Arriving at Southampton on the final day of last summer’s transfer window, Gaston Ramirez’s acquisition was regarded as a real coup for the Premier League new boys. The Uruguayan signed on for a club record fee believed to be in the region of £12m and, having been favourably priced across the Fantasy games, looked a genuine mid-price option for our five man midfields:
By the end of the season, however, Ramirez was sitting in the St Mary’s stands after being banned for the final three matches, with his debut campaign in the English top-flight turning out patchy at best. A total of five goals and four assists over 26 appearances, supplemented by eight Fantasy Premier League (FPL) bonus points saw Ramirez end the season on 88 points – given that Rickie Lambert racked up 187 points as the lone forward, it’s fair to say that the former Bologna man had plenty room for improvement next time out.
- On the positive side, Ramirez’s limited returns from his role in “the hole” is likely to be good news for his price across the Fantasy games next time round. While Lambert’s exploits will ensure a hefty hike and perhaps force him out of many Fantasy plans, Ramirez should remain around the 6.0 mark in FPL – given that mid-price midfield options such as Michu, Marouane Fellaini and Kevin Nolan are all set to rise in cost, Ramirez may well step up as a strong value option.
- Ramirez’s first season in the Premier League was also blighted by a leg problem. With his game time limited, the new boy made just 20 starts and six sub appearances for the Saints and featured for a total of 1,679 minutes compared to Lambert’s 3,126 minutes – while he delivered only 47% of Lambert’s FPL points haul, then, he only played 53% of the forward’s game time. If he remains injury-free next time round and providing Pochettino curbs his penchant for subbing Ramirez off midway through the second period of matches, the Uruguayan will be optimistic of mirroring his final season in Serie A, which harvested eight goals and four assists.
- Although Southampton stuttered towards the end of the previous campaign, Ramirez hinted at an upturn in performance at St Mary’s. The Uruguayan notched in two of his final four home appearances before receiving his marching orders for an elbowing incident involving Shane Long in Gameweek 35 – Mauricio Pochettino has already talked up his star man’s potential for next time out, following a difficult settling-in period. Certainly, the 2013/14 fixture list affords Ramirez the perfect platform to kick on – Southampton’s first six home fixtures look particularly strong (SUN, WHM, CPL, SWA, FUL, HUL) and with trips to West Brom, Norwich and Stoke also included in the opening 11 Gameweeks, the Saints could barely have wished for a kinder opening run.
- As Pochettino prepares for his first full season in charge, he’ll be buoyed by some of his side’s home results against the top eight last time round. Since taking the reins last January, the Argentine saw his side beat City, Chelsea and Liverpool at St Mary’s, in addition to drawing with Everton in his first match in charge. While there’s no denying Saints finished the season poorly, Pochettino’s side have already shown their capabilities and will be looking to eradicate the inconsistencies that harvested just four points from their final six games – Ramirez will undoubtedly be key to their progression.