When it comes to football transfers, it’s not rocket science to draw a strong line of correlation between quality and transfer fee. The best signings this summer in real terms are likely to come from the likes of Haaland, Sterling, Richarlison, Darwin or Jesus.
For most of the Premier League though, these fantasy signings are simply out of reach and players need to be found with plenty of potential at a fraction of the cost.
Below I outline 5 of my favourite summer signings so far – ignoring the big 6 clubs –considering their relative value based on reported transfer fees and more importantly, their value in Draft FPL!
In our articles we may mention the Global Average rank. This is the average draft rank of every player based on all real life drafts. You can see this in the Draft Ranks Dashboard here, or see Mitch’s full draft ranking here
5. Diego Carlos [Sevilla to Aston Villa, £26m]
At 29 years old, Diego Carlos (with a name like that, was he ever not going to become a professional footballer?) is very much a ‘right now’ signing for Villa. Under Gerrard we’ve predominantly seen Villa set up with a back 4 – usually with centre-backs Mings and Konsa, but occasionally with Calum Chambers. Prior to his appointment, Smith had favoured a back 3 system, with Hause or Tuanzebe joining in. So what’s the problem here?
The problem is quite simple, none of the defenders I’ve just mentioned are very good.
Smith clearly recognised this and tried to fix this with the system. Gerrard recognised this and tried to fix it with the personnel. Despite the “good job” Gerrard has apparently done so far, Villa lost a LOT of games last year (19 – which is 2 more losses than relegated Burnely!) and shipped a lot of goals. Mings is the best of a bad bunch defensively but is not an ideal candidate if your team wants to keep the ball down and play football.
The only question mark which pre-season should help us answer is where exactly Carlos slots in. At Sevilla he was used to playing to the left of Koundé, but is very much right-footed, so in theory should be comfortable anywhere. Dropping Mings could be the bold decision that Gerrard has to make in order to make this team work, with Konsa and Diego Carlos potentially a much better unit that would complement the rest of the technically-gifted team (in my very, very humble opinion). Villa have 4 decent opening fixtures, so don’t expect Villa defenders to be waiting around very long on draft day!
Mitch’s DEF draft rank: 34th /80
4. Nick Pope [Burnley to Newcastle, £10m]
Not the most exciting transfer one of the richest clubs in world football could make, but it seems to be following an annoyingly sensible strategy from the Magpies. Pope joins the likes of Trippier, Targett and Burn as established, home-grown Premier League players who can complement their more exciting building-blocks (like Bruno Guimarães and new young centre-back Sven Botman).
With seemingly enough options in attack, the management team at Newcastle clearly felt Dubravka could be improved upon and decided to join the scavengers picking apart the carcass of Burnley FC. £10m is good business for somebody who can do the job right now and be a reliable number 1 for the next 5-6 years, at which point Newcastle may sit very differently in the footballing landscape.
In terms of FPL, Pope is a very safe pair of hands (ba dum tss) with a record 170-points in the 19/2 season and season totals of 152, 144 and 130 in the other seasons he’s featured. At Burnley he’s had lots of shots to stop, making 110+ saves every season, while at Newcastle we should expect this to reduce slightly. This means less save points and less bonus points as a result, but his clean-sheet potential should be higher now.
Mitch’s GK draft rank: 8th /32
3. Jesse Lingard [Man U to Notts Forest, Free]
Such is the disrespect put on Lingard’s name over the past 12 months that at the time of writing this (22/7/22), Lingard does not even appear in the player listings.
We saw what he was still capable of in his loan spell at West Ham towards the end of the 20/21 season where he scored 9 and assisted 5 in just 16 appearances. Reports are that Forest are paying him very generously, betting that Lingard can show some of that West Ham form for them this season.
It will be interesting to see how well he is still able to function in games when Forest will have their backs against the wall, which was not the case during his time at West Ham when the club were very much in the ascendancy at the time. He’s a flare player and any United fan will attest that he can very much “down tools” at times, but perhaps the challenge of helping to resurrect a sleeping giant and being the main man could see him become a talisman figure that pays off for managers in FPL.
Mitch’s MID draft rank: 33rd /80
2. Nathan Collins [Burnley to Wolves, £20.5m]
I really rate Nathan Collins and think Wolves have got an absolute bargain for the young centre-back. Following the departure of Romain Saïss he’s a great addition who can slot straight in and fill the spot for many years to come. I’m not usually in the business of making bold predictions, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Collins was at a big-6 club in around 3 years time, with Wolves making a decent profit on their investment. The fact Collins became Stoke’s youngest ever club captain at the age of 18 also tells you everything about his character.
In terms of draft FPL I think he’s certain to start the majority of games with Coady at the back, with Kilman or Boly filling the remaining spot (assuming Wolves continue to play with a back 3) and with the fixtures Wolves have in the opening 6 gameweeks he seems to good to not pick up on draft day.
Mitch’s DEF draft rank: 40th /80
1. Keane Lewis-Potter [Hull to Brentford, £16m]
A club-record fee for Brentford and my favourite signing of the summer transfer window so far. Last year Lewis-Potter was voted player of the season by the Hull supporters, his manager and his team mates in a season that saw him feature in all 46 league games, scoring 12 and assisting 3.
He can do a bit of everything, but really comes to life coming in off the left-hand side, tending to ghost behind opposing right-backs to get into shooting positions (which he has already displayed for his goal against Strasbourg in Brentford’s pre-season friendly recently – https://youtu.be/McAzckCQYUQ?t=144 ). He is deceptively quick, can use both feet and scores his fair share of headers too. He also maintains an old-fashioned winger’s prowess to take on a defender 1v1 and scored a couple of goals last season at the end of a determined dribble.
The most natural way to accommodate him would be to the left of a front 3, meaning Wissa would represent his main competition in the current squad composition. Wissa improved a lot last year, but I don’t seem him keeping the club-record signing off the pitch. Between the attacking 4 of Toney, Mbeumo, Wissa and Lewis-Potter, I’d expect one to miss out (unless there is marked tactical switch to a more standard 4-2-3-1 formation) and for me, that would probably be Wissa. If Toney were injured, a free-flowing attacking line of Wissa, Lewis-Potter and Mbeumo could also be an interesting option.
At the time of writing this, he is currently averaging a draft rank of 90 (across all 8-team leagues that have drafted so far) and considering the FPL ranks have him at 156, many players in the community are already aware of his potential.
Mitch’s MID draft rank: 34th /80
Who are the new players you’re excited to see for the mid/lower-table sides? If you think I’ve overlooked someone, let me know @draft_fc!