Danny Simpson fulfilled the role of a dependable defensive filler brilliantly all season. Available for a budget price and assured of first-team starts throughout, the right-back proved a solid, if unspectacular, Fantasy acquisition to earn recognition in our team of the season.
Newcastle’s back four, marshaled by the hugely impressive Fabricio Collocini, allowed Simpson to contribute handsomely to our lineups. While he failed to hit the high notes in attacking terms, regular clean sheets for a budget price became a precious commodity in a season dominated by attacking heavy-hitters.
With 35 starts in the Newcastle defence, Simpson earned his Fantasy owners 14 clean sheets – more than any other member of Alan Pardew’s back four. With only the City and United back fours outperforming Newcastle in terms of shut-outs, Simpson, at just 4.0 in the Fantasy Premier League game, offered the best value of any defender.
Simpson’s returns were spread over the season, ensuring that that he remained a “keeper” as the Gameweeks rolled by. Following three clean sheets in the opening four Gameweeks, his initial price began to rise and a steady increase saw it peak at 4.8 by the final month. By the end of the season, Simpson was owned by over a quarter of the FPL manager base.
In attacking terms, Simpson disappointed. While his Opta performance statistics show that he was the most fruitful supply of crosses in the Magpies’ rearguard (including Ryan Taylor), this failed to translate into assists. Simpson ended the season with just two to his name, with zero goal returns. Indeed, in terms of goal threat, Simpson managed just three efforts on goal all season.
Simpson’s future as a Fantasy prospect is most uncertain. Protracted contract negotiations appear to have made his situation in the north-east untenable.
Although it’s stated that Simpson is looking to stay with the club, reports have indicated that the player has rejected the final contract offer, as he looks to earn better terms than the reported £25,000 a week that’s on the table. It’s believed that offers will now be welcomed for Simpson, who has just one year left on his current deal.
The Mapgies are apparently assessing the suitability of Davide Santon for the right-back role, while there are growing reports of the club targeting full-backs. Only this morning, the Mail have stated that the Magpies are looking to both Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy and Crystal Palace’s hot prospect – Nathaniel Clyne.
Simpson would seem destined for pastures new, then, perhaps avoiding an inevitable price rise that seems certain to come the way of the entire Newcastle back four.
Right now, it’s uncertain just where Simpson will land and whether his new surroundings will present potential for Fantasy managers. It’s likely, however, that he’s already enjoyed his best Fantasy season. Simpson is not a leading attacking full-back and will require a budget price and the potential of 12+ clean sheets before he’s set to be considered as a target.
Back in the north-east meanwhile, a new right-back seems likely to be acquired and, if his price tag fits, he could well present a new option as the Magpies look to build on this season’s success.