The January transfer window closed for Premier League clubs on Monday evening and the late developments could potentially affect the Fantasy landscape – although it’s fair to say that it was a very quiet day (and month) in terms of significant comings and goings.
Cutting through the sourceless speculation and wearisome banter about Lionel Messi in small-town chip shops, we have summarised the confirmed deals that could present Fantasy bosses with new targets or have an impact on existing assets.
Any prices given in brackets are the players’ Fantasy Premier League cost, rather than their actual transfer fees.
BEN DAVIES/OZAN KABAK
(Preston North End/Schalke 04 to Liverpool)
Liverpool’s injury crisis in defence has prompted the Reds to make a move for two centre-halves on transfer deadline day.
A loan deal for Ozan Kabak was confirmed late in the day, with the red half of Merseyside having earlier announced the capture of Preston North End’s Ben Davies.
Kabak is a full Turkish international who makes a temporary move from Schalke, who have in turn signed Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi (£5.0m).
Six goals in 55 Bundesliga appearances for Kabak’s parent club and former employers Stuttgart was a reasonable return for a centre-half, although only 11 attempts on goal in 26 top-flight appearances last season was on the modest side.
A dozen efforts in 14 games this campaign is a significant improvement and one of the best totals among Bundesliga centre-backs, although he is goalless in 2020/21.
Jurgen Klopp said of the Turk:
He came very young to Germany and everybody was clear he was a massive talent. He is only 20 now. He plays in his second club [in Germany]; he is at Schalke and unfortunately, they are in a bad position in the moment.
For him, I think it’s a really good moment to make the move because, like each player in the world, you need a stable team around you and that’s what we can deliver. We deliver a stable team and you can play your position, you don’t have to be 20 with pretty much everything on the pitch and not allowed to make mistakes anymore.
He’s really a big, big talent and we are really looking forward to working with him.
Hardly one for the future at the age of 25, Davies was out of contract with Preston at the end of the season and has been purchased for a cut-price £2m.
It’s an unexpected swoop and one that even Klopp admitted probably wouldn’t have happened had the reigning champions not been so badly hit by injury:
I think it’s probably clear that in a normal transfer window, without any issues, we would not look at Preston if there’s a player for us or something like that. It’s not really likely. But since we saw him and since our situation got clearer and clearer – the problems we had – when we saw him we got really excited about it and thought, ‘Wow.’
We see the potential really. We see the quality and we see the potential as well because he’s 25 and there’s a lot to come for him. I love a lot about his play. He’s a really good footballer, looks like a proper leader in this Preston team, good in challenges, looks football smart, can play different positions because he played in a back three and a back four and all these things.
We could have asked and he said, ‘I’d prefer to stay at Preston or go somewhere else where I play 40-odd games per season.’ So this is a challenge but it’s an opportunity – a big, big opportunity. I see it exactly like that.
How much game-time the left-sided Davies sees is another question, with BBC pundit, and former Preston and Liverpool defender, Mark Lawrenson claiming the new recruit would even be behind Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams in the pecking order.
(Liverpool to Southampton)
On the FPL radar for the second half of the season is Takumi Minamino (£6.0m), who has joined Southampton on loan from Liverpool for the rest of 2020/21.
The Japan international hasn’t had much of a look-in at Anfield, barely scraping 500 minutes of Premier League football in his 12 months on Merseyside.
His sole attacking return came in the Reds’ 7-0 win over Crystal Palace in December and he hasn’t made Jurgen Klopp’s line-up since.
Able to play in a number of different attacking positions, Minamino’s versatility adds to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s options in the two ‘number ten’ positions and up top.
An ‘out of position’ role in attack alongside Danny Ings (£8.4m) would be a Fantasy manager’s dream and is a distinct possibility, with Che Adams (£5.9m) off the boil of late, Shane Long (£5.1m) departing the club on loan and Michael Obafemi (£4.6m) sidelined through injury.
Minamino also adds to the possible competition for Nathan Redmond (£6.4m), Moussa Djenepo (£5.4m) and Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) further back, with Theo Walcott (£5.8m) potentially sidelined for some time.
Hasenhuttl said of his new signing:
I am very pleased to welcome Takumi to our squad for the rest of this season. He will help provide another good attacking option and is importantly the right profile of player for us.
This will give us some additional depth in our squad at an important time, and I am looking forward to beginning work with him on the training pitch.
(Bournemouth to Everton)
A cult Fantasy favourite has returned to the Premier League after six months away to provide back-up, competition and/or support to Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) in the Everton attack.
Joshua King has joined Carlo Ancelotti’s side until the end of the season, with the Toffees forking out a nominal fee for his services.
Perhaps still dining out on that fondly remembered, 16-goal campaign in 2016/17, King nevertheless scored on at least six occasions in all five of his seasons with Bournemouth in the English top flight.
