 assists over that time, if you enjoy a lot of 1 point hauls then this could be your man. Fulham’s early schedule is OK, but I won’t be scrambling for his services to begin with.

Amat (5.0) 0.3%

Swansea dipped into the summer transfer market for the second time earlier this week with the capture of centre-half Jordi Amat from Espanyol. He will join compatriot Jose Canas at the club, in fact half of Spain as Michael Laudrup continues to raid the Spanish top-flight for its incredible talent. With European duties now on the calendar for Swansea, Laudrup needs more depth in his squad if they are to have the same success of last season. It was quite obvious how the extra schedule put strain on his squad last year, with a poor end to the campaign. However this will come with some issues for us fpl managers, with Ashley Williams departure the only way we can really pick the new boy with some confidence. Coming in at an expected price of 5.0, I would be avoiding him unless Laudrup’s transfer market business sees his prospects take a turn for the better.

Rat (5.0) – 1.6%

Here’s one transfer I’ve had my eye on for a while. For those of you who tried your hands at the Champions league fantasy game last season, you will know enough about this guy to have him straight on the watchlist. His attacking bursts down the flank are a feature of his game, notching at least 4 assists in each of his last 3 seasons. He should be nailed on at left-back in West Ham’s defence, who were very solid last season registering 11 clean sheets along the way. A price of 5.0 seems fair, but still great value if he can continue his attacking ways that he was renowned for in the Ukraine League. The Hammers soft start means we should all be trying to fit at least one of their defenders in our starting line-ups this season, with many budget options available. If you’re tight on money then Collins should be good value at just 4.5, however if you have the cash to spare then take a close look at this guy. Should be a fantastic pick and is currently in my starting line-up. Don’t be afraid to go with both!

Lovren (5.0) 1.4%

Southampton has signed the Croatian international for a fee of around 8.5 million. His all-round game has been the subject of much praise, even Barcelona were linked with a bid last term. As such he is versatile enough to play in either of the full-back slots, however he is likely to be utilised in the centre-half position. He should bring even more solidity to Southampton defence that conceded just 9 times in 10 games after Pochettino’s arrival last term. Job security will be no problem. However if you’re after a Southampton budget option, Clyne or Shaw look like the preferable options at this stage. The extra power that has been added centrally to their squad should give the two wing backs more license to bomb forward, if that’s even possible. Coming in at just 4.5 they should provide great value with a great early set of fixtures. Lovren will have to prove a big threat at set-pieces if he is to enter our mindset at this stage.

Luna (4.5) 0.3%

Aston Villa’s summer spending spree shows no sign of slowing down after they landed 22 year old left-back Antonio Luna from Spanish club Sevilla. Job security should be no issue as Lambert was less than convinced by his options there last term, fielding 4 different players in that position. Given that Baker is now more comfortable at centre back and Lichaj is released, he should see plenty of game time. However Villa’s defence is still a big worry. You only need to look at their first 3 fixtures to know that Villa’s defensive options will be about as useful as an ashtray on a Motorbike. If a double gameweek is rolled around in GW 2 however… Actually I wouldn’t touch them anyway to be honest.

Stekelenberg (5.0) 5.9%

The first of the 2 new keepers to grace the Premier League this season, and he is certainly not lacking quality. Standing at a monstrous 6 ft 5, he has been my FIFA GK of choice for the past 3 years. A useless fact, but I’ll stand by it. I like to refer to him as “The Dong”. No guesses as to why. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be the first choice keeper at Craven Cottage, how effective that role will be remains to be seen. Their defence always seems to perform at the same, consistent, average level year in year out. Schwarzer ended up as the 6th ranked keeper last season, thanks to his heroic number of saves, penalty stops, and all-round awesomeness. Sure, Dong has a lot to live up to, but if you’re after a 5.0 keeper to save room in your budget then he is a safe bet.

McGregor (4.5) 1.9%

With David Stockdale back at his parent club Fulham, Bruce has brought in the Scottish shot stopper to end Hull’s constant search for a number one keeper. Game time will be no issue, and a 4.5 price tag places him squarely in the budget goalkeeper tag. However as a starting keeper he will be as helpful as a concrete parachute. Hull’s first 6 home games are very tempting though with Norwich, Cardiff, West Ham, Villa, Sunderland and Palace all visiting within the first 12 gameweeks. He could prove very handy as a rotation keeper with the likes of Foster, Ruddy and Jääskeläinen.

That’s it from me today, plenty of options to consider! Whilst most of these guys should find first team football no issue, their clubs defensive prospects is another thing altogether. Bear them in mind when I take an in depth look at the defender prospects for the season in my final player review. In the meantime I will bring you another edition of Fresh Blood to cover the newly transferred players to arrive in the past week or so. Until then, cheers!

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