It’s been another action-packed summer off the field for Premier League clubs as they spend colossal amounts of money to try to break into the elusive ‘top 4’. Winning the Premier League title is slowly becoming less important as clubs are celebrating a top 4 finish in the same vein as they would winning the title… I am looking at you Liverpool.
Premier League clubs will have Man United to thank for keeping that 4th league Champions League qualifying position as their Europa League win last season helped England in the co-efficient, to keep that extra champions league spot. The Premier League was in danger of losing a spot after mediocre performances in recent years in Europe’s elite competition but for now they hold onto that 4th spot.
On to the signings….
There have been 37 signings so far from Premier League clubs for players outside of England with the likes of Man City and Chelsea spending heavily. Transfer fees no longer merely reflect the players ability but instead make sense from a business point of view for the selling clubs. Of course, the money being spent brings great debate amongst fans cross all social media platforms as they try to defend their own club’s signings.
Going into this year however, all eyes will be on the top 6 of last season, with 5 of them spending big and only Tottenham Hotspur yet to open the cheque book. Man United finished in 6th last season, 8 points clear of 7th place Everton and that gap between 6th and the rest could extend further this year. Despite Everton splashing the cash this summer, without Lukaku to call upon they will lack the quality throughout the squad to make any real dent into the top 6.
Newly promoted Brighton and Huddersfield Town are expected to go straight back down but have signed 15 players between them to try and make sure that doesn’t happen. Big pressure will be on Slaven Bilic at West Ham, as he’s spent big in bringing Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic into the club. Last year the Hammers struggled and missed out on a top 10 finish on goal difference so the Croat is clearly hoping goals from Hernandez and Arnautovic will propel them up the table.
Newcastle should have enough to avoid any relegation fight thanks to Rafa Benítez experience, while rivals Southampton will need new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to settle in very quickly. Crystal Palace also have a new manager in Frank De Boer and the former Ajax coach will look to implement his passing philosophy from the get go.
The rest of the sides won’t pull any major surprises and will look to get to the 40-point mark as soon as they can to avoid any possible relegation to the championship.
Here at Fanfeud we look at bringing you the best players for your fantasy teams to help you win your respective leagues. Below are our picks as the best 3 defenders, midfielders and strikers signed so far. Could they be fantasy assets for your side? YOU DECIDE!!
Benjamin Mendy – Man City (£6.5m)
The French full back was one of many revelations for Monaco last season as they claimed the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 17 years. It’s been no secret that Man City had to reinforce the full back area and they have done that with great quality. There is a lot of talk of the transfer fee for Mendy which is believed to be in the region of £52m, to be a bit much but for a 23-year-old with his quality, that could turn out to be a bargain.
Last season was Mendy’s 1st year with Monaco having made the summer move from Marseille and he appeared in 25 games. He’s quick, strong and has good positional sense while at the other end he’s not bad either as he created 25 chances with 5 converted. With his new manager’s style, he will be attacking a lot more than before so his end product is vital.
Antonio Rudiger – Chelsea (£6m)
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte knew that he needed to add more quality to his squad and especially in the defensive area and in doing so he’s got an absolute gem in Antonio Rudiger. For a fee believed to be £29m, the German international is a strong, quick and a superb athlete, which was on show at this summer’s Confederations Cup.
Rudiger is a ball carrying centre back who averaged over 80% pass completion last season for Roma in just 26 games. At 6ft 3in he’s not easy to get around as he won 70% of his take ons, while in the air he was also dominant. The Premier League tempo should suit Rudiger down to ground and once manager Conte gives him his chance you can expect him to take it.
Victor Lindelöf – Man United (£5.5m)
The much talked about Swedish international is a defender with great talent and potential. Coming from Portuguese giants Benfica, Lindelöf faces his biggest task in plying his trade at Old Trafford and one he should take with both hands. The fee United have paid for the 23-year-old is close to €50m with add ons and it is imperative that Lindelöf doesn’t let the pricetag affect him.
