Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – FPL Prospects from the January Transfer Window


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Here’s FFGeek contributor Paul Williams with his bi-weekly ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series. This week, Paul turns his attention to three players of interest who changed clubs during the January transfer window. Paul is one of the Top 10 FPL Managers I follow and finished with an overall rank of 412 last season, 1,382 in 16/17 and 7,164 in 15/16.

Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – FPL Prospects from the January Transfer Window

You can read more from Paul in his ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series on his Facebook blog using this link.



Introduction

I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to sit down and write this article as I watch weeks of small green arrows go up in flames during this Gameweek – and the pain isn’t necessarily over yet!

However, I am going to draw attention to three players who arrived during the January transfer window that could be of interest between now and the end of the season.

Gonzalo Higuain – 9.5m

In a relatively quiet transfer window, arguably the biggest signing by any club was Chelsea’s move for the Argentinian international. Off the back of two goals, maximum bonus and a double-digit haul in only his second game, over 70,000 FPL managers have already made the decision to bring him in – a rash decision in my opinion.

Chelsea’s fixtures (Man City away followed by a blank) give us an ideal opportunity to take a backward step and assess whether his return against Huddersfield (the team cut adrift at the bottom of the league!) was a sign of things to come or an exception.

To be honest, I think the price given to him (9.5m) is more than fair. However, at thirty-one, he’s not going to improve and he is perhaps a player on the decline – Milan (and Juventus) were not fighting to keep him. Nevertheless, by far the best season of his career was when he linked up with Sarri at Napoli. Perhaps, under the cigarette chewing Italian, Higuain can hit former heights again.

What I’m just as interested in though is the impact he has on the other players around him. Prior to the Huddersfield game, Eden Hazard’s form had dipped alarmingly; he appeared largely disinterested. Will the arrival of an out and out striker, who Sarri is clearly a big fan of, reignite Chelsea’s star man? If it does, Hazard ownership will surely skyrocket.



Michy Batshuayi – 6.5m

The next player I’ve chosen to focus on has never really been given a chance at Chelsea despite costing them nearly forty million in 2016. After a successful loan spell at Borussia Dortmund followed by a disappointing loan at Valencia, the Belgium international finds himself on the books of Crystal Palace until the end of the season.

Batshuayi is still only twenty-five and hasn’t really been given an opportunity in the PL yet. I think Palace have all the ingredients of a good side (as strong as any outside of the top-six) and if Roy Hodgson chooses to be bold by fielding Zaha and Townsend on the wings, then Batshuayi could form a deadly partnership with his Belgium teammate, Christian Benteke.

I have to say that I have quite a bit of sympathy for Benteke. He hasn’t been able to buy a goal for a while now. Obviously, he’s had a drastic downturn in form – but from what I’ve seen he’s also been the subject of bad luck too. For example, his recent overhead kick against Fulham that rattled the bar would have been an absolute worldie!

If Batshuayi and Benteke, supplemented by Zaha and Townsend, click, then Palace should be a team to keep a close eye on between now and the end of the season.

Oumar Niasse – 5.0m

The last player I am going to look at is Oumar Niasse who Cardiff have taken on loan from Everton. If you look back at Niasse’s Premier League history, it’s not too bad. In just over 2000 minutes, he has 12 goals and 4 assists.

He has started the last three games: a 3-0 loss against Newcastle, a 2-1 loss against Arsenal and a 2-0 win against Bournemouth. Niasse’s minutes on the pitch, as he builds up his match fitness, have gradually increased – which has, in turn, coincided with Cardiff’s improved results and performances.

He clearly isn’t going to be handed a deluge of chances playing for Cardiff, but it’s surely only a matter of time before he opens his scoring account and at 5.0m, he is an enabler for managers with a heavy midfield or those that need to remove Danny Ings.

Conclusion

Although I have chosen to highlight the above three players, in a relatively quiet transfer window, other players that have changed clubs or joined the PL include: Suarez 6.5m, Almiron 6.0m, Nasri 5.4m, Solanke 4.7m, Crouch 4.5m, Clyne 4.4m and Puncheon 4.2m. Not much to get the pulse racing with the possible exception of maybe Suarez at Arsenal and Almiron at Newcastle.

You can read more from Paul in his ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series on his Facebook blog using this link.

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