Here’s our new FPL player profiles article where we focus on new Southampton CB Mohamed Salisu and Liverpool LB Kostas Tsimikas and a bonus, if not quite within the articles usual scope of Willian to Arsenal. We look at their stats and assess their prospects for the new season.
New FPL player profiles – Salisu, Tsimikas and Willian
Even though Willian doesn’t strictly fall within the scope of the article he’s likely to be the player of most interest so I’ll start with him.
Willian Borges Da Silva to use his full name is a 32 year old 1.75 metre Brazilian International who plays primarily as a right sided attacking midfielder or winger . He has been transferred from Chelsea to Arsenal on a free transfer. He’s priced at £8.0m in FPL.
He’s played 234 times in the Premier League for 63 goals and 62 assists and 69 times for the Brazilian National team. With Chelsea Willian won 2 Premier League titles and the Europa League, and was voted the club’s players’ player of the year twice.
Here’s what Arteta had to say about him.
“I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us,”
“We had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions.”
“He is a player that gives us a lot of versatility – he can play in three or four different positions,” added Arteta.
“He has the experience of everything in the football world but still has the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs.
“I have been really impressed with all the talks I have had with him and how much he wanted to come.”
last 3 PL season stats with Chelsea
Positionally it will be hard to say where he will play for Arsenal. Last season in all competitions he played 32 times as an RW, 7 times as an LW and 6 times as a CAM. Over his entire senior career though the positional balance is much closer. 175 as an RW, 139 as a LW and 106 times as a CAM, so historically it’s not as clear as saying it’s him or Pepe for the RW position. Certainly Arteta’s words mean that he thinks he can play anywhere as an attacking midfielder or as a winger.
Arsenal seemed to play 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3 under Arteta. A couple of times 4-3-3
In a 4-2-3-1 a space for Willian would be fairly straightforward even if Aubameyang stayed as an LW. Willian could play CAM in that lineup or on the left if Aubameyang plays the CF. I’m assuming Pepe as the RW.
In 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 the situation becomes more complicated in the event that Aubameyang doesn’t move to CF. Arteta had the chance to move Aubameyang there when he dropped Lacazette but opted to keep him at LW and played Nketiah at CF. Now was that because he didn’t have anyone else to play LW? Surely Saka could have played that role? I think everyone assumes that Aubameyang will play CF now but under Arteta he never started a game in the PL as a CF but every game as a LW so there is still some evidence to be gathered for a new CF role.
4 of Willians 9 goals were from the penalty spot and that put a lot of gloss on his Points per match last season. Aubameyang I’m assuming will retain those penalty duties. Willian should have reasonable set piece responsibility but the loss of penalties will be a big blow to his returns. This season with penalties he was ranked 14th in my midfield player rankings season review. Without penalties he would have ranked 21st behind James Ward Prowse.
Now it could be with Arsenal he averages more minutes per game than the 74 he averaged with Chelsea but that is an unknown at this stage.
There’s also the comparison between the Arsenal attack and the Chelsea attack which is very different in potency which could also limit Willians returns. Chelsea scored 69 goals and were ranked 3rd in goals scored. Arsenal were ranked 7th in goals scored with 56. The xG position is even more stark. Chelsea were 2nd ranked with an xG of 76 whereas Arsenal were 9th ranked with an xG of 50. Bookies are a good way of making soccer predictions and there is a huge difference in odds between Chelsea and Arsenal winning the league.
So for me Willian seems too pricey at £8.0m considering he is likely to lose penalties and play in an inferior attacking team. The positional uncertainty doesn’t help the situation either.
Mohamed Salisu is a 21 year old 1.91 metre Ghanain who plays as a Centre Back . He has been transferred from Real Valladolid to Southampton for £10.9m. He’s priced at £4.5m in FPL. He has not played for the Ghana National Team.
Here’s what Hasenhüttl said about him
“This is an important signing for us, Mohammed is a player who fits our profile well,”
“He is young and has a great amount of potential, but he is also someone who has the qualities to come in and help the team as soon as he is up to speed with our way of playing.
“I like what I have seen of him so far in his games with Valladolid. He is strong defensively, he is calm with the ball – something that is important in our team – and he has good speed too. I think he will fit in well with us and that this will be a good place for him to develop his game further. We have some good centre-backs here and this will be another strong option for us.”
Stats and prospects
Here’s the stats from 1 full season in the La Liga for Real Valladolid
You have to look at this player in the context of the whole Southampton defence. Southampton have generally played 4-4-2 this season and the CBs have been Stephens and Bednarek with Vestergaard as the back up although confusingly that changed at the end of the season, although there was nothing to play for at that stage.
Personally £4.5m is the right price for a Southampton defender which rules out CB Stephens and LB Bertrand for me. The RB position is too uncertain at the moment. That means £4.5m Bednarek if he is first choice represents value.
Unless something drastic happens in the friendlies it’s difficult to see Salisu displacing both Bedanrek and Vestergaard to get a starting spot.
Kostas Tsimikas is a 24 year old 1.79 metre Greek International who plays as a Left Back . He has been transferred from Olympiakos to Liverpool for £11.8m. He’s priced at £5.0m in FPL. He has played 3 times for the Greek National Team.
Stats and Prospects
19/20 and 18/19 were for Olympiakos and the 17/18 stats for Willem in the Dutch League.
It’s hard to see Tsimikas as anything other than back up for Robertson. Robertson’s attacking stats were far superior with 2 goals and 12 assists last season at a rate of a goal or assist every 222 minutes. To be fair the full backs are a key part of the Liverpool attack but still given Robertson’s success Tsimakas is likely to be introduced slowly in the domestic leagues.