He helped Benfica claim the league title last season with 32 appearances and kept 21 clean sheets. He’s good on the ball and reached 90% passing success for the season while he won the ball every time in a 1v1 encounter. The 12-times capped Swedish international won just over 50% of his aerial duels which is something he will need to fix under Jose Mourinho. He’s already faced criticism over his performances in pre-season but that’s what the friendlies are for in getting use to your new surroundings.
Tiemoue Bakayoko – Chelsea (£5m)
Italian manager Antonio Conte has added some quality through the spine of his side with the aforementioned Rudiger, Alvaro Morata up front and the excellent Bakayoko in midfield. The Frenchman is coming off an excellent season with Monaco and is hoping to continue that form with his new club. He’s arrived at Chelsea looking to build a strong partnership with fellow countryman N’Golo Kante in the engine room.
He’s very similar to Kante with strong tackling skills, is good on the ball and an excellent reader of the game. He scored twice in 32 games last season and was close to 90% pass completion for the season. He’s also won over half of his battles whether in the air or on the ground and he will have to up his game even more in the Premier League.
Davy Klaassen – Everton (£7.5m)
If Everton do anything good this year, then I expect former Ajax midfielder Klaassen to be involved in pretty much most of it. The 24-year-old is coming from a footballing background having made his senior debut at just 18 with the famous Dutch club. He’s composed on the ball, creates space around him and looks for that killer pass.
Last season he created 57 chances in 32 league games, with 9 of them leading to goals as Ajax missed out on the title. He also played a key role in Ajax surprise run to the Europa League final, creating 16 chances in 13 games. The midfielder averages above 80% with his passing and Everton fans hope he has the key for unlocking the tight defences they may face.
Bernardo Silva – Man City (£8m)
Pep Guardiola has himself a player in the form of this little Portuguese magician. So often played a pivotal role for Monaco last season, a move this summer was always on the cards and he’s landed at the Etihad. Not only has Silva got a delicious left foot, but also in his locker is that low centre of gravity that helps him weave in between defenders.
Last season he missed just 1 game and played a pivotal role in the final third of the pitch in Monaco run to the title. Silva created 59 chances for his team mates with 9 of them finding the net, he himself only bagged 8 league goals but brings so much more to the table. With Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero already there, the attacking options available just got much better.
Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal (£10.5m)
This could turn out to be one of the signings of the summer as the quality this Frenchman possess is outstanding. The former Lyon striker looked set for a move to Atletico Madrid but the Spanish side were banned for any transfer activity and in swooped Arsene Wenger to bring the striker to the Emirates.
He’s exactly what Arsenal need in their push to get back into the Champions League spots having missed out last season. In just 30 league appearances, Lacazette found the target 27 times while also bagging himself 6 goals in the Europa League. Two footed, quick and clever around the box, the Frenchman created 46 chances for his team mates last season with only 3 of them, turning into goals. Arsenal fans will get a treat this season with Lacazette leading the line.
Romelu Lukaku – Man United (£11.5m)
There is not much to add about the Belgian monster other than, United have themselves a striker. He’s been criticised already in preseason about his first touch but his ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play, outweighs any poor 1st touch. Last season he scored 25 league goals in 37 games, for an Everton side that finished 7th. He had 86 shots on goal last season with 55 of them hitting the target, so if you give the Belgian a hint of a strike, he will take it.
The former Chelsea forward is also influential for other players as he created 46 chances last season with 6 of them turning into assists. Strong, good in the air and has a bit of pace about him, it remains to be seen if United did miss out on Alvaro Morata or if they have got the better player. For me, they have won this battle with Chelsea.
Sandro Ramirez – Everton (£7.5m)
A product of the world famous La Masia, Sandro wasn’t giving a fair crack of the whip at Barcelona as players like Luis Suarez and Neymar came in. Last he season he sought pastures new with Malaga and excelled in his new role and with consistent game time. He made 30 appearances for Malaga last term and bagged himself 14 goals.
He’s a hard working centre forward that wont give defender’s a moments rest, so anything down the channels will see Sandro run them down. He does have a bit of a creative side to his game as he created 32 chances last season but only 3 were converted. He is still just 22 and may need time to adjust to his new surroundings but he is certainly one that will cause trouble for any opposition.