A relatively quiet deadline day exploded into life in the last half-hour of the transfer window, with a number of eye-catching deals potentially causing Fantasy Premier League managers a dilemma or two ahead of the Gameweek 1 deadline tomorrow night.
We take a look at the key moves that could affect our thinking with less than 24 hours to go until the 2018/19 Premier League season kicks off at Old Trafford.
Yerry Mina/Bernard/Andre Gomes to Everton
One of the busiest clubs on Thursday were Everton, who completed the triple signing of defender Yerry Mina, winger Bernard and central midfielder Andre Gomes with minutes of the window remaining.
Bernard’s was the first of the three transfers to be officially confirmed by the Toffees and it is perhaps his capture that generates the most intrigue.
The Bosman signing from Shakhtar Donetsk has played the bulk of his career on the left wing, but as FPL managers are well aware, that position is also where summer capture Richarlison (£6.5m) is predominantly stationed.
Marco Silva’s comments upon Bernard’s unveiling played up the pint-sized free transfer’s versatility:
Bernard is a quick player, very good technically and he can play on the left or right wings and as an offensive midfield player behind the striker.
That would immediately put Theo Walcott (£6.5m) and even Gylfi Sigurdsson’s (£7.5m) pitch-time at some risk, depending on where Silva ultimately decides to field Bernard for the Toffees. Certainly, Silva’s evident love of Richarlison and the amount of money Everton splashed on the former Watford star would suggest that the £35m buy will mostly be rotation-proof in Silva’s 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 set-up.
Bernard scored on 14 occasions and set up another 24 goals in his 95 league appearances for Shakhtar.
Mina, meanwhile, would appear to be a shoo-in for one of the centre-back spots, probably alongside Michael Keane (£5.0m). Phil Jagielka (£4.5m) was the only other fit centre-half available to Silva before Mina’s arrival after the departure of Ashley Williams and the injury to Mason Holgate (£4.5m), but the club captain’s 35-year-old limbs have struggled in pre-season and Jagielka would seem set to play back-up at best.
Mina barely featured for Barcelona during his time at the Nou Camp, but his goal-scoring exploits for Colombia at the World Cup will be of much interest to FPL managers: the 6’5″ centre-back scored three goals in as many matches, all headers from set-piece routines.
Andre Gomes is another Barca player to make the move to Goodison Park, this time on a season-long loan deal. The Portuguese central midfielder is unlikely to be of much interest to Fantasy managers, however, having scored on only three occasions for the Catalan giants in two seasons with the club. Gomes is also without a goal in 46 appearances for his national side.
Joe Bryan (plus four more) to Fulham
While not, with all due respect to Joe Bryan, one of the more earth-shattering moves to happen on deadline day, Fulham’s capture of the Bristol City defender could have positive repercussions for one of the Cottagers’ most popular FPL assets.
The 24-year-old left-back’s arrival means that Ryan Sessegnon (£6.5m) will likely be free of his part-time defensive duties, having played a chunk of pre-season (and half of 2017/18) in Bryan’s position due to the lack of alternatives available to Slavisa Jokanovic.
Sessegnon, owned by over 10% of FPL managers, will now be free to resume his role on the left flank of Fulham’s front three, although a knock-on effect will likely mean even fewer minutes for Aboubakar Kamara (£4.5m), with Andre Schurrle (£6.0) now set to be deployed on the right wing.
A former winger himself, Bryan could dovetail nicely with Sessegnon on the left flank and offers the prospect of some attacking returns, having scored on five occasions (and assisted a further three goals) for Bristol City last season.
Playing against Fulham the last couple of years, the style of play has really stood out to me and it will suit me. I’m used to playing fast attacking football, so hopefully I can slot right in.
Elsewhere in west London, striker Luciano Vietto has joined the club on a season-long loan from Valencia, but will surely only play back-up to Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.5m) in attack.
Fulham have, curiously, also signed Seville’s former first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Rico on loan, just weeks after snapping up Besiktas custodian Fabri (£4.5m).
Timothy Fosu-Mensah has joined the Cottagers on loan for the season and could threaten Cyrus Christie’s starts at right-back (£4.5m).
Fulham wrapped up their summer spending with the £30m capture of Andre-Frank Anguissa, although the talented defensive midfielder is not a name that FPL bosses will be particularly excited about: the Cameroon international failed to score a single league goal in 79 Ligue 1 appearances for Marseille.
Mateo Kovacic to Chelsea
Signing on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season, the deep-lying midfielder’s arrival could spell bad news for the likes of Ross Barkley (£6.0m) and Cesc Fabregas (£6.5m).
Kovacic looks a strong candidate to line up alongside Jorginho (£5.0m) and N’Golo Kante (£5.0m) in Maurizio Sarri’s central midfield three, although FPL managers needn’t get too excited about the Croatian’s arrival: Kovacic scored on only one occasion for Real during his three years at the club. The former Inter Milan midfielder also has just one international goal to his name from 46 caps.
A deep-lying playmaker with the ability to drive forward and kick-start attacks, Kovacic could however be well rewarded on the Bonus Points System. The Croatian completed 87.5% of his take-ons in La Liga last season, the highest percentage of any player who attempted 15 or more dribbles, while his passing accuracy of 93.7% was the best in the Spanish top flight.
