Fantasy Premier League managers may have to wait to see how Trezeguet (£5.5m) settles in at Aston Villa before assessing his points-scoring potential.
Dean Smith continued his summer spending spree earlier this week by adding Egypt international to his roster, the ninth new signing of the transfer window.
His name alone may evoke nostalgia among football fans of the late 90s and early 00s but, unlike his retro namesake, this Trezeguet isn’t a striker and is yet to play even a minute’s worth of football in any of Europe’s major leagues.
Coming into FPL priced at £5.5m the Egyptian’s viability will depend on several factors.
Indicators of his abilities can no doubt be found by researching his time at previous clubs but can he cut it in the Premier League, let alone start at Aston Villa? And what effect will he have on Smith’s array of attacking options?
The history and statistics
Trezeguet came through the youth ranks of Al Ahly in Egypt, one of the most successful football outfits in African football. Even at a young age, the former head coach of the club said that Trezeguet was “one of the best youngster’s he’s ever come across”.
Within a matter of a few years of turning professional, he had already won the Egyptian Premier League and CAF Champions League. His talent hadn’t gone unnoticed and was attracting attention from European scouts.
Trezeguet was not especially known for with his goal-scoring exploits during this period though, having netted only seven times. But clearly he was contributing in other areas of attacking play so it wasn’t long before Anderlecht came calling
There were still benefits for the Egyptian in this as he was attaining crucial minutes on the pitch and was able to adapt his game in a different continent.
It wasn’t until the 2017/18 season, when loaned out to Turkish side Kasımpaşa, that Trezeguet started to make a name for himself again. Switching between the left and right flanks, this was his most successful campaign from an attacking perspective when he scored 13 goals and registered 7 assists in only 31 appearances.
Trezeguet was then signed permanently by Kasımpaşa and scored an additional nine goals for them in the following season. To put this into context he scored 20% of their league goals over the space of two seasons.
It’s this kind of form that FPL managers and Villans alike will be hoping that he can leverage in the Premier League. And if Dean Smith’s words are anything to go by, Trezeguet hasn’t just been signed to make up the numbers either.
“He’s the type of wide player that we have been looking for” – Dean Smith
We must not forget that, on top of Trezeguet, Aston Villa have already signed two other wingers in the transfer window; Jota (£6.0m) from Birmingham and Anwar El Ghazi whose previous loan deal was made permanent.
Also at the club, and getting time in pre-season is Andre Green (£5.0m), while Jack Grealish (£6.0m), Jonathan Kodjia (£5.5m) and Birkir Bjarnason (£4.5m) are all capable of playing on the wing if needed.
This could potentially complicate things for Trezeguet, Jota and El Ghazi in particular as at least one of them will have to miss out each match if Smith continues using a 4-3-3 formation.
There is plenty to be encouraged about in Trezeguet’s underlying statistics though.
Last he averaged four shots per league game, dwarfing dwarfs the output from El Ghazi (1.9) and Jota (1.6). The fact that the Egyptian scored the same number of goals last season (nine) as the two of them combined, he could represent a strong prospect on his own.
Having said that, it is hard to compare the Turkish Super Lig with the Championship with the second tier of English football improving in quality and global appeal every year.
Either way, neither division stacks up to the Premier League so we should at least suspect there to be some reduction in Trezeguet’s shots per game this year compared to 2018/19.
If there’s one key attribute that Trezeguet displays, it is his adaptability. The fact he was has been able to adjust between three leagues over four years (2014-2018) shows that he can cope with change.
18 attacking returns last season (one for every 170 minutes played) by a winger in any league should not be scoffed at.
Even if Trezeguet was able to match half of that in the Premier League, with an FPL price tag of £5.5m, it would be considered a decent enough debut season, especially if it was enough to help keep Villa up.
It must be noted that over a quarter of Aston Villa’s goals last season were scored between Grealish, John McGinn (£5.5m) and Conor Hourihane (£5.5m) respectively, all three of whom predominantly operate in the central midfield trio of Smith’s 4-3-3 formation.
From an FPL perspective, there is a slight danger that Aston Villa now have too many players who are capable of chipping in with goals from across midfield and attack.
This could make it hard to pin down one individual who is involved in more goals than any of his team-mates, a talisman they can count on for attacking prowess in the mould of a Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) or a Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m).
Furthermore, Aston Villa also recently signed a new forward in Wesley (£6.0m), to replace the departed Tammy Abraham (£7.0m) and it is currently unclear how long it will take him to settle into the side too.
It’s hard to recall the last time a player lit up the Turkish Super Lig and then made an immediate like-for-like impact on the Premier League the following season.
This on its own doesn’t bode well for Trezeguet, so it’s hard to consider him some kind of budget version of international colleague Mohamed Salah (£12.5m).
After all, the Liverpool man had previously played in the Premier League before arriving at Anfield having excelled in Serie A and the Champions League.
Trezeguet lacks this kind of valuable experience and may have to hit the ground running from Gameweek 1 or else risk being rested or rotated.
The £5.5m price does still make him a very interesting prospect for Fantasy managers.
In 2019/20, there are not many FPL assets at that price point who matched or bettered Trezeguet’s 18 attacking returns last season, even if they were recorded in a so-called ‘lesser league’.
At the same time, Trezeguet’s potential attacking influence is equally at risk of being cancelled out by Aston Villa’s other midfielders and forwards, while rotation between himself, Jota and El Ghazi.
The general FPL rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution and avoid players from newly promoted teams when selecting your best XI. This can probably also apply to Trezeguet as he comes into the team as a new face.
But if push came to shove, there is sufficient evidence to suggests that he could cause a surprise or two as a differential pick.
It does seem as if Trezeguet’s presence could boost Aston Villa’s attacking credentials, the question remains whether he can perform consistently and for that, we need to see him play a few weeks of Premier League football first.
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