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!