While new goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5m) will likely be given his Chelsea debut this weekend, Kovacic has admitted that he himself lacks match sharpness:
I haven’t trained a lot at Real Madrid because I badly wanted to come to Chelsea so I didn’t do much training. I will give my best to be ready [as soon as possible]
Danny Ings to Southampton
Liverpool’s Danny Ings (£5.5m) has joined the Saints on a season-long loan deal, which is set to be made permanent at the end of 2018/19.
Ings’ capture is an intriguing one and casts Charlie Austin (£6.0m) and Manolo Gabbiadini’s (£6.0m) pitch-time into further doubt.
After three injury-hit years on Merseyside, Ings will – barring further fitness setbacks – surely see more minutes under Mark Hughes, who has rolled out a two-man attack for much of pre-season.
Still just 26 years of age, Ings hit double figures for goals in his last full season (2014/15) for Burnley in the top flight and is a budget forward to monitor in the coming weeks, particularly given Southampton’s favourable fixtures in the first few months of the season.
Caglar Soyuncu to Leicester City
One of two centre-backs to sign for the Foxes on deadline day, Caglar Soyuncu has joined the club from Freiburg for a fee that could rise to £19m – although the deal is still subject to a work permit being granted.
The Foxes are short in the heart of defence, with Wes Morgan (£4.5m) and Yohan Benalouane (£4.0m) the only options available to Claude Puel for their final pre-season friendly against Lille last weekend.
Harry Maguire (£5.5m) has only just returned to training with City, while Jonny Evans (£5.0m) is struggling with injury.
The Foxes also signed Filip Benkovic from Dinamo Zagreb earlier in the day, but the young centre-back appears to be one for the future. Puel said of his new arrival:
Filip is an exciting young player who has the potential to develop even more at Leicester City Football Club. He has made a big contribution to Dinamo Zagreb over the last three years and has also benefitted from experiencing European football. I know he will give us some great options and competition in the squad and I’m delighted to have him here.
Carlos Sanchez to West Ham
The experienced Colombian international has joined the Hammers from Fiorentina, though the defensive midfielder is not a name that will appeal to Fantasy managers: in his two years with Aston Villa in the Premier League, Sanchez scored on only one occasion.
The transfer, however, may put Declan Rice’s (£4.5m) “out of position” status at risk. Rice had lined up in central midfield in pre-season, despite being listed as a defender in FPL.
Leander Dendoncker to Wolves
Leander Dendocker became Wolves’ 11th summer signing after joining from Anderlecht. The defensive midfielder, who can also play at centre-back, has joined the newly promoted club on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal next summer.
The Belgian international’s arrival adds competition for Ruben Neves (£5.0m) and Joao Moutinho (£5.5m) in the centre of the park, while also giving Santo cover at centre-half. Romain Saiss (£4.5m) has struggled in the defensive three since dropping back there this summer and it could well be that Dendoncker first gets a run in the team at centre-back, with Neves and Moutinho now established in the double-pivot.
Dendoncker made 171 appearances for the Belgian club, scoring 11 times and providing four assists.
Jordan Ayew to Crystal Palace
The Eagles’ loan signing of Jordan Ayew from Swansea City is a thought-provoking capture, not least for the potential impact on Wilfried Zaha’s (£7.0m) starting position.
Ayew scored seven goals for the Swans last season in 36 appearances, averaging a chance every 43.3 minutes.
While Ayew will likely begin life at Selhurst Park as a back-up forward to Zaha and Christian Benteke (£6.5m), the situation is one to monitor in the first few Gameweeks of the season. Should Zaha be shunted out to the flank to accommodate the Ghanaian striker in the future, then Zaha’s appeal as a £7.0m forward would be somewhat dented, given the attractive alternatives available in the same price bracket.
Lucas Perez to West Ham United
For Zaha, read Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m).
Lucas Perez has joined West Ham United from Arsenal for a reported £4m. The 29-year-old forward made only 11 league appearances (just two of them starts) for the Gunners in 2016/17, before spending all of last season on loan at Deportivo.
Perez scored six goals in 32 La Liga appearances in 2017/18 and gives Manuel Pellegrini another alternative in attack, with Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez (£6.5m) previously the only fit options available to him.
Perez’s path to the West Ham first-team would perhaps seem less straightforward than Ayew’s at Palace, however, and there would appear little threat – at this early stage – of Arnautovic being restationed from his centre-forward role.
The Best of the Rest
Neil Warnock has added much-needed depth to his central midfield with the signings of Victor Camarasa from Real Betis and Harry Arter from Bournemouth on season-long loan deals.
Warnock was forced to play centre-back Sol Bamba in an advanced role in the 2-1 loss to Betis at the weekend, a match that Camarasa didn’t feature in.
Brighton have signed 27-year-old right-back Martin Montoya from Valencia on a four-year deal. The move could spell the end for Bruno (£4.5m) and Ezequiel Schelotto (£4.0m) in the full-back position.
Federico Fernandez will provide competition for Fabian Schar (£5.0m) and Ciaran Clark (£4.5m) at centre-back for Newcastle United, meanwhile.
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