With only a few days left until the start of the new Premier League season, Goal takes a look at the players who could pack a lot more punch than their pricetag suggests
In the Goal Fantasy Football game, finding and picking undervalued players, bargains that may have been overlooked by others in favour of more flashy alternatives, can often be decisive. There are not many to be found amongst goalkeepers, with just 2.5 separating the most expensive shot-stopper from the cheapest, with the biggest bargains to be found amongst outfield players.
Tottenham’s Danny Rose (4.0) spent last season on loan at Sunderland, and returns to White Hart Lane as the probable starting left-back. Andre Villas-Boas appears to have little faith in Benoit Assou-Ekotto, which gives Rose, who showed his attacking intent by winning a penalty against Espanyol on Saturday, a chance to impress. Part of a better defensive unit now, and with more offensive weapons to link with, the 23-year-old could have a big year.
In previous seasons Rose might have been listed as a midfielder, much like Everton’s Seamus Coleman (4.5). The Republic of Ireland international has claimed the right-back berth at Goodison Park now, and last term made more assists per minute than team-mate Leighton Baines. The Toffees’ mean defence should see Coleman pick up plenty of clean sheets and if he is given license to bomb forward (which is extremely likely if Roberto Martinez plays a 3-4-3 formation) he could be a must-have purchase.
Cardiff midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung (4.5) is another player who could be a shrewd pick-up; the 23-year-old may have only scored twice in the Championship last year, but has been on fire in pre-season since being pushed forward into a more advanced role. Kim has three goals in five games and has linked well with Frazier Campbell ahead of him, assisting all of the forward’s goals this summer.
Staying in Wales, Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey (5.5) has impressed since moving to the Liberty Stadium. The 21-year-old can expect a more prominent role under Michael Laudrup than was given to him at Liverpool, and his four goals in six Europa League group games last term highlights his raw goalscoring potential.
Another player to leave Anfield this summer, Stewart Downing (5.0), could be set for a revival following his move to West Ham. A partnership with Andy Carroll may prove to be hugely profitable, especially with the style of football Sam Allardyce employs. If he can re-find the form he showed at Aston Villa, where he scored or assisted 14 goals in the 2010-11 season, he could be worth a whole lot more than his price suggests.
A current Liverpool midfielder, Philippe Coutinho (8.0), might just be the pick of this year’s midfielders. With Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla’s returns staggered following their involvement in the Confederations Cup, Theo Walcott carrying a niggle and Gareth Bale in limbo, the stage is set for Coutinho to shine and challenge to become the highest-scoring midfielder in this year’s game. The Brazilian scored or assisted every 92 minutes last term and has been in great form in pre-season.
In attack, Romelu Lukaku (7.5) appears to have impressed enough in pre-season to earn a starting place for Chelsea, having bagged five goals over the summer. He would be the cheapest lead striker out of any of the top six clubs, and starts with a double gameweek. So too does Villa’s Andreas Weimann (5.5), a smart pick-up for those in need of a cheap addition to their attacking ranks.
Having been labelled as Manchester City’s “main striker” by Manuel Pellgrini, Edin Dzeko (7.5) cannot be overlooked. He was top scorer for the Premier League runners-up in a support role last term and could thrive as first-choice forward. Nicolas Anelka (5.5), a former City player, has been in sensational form in pre-season, scoring seven goals in as many games, and should not be ignored either.
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