The Norwegian registered double figures for goals again in 2018/19, although doesn’t arrive on Merseyside in good shape: he hasn’t found the back of the net once in the Championship in a stop-start season, with only five of his 12 appearances coming from the start.
Cenk Tosun (£6.0m) has moved to Besiktas on loan, meanwhile, while Jonjoe Kenny (£4.3m) and Anthony Gordon (£4.3m) have also left Goodison Park on a temporary basis.
(Arsenal to Newcastle United)
One of a number of players to leave the Emirates on deadline day either on a temporary or permanent basis, Joe Willock (£4.7m) has joined Newcastle United on loan until the end of 2020/21.
Available at a price in FPL usually reserved for bit-part players and midfield spoilers, Willock is perhaps one to monitor in the budget bracket given that he chips in with the odd goal or two from the middle of the park.
One goal in 40 Premier League appearances for the Gunners is hardly a ringing endorsement of his credentials but only 12 of those run-outs came from the start.
Instead, we look to his achievements in the cup competitions for a bit of hope: in four Europa League starts this season he contributed three goals and as many assists, although the opposition did comprise of minnows Dundalk and Molde.
Steve Bruce said of his new signing, who can operate in a deeper midfield role or further forward as a number 10:
I’m delighted to bring Joe to Newcastle until the end of the season. He is a very exciting and talented young player who can get up and down the pitch and can score a goal from midfield.
He has made a very decent impact at Arsenal after coming through the ranks and to make nearly 80 appearances for the club by the age of 21 says much about his development, ability and character.
He is very keen to come here and test himself and he’ll be a great addition to the squad.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Having already recruited Robert Snodgrass (£5.6m) and Mbaye Diagne (£6.0m) to bolster his attacking options, Sam Allardyce has moved to shore up his backline with the capture of Okay Yokuslu.
The fact that the Turkish international is a defensive midfielder should immediately cool whatever limited interest there was from a Fantasy perspective, although underwhelmed owners of Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) will be hoping the new arrival can at least help stem the flow of goal concessions.
Sam Allardyce said of Yokuslu:
He’s the sort of player I have looked for at many clubs in this position, particularly at Sunderland and Crystal Palace. I signed Jan Kirchhoff from Bayern Munich at Sunderland and Luka Milivojević from Olympiakos at Crystal Palace. He’s that type of player.
The one who can protect the back four, can be the best passer to create openings in attack and hopefully, if he can settle as quickly as the two players I have just mentioned, then it will definitely help us to not concede as many goals.
It will also make us more creative by his passing quality that we have looked for and searched for through the last four weeks.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (£4.6m) has also joined the Baggies on a loan deal until the end of 2020/21.
Listed as a defender by FPL, the versatile Arsenal man could well be deployed ‘out of position’ by Sam Allardyce in the middle of the park – although one solitary Premier League goal in his entire career underscores his limitations as a Fantasy asset.
Brighton and Hove Albion have made a move for a player the South American football correspondent Tim Vickery described as “a box-to-box midfielder”, signing highly rated Ecuadorian Moises Caicedo.
Graham Potter confirmed on Monday that the teenager wouldn’t be loaned straight back out but there nevertheless may well be a gradual introduction to English football for the youngster, with his new manager saying:
He will need time to settle in with the group, for us to get to know him and vice versa, as well as get up to speed and ready for the demands of the Premier League.
He has done very well in Ecuador and made his debut for his country just 18. He’s an exciting signing, but it is important we give him time to adjust.
Newcastle’s quota of bona fide right-backs has been cut from three to two, with DeAndre Yedlin (£4.3m) – who had briefly been a regular for the Magpies over Christmas – departing for Galatasaray on a permanent deal.
Budget FPL defenders Javier Manquillo (£4.2m), who started in Gameweek 21, and Emil Krafth (£4.2m) will be left to tussle for the problem position on the right-hand side of the Newcastle defence.
Gedson Fernandes’ (£4.7m) loan deal at Tottenham Hotspur has now ended, with the midfielder returning to parent club Benfica, while Paolo Gazzaniga (£4.3m) is also destined for Iberia until the end of 2020/21.
Yan Valery (£4.7m) has followed fellow back-up full-back Jake Vokins (£3.9m) out of the door at Southampton, with Aboubakar Kamara (£4.8m), Neeskens Kebano (£4.7m) and Maxime Le Marchand (£4.1m) temporarily exiting Fulham.
The Cottagers have signed former Sunderland striker Josh Maja on a loan deal from Bordeaux.
Nine goals in 45 Ligue I appearances suggests the jury remains out on the 22-year-old Nigeria international as a Fantasy asset, although less than half of those run-outs came from the start.
He is perhaps best known for his exploits on the field and on the small screen at Sunderland, where he scored 15 goals in 24 League One appearances in 2018/19.
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