Pre-Season Watchlist

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Having had time for a tinker session with my squad, I think I’ve come to a pretty settled line-up for the time being. It will certainly change! It might be a good idea to screenshot your current team immediately before you screw it all up… Without giving away my whole team, here is a few players I have firmly on my pre-season radar.

Defender: Luke Shaw – You already know my thoughts regarding Everton’s wing backs, and my other defender is relying on a transfer that hasn’t even happened yet! One thing is for certain, I will be investing in both Manchester defences due to what I like to call the ‘Pep and Mourinho effect’. City’s defence is less certain at this stage, but I’m confident I could pick a cheap starter from Mourinho’s men. Bailly and Shaw should both be starters come GW1, and it’s Luke Shaw who catches the eye. His progress has been stunted due to a horrific run of injuries and this is a concern, but surely it comes together for him soon. He’s a young full back, priced at 5.5 and playing in a defence capable of keeping 16+ clean sheets. Bellerin anyone? Hard to say no if he gets through pre-season ok. He’s ahead of Bailly for me due to his attacking threat (Although minimal, it’s bigger than Bailly’s).

Midfielder: Max Gradel – If selecting a value midfielder or forward I like to know they’re capable of significant attacking returns. Gradel scored 17 goals in the 2014/15 Ligue 1 season before moving to Bournemouth, so that ticks one box. I also like them to play for an attacking team, and this could be the problem. If Bournemouth struggle to score frequently then he may become a liability, but Max showed enough before his injury last season to suggest that 5.5 could be serious value. I think Eddie Howe’s men can be huge improvers this season. Gradel is certainly capable of a solid 5 or 6 (Conservative) goal season with 10+ assists, 150 points is about the minimum I’d expect. He’s definitely one to watch!

Forward: Batshuayi – Aside from the obvious options up forward this season, Batshuayi tops my list. A price of 9.0 may seem about right, but I reckon there’s potential for him to contribute to 25+ goals this season. The 33 million pound Chelsea signing managed 18 goals and 9 assists last season from 38 appearances (6 off the bench). His obvious competition is Lukaku, and I understand why managers are after Premier League proven players. It’s hard to deny Romelu is great value. However it could also be argued that Batshuayi is just as talented and perhaps his overall game is more rounded. He should thrive under Conte’s watch. I love Conte’s tactics and a 2 striker formation pairing Batshuayi alongside Costa could be perfect for the Belgian. While Lukaku will have to fight against the best centre backs in the PL on his own, Costa could prove to be the perfect foil for Michy. If they can get their chemistry right, both could go close to scoring 20 goals and assist each other for fun. With no European commitments rotation shouldn’t be a worry either, I really like what this strike partnership could produce this season. He’s currently in my side! Watch him closely pre-season, so far he’s started OK.

Who’s on your radar so far? Let me know!

11 comments on “Pre-Season Watchlist

  1. The Swan and Paedo

    Biggest locks for me so far:

    Foster: 4.5m for a 100% js player in a Pulis defence with good early fixtures is too good to refuse.

    Baines: Can only get better and possibly gets penalties back. Total lock if so.

    Tadic: Looks set to play at the top of the diamond and this time with 2 hungry forwards to feed into, rather than the often isolated Pelle. Could be 190+ this year.

    Benteke: If he goes to Palace, 7.5m is the bargain of the year.

    • Liam

      Goalkeepers are a tough area to ‘nail down’ so dependent on the teams ability to pick up clean sheets / the randomness of a penalty save and save points.

      His certainly a good option but his not the only one available in that price range.

      Baines’s ankle is approaching ‘glass leg’ stage although he could have many more successive years in his career unaffected it is a consideration.

      I am not inspired by there recruiting at this stage it would have to take some midfield reinforcements to consider him a true lock with the uncertainty of penalty kicks.

      I am a massive fan of Tadic although it will depend on his role. He is one player to follow carefully with pre season form on his positioning.

      Benteke is interesting, bargain of the year is a big call the high amount of crosses they play into the box + set piece efficiency would certainly push him towards a ‘bargain of the year’ contender.

  2. templetontherat

    Ah I said it in the last thread, so I will repeat here. Jordan Rhodes I’m a big fan of, curious at what you think of him as an F3

  3. BMN

    please help rate my team
    thanks in advance!

    courtois – jakupovic
    shaw – baines – rotation pair (souare – kone) – (paredes4.0)
    mkhitayan – fischer – ayew – townsend – (fletcher4.5)
    aguero – kane – lukaku

    • Liam

      Fischer’s role is debatable in the side at this stage I would be cautious about starting the season with him. Consider saving money in the GK position & the 5th midfielder needs reviewing.

      Solid team though.

      • kingcolesy

        I dont think we use M5 so thats alright, as long as hes playing hes doing his main role. Capoue is only other guy I think you can start there for Watford, who is a DM and has awful fixtures. Apparently does bomb forward in preseason tho.

        • Liam

          I am a big fan of the M5 it give you the opportunity to nail down an underpriced asset who is set to have a big season (or at least have the budget for someone if they break out early).

          I tend to prefer a 5.0 attacking option then a 4.5 defensive one but that is just me. Everyone has a different way of managing there budget.

          Picking a safe defensive option does protect you from them dropping in price. If you pick someone who does score the odd goal you might get rewarded in the early weeks with a goal and price rises. This gives you the ability to focus on other transfers in your side.

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