Chelsea lead the way with big-money new additions
In our fourth guide to the fantasy football season ahead, we analyse the transfer window so far and try to assess how recent arrivals to the Premier League, and a few familiar faces that have switched allegiances, are likely to fare at their new clubs.
Starting in West London, where Chelsea have already been busy securing the biggest transfer of the summer so far with the acquisition of Lille sensation Eden Hazard, for a reported £32million.
The Belgian striker scored 20 goals and registered 15 assists for the French side last season, meaning he directly contributed to almost half of his Lille’s 72 league goals.
While he may find it hard to replicate those tallies in the Premier League, Hazard is sure to have some superb support from exciting youngsters Oscar and Marko Marin.
Aged 20 and 23 respectively they are already fully-fledged internationals for Brazil and Germany, and come with reputations for flair and a devilish eye for a final ball.
Staying in the west of the capital, Queens Park Rangers have also been highly active in the past few months.
They have secured Ji-Sung Park from Manchester United for £2m, which looks like a smart piece of business, he brings some much-needed stability and work rate to a side that looked susceptible to collapse at times last season.
David Hoilett also looks likely to be a shrewd buy, he was one of very few shining lights for Blackburn last year, notching up 33 fantasy football points in 34 games.
Fulham, meanwhile, have picked up the strike duo Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega on free transfers, which could see spectacular returns.
Their introduction was forced, however, by the exit of Russian forward Pavel Pogrebnyak to Reading.
The Royals will relish the addition of Pogrebnyak to their growing squad after he made an impressive impact at Craven Cottage last season, scoring 18 fantasy football points in just 11 appearances since January.
Elsewhere, West Ham have recruited a physical presence up front themselves.
Sam Allardyce secured Modibo Maiga from Sochaux for around £5m, which is a decent investment for a man who scored nearly one every two games for the French side.
With all the noise around Robin van Persie’s exit from Arsenal, it’s hardly surprising that Arsene Wenger’s focus this summer has been up front, too.
Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski are certainly exciting acquisitions and should provide a slightly more balanced attacking threat for the North Londoners than last season.
Looking further north, where Liverpool are themselves undergoing somewhat of a striking dilemma.
With Andy Carroll’s future looking increasingly likely to play out elsewhere, the addition of Fabio Borini could be vital for Brendan Rodgers and his men.
The young Italian is widely tipped for great things by the press back home, while his £10m price tag hints at his potential.
Both Manchester clubs have been surprisingly quiet so far, though don’t expect this to last.
While City have yet to reach into their pockets at all, United have brought in Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa and Crewe youngster Nick Powell.
Kagawa, in particular, is expected to see a healthy dose of first team football next season.
The 23-year-old Japanese international scored his first goal for the club in a pre-season friendly and is being tipped by boss Sir Alex Ferguson to impress a lot of people with his speed, industry and eye for goal.
Of the newly promoted sides, Southampton have made the largest purchase, picking up Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez for around £7m.
It’s Reading, though, who have been the busiest of the three clubs.
Chris Gunter and Adrian Mariappa will both help reinforce a defence that was already by far the most watertight in the Championship last year.
The biggest money buy when it comes to defenders, however, has been Tottenham’s acquisition of Jan Vertonghen.
The Belgian defender cost £10m but is expected to shore up the back four at White Hart Lane.