In the previous article we set out our ABC guide to long term FPL transfers. We’re looking for assets performing at an elite level and matching or exceeding the following criteria:
In any given six gameweek period elite transfer candidates are those who:
A) Get Returns (5+ FPL points) in at least three of the six gameweeks
B) Get a Haul (10+ FPL points) in at least one of the six gameweeks
C) Play at least 76% of the available minutes
We also noted that B) is a nice-to-have for defenders and goalkeepers rather than an essential and that midfielders get the nod over strikers all things being equal.
It will not have escaped keen-eyed readers that our preferred performance window is six gameweeks and so far in FPL we’ve only had four (and for a few teams only three). Judging the long term merits of a player in FPL after four gameweeks is a bit like pinpointing where a golfer’s tee shot is going to land before they’ve finished their follow-through. You can get a rough idea of trajectory and distance, but it might go straight into a bunker, arrive on the green or strike a spectator while leaving the field of play (thereby incurring a one stroke penalty, a restorative chat with the victim and some unexpected media remarks about the relationship between fishing vessels and Brighton and Hove Albion).
Nevertheless, some players have already satisfied the above criteria and, providing they don’t miss the next two matches completely, we will be talking about them again when we present our first fully-fledged transfer bulletin after gameweek six. Menwhile, here’s our preliminary findings:
They’re So Very SpecialEmbed from Getty Images
One player has left the traps with such gusto that he has already overtaken the electric hare and is eyeing up the possibility of entering the Grand National. We speak, of course, of Mr Dominic Calvert-Lewin, proud possessor of an 8, 17, 6, 6 record. Oh, and a couple of international caps and a goal or something. Anyway, we drafted him into our own FPL squad once he’d ticked all the ABC boxes after gameweek 3 and we’d finally decided which of Timo Werner, Michail Antonio and Che Adams was the most harrowing to own (Antonio on the night, but frankly the other two were lucky they’d done well in the technical). I mean, yes, he’s significantly outperformed his established stats and nobody keeps up this pace forever, but everything about the way Everton have started the season suggests it would be wise, especially at his price, to have DCL around unless and until gravity asserts itself decisively.
Every other player has had at least one blip. Some, of course, have got Hauls of 20+, but that doesn’t mean much to us in isolation. Reece James started the season with a 14 pointer but has since offered 1, 1 and a benching (served on a jus of bracingly minted verbals). We crave consistency and several attacking players are rising to the challenge. Harry Kane‘s last three have been 21, 5, 16 and Mo Salah (20, 3, 5, 13) is reminding us that he can definitely do it on a stormy night in the Midlands even as the house blows down around him.Embed from Getty Images
Three other strikers have also passed the six gameweek test: Neil Maupay (2, 16, 8, 6) looks ready to take it to the next level, and Callum Wilson (8, 2, 8, 16) is revisiting his better Bournemouth days, though Patrick Bamford (7, 14, 8, 1) gives us some cause for concern not through any fault of his own but simply because Spanish international record signing Rodrigo is beginning to find his feet and that might lead to more of a timeshare approach going forward. To this roll call of the already elite we’re going to add Aston Villa and England defender Tyrone Mings. His three outings so far have produced two Hauls (10, 12, 1) and that is so rare for non-attackers it’s worthy of special attention. If he only gets two more that would still put him level with Cezar Azpilicueta’s four from last season and only two current FPL defenders managed more: Matt Doherty (6) and Trent-Alexander Arnold (8).
We Wish They Were Special
A trio of other FPL assets also have three Returns (5+ points) so far. Their Haul may be just around the corner, but for now they’re in a group of potential leading lights along with a cavalry charge of others who have the Haul, and maybe even a spare, but only the two Returns (all Hauls are, to be clear, also Returns). Those already satisfying criterion A) are Alexandre Lacazette up front (7, 7, 7, 0) and midfielders Leandro Trossard (8, 6, 1, 5) and Andros Townsend (8, 9, 5, 2). Then there’s the cluster with a pair of Hauls including Match of the Day marvels Jamie Vardy (13, 2, 17, 2), Heung-Min Son (2, 24, 1, 18) and James Rodriguez (3, 12, 2, 18) rubbing shoulders with the more unexpected Jorginho (12, 0, 0, 15 – “I take penalties, me”) and John ‘We Told You You’d Be Shocked’* McGinn (2, 10, 10). Kevin De Bruyne (“Where he?” – Ed) was last year’s Haulmeister with 10, so anybody with two under their belt already is either destined for greatness or an unpleasant rendezvous with mediocrity, depending on your degree of faith in their situation.
* See postscript to the previous “Setting Out The Stall” article.Embed from Getty Images
Do They Belong Here?
I must step to one side briefly now as the Post Horn Gallop heralds the arrival of a posse of attacking contenders brandishing a Haul and two Returns (and pursued, I’d swear, by a greyhound wearing an Everton shirt) so numerous that, just like the school register, we’re going to list them only by surname. Or their preferred one, as in….
Richarlison, Ings, Grealish, Zaha, Costa, Mané, Fernandes (major), Pereira (new boy – must make a note), Bowen and Fornals.
There’s quite a few defenders riding spiritedly alongside them, too, and even… *checks notes*… a goalkeeper… and seeing as they’re the first rearguard element to turn up here since Mings rode past bearing the standard we should examine them a little more carefully. First off there’s Tyrone’s Teammates Ezri Konsa and Emiliano Martinez and another duo in claret and blue, Arthur ‘Playing A Bit Further Forward’ Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell. Last season’s leading returner Andy Roberton shows up here as well alongside a neatly refurbished Hector Bellerin, Romain Saiss looking nervously over his shoulder, a swashbuckling Timothy Castagne, Kurt ‘How Come I’m The Only Chelsea Player Here’ Zouma and Lucas Digne carrying a lance in hopes of dislodging the ball from Rodriguez’s grasp the next time the whistle goes for a free kick on the edge of the box.
There’s a short distance then to a band of jolly minstrels known locally as the Alternative Keeper Quartet featuring Alex McCarthy (guitar), Rui Patricio (bass), Fabianski (vocals) and Karl Darlow (drums).
And, as the racing commentator once said, “You’d need a telescope to see the rest!”. Although some of them might catch up by our next roundup, possibly even TAA himself, last seen remounting his trusty steed “Thunderswerve” following an unfortunate incident at a (minus) point-to-point meeting. Find out in a fortnight…