Often dependable, sometimes spectacular, Michel Vorm was undoubtedly one of the stars of Swansea’s superb season back in the top flight.
A £1.5m capture from Utrecht, the Dutch stopper was outstanding from his first showing in the 4-0 defeat at Man City in the opening Gameweek. While his defence received the runaround from debutant Sergio Aguero on that occasion, Vorm showed enough to hint at his potential – his 10 saves on the night was never bettered by any keeper all season.
As the Gameweeks rolled by, Vorm was to inspire the Swans’ defence to an extraordinary run of clean sheets at the Liberty Stadium that was to quickly establish him as one of the season’s most wanted Fantasy assets.
Vorm’s strong first campaign saw him rank only behind City’s Joe Hart in the overall Fantasy Premier League (FPL) keeper chart, as the Dutchman recorded 14 clean sheets to Hart’s 17. Trailing the City stopper by just eight points overall, Vorm’s value, with an initial 4.0 price compared to Hart’s 7.0, is undeniable.
While Hart slipped to a low of 6.8, Vorm’s price escalated week by week; by Gameweek 23 it peaked at 5.3. As the season closed, he was owned by a third of the FPL manager base – only Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Gareth Bale boasted more owners: an incredible feat for a relative unknown in his first season in England’s top-flight.
While the Swansea possession game and stable back four will take some credit for Vorm’s achievements, it’s worth emphasising just how much the keeper played his part. His 143 saves in the FPL was second only to Wolves’ Wayne Hennessey, a keeper who received plenty of shot-stopping practice in front of a fragile and shuffled rearguard.
Only Vorm’s bonus point haul disappoints: the fact that he mustered just three all season is surely symptomatic of an EA Player Performance Index that rarely acknowledges the contributions made by the men between the sticks.
Swansea’s player of the year in his first season, Michel Vorm has killed any speculation by declaring that his future lies at the Liberty. That will have disappointed the queue of suitors that was thought to include Arsenal, eyeing him up as a deputy to Wojciech Szczesny.
While that news is welcomed both in Wales and amongst Fantasy managers, sadly it seems inevitable that we have enjoyed the very best of Vorm in Fantasy terms. The Swansea defence, priced so keenly by the FPL this term, will surely be in line for significant price rises across the board, with Vorm subject to an increase of around 1.5 to put him firmly in the mid-price bracket.
That is likely to dent his potential next term, with the clamour for budget keepers the now-established strategy in the FPL. Even if Swansea can repeat their defensive feats of 2011/12, it remains to be seen if Vorm can attract interest with a price tag that will rank him alongside the likes of Brad Friedel and Tim Howard – excellent keepers who last season captured around just 5% of the FPL ownership in comparison.