The new Key Strategy is out, it contains all the guidance and theory needed to navigate the Summer.
Thank you for the feedback on it which has been positive and really great. I have had a lot of good questions come in about how to use it in practice and I thought it would be worth writing an article to share this with everyone.
So let’s flesh things out a bit by going through how I would actually use it to find a suitable player.
And, just as importantly, which players I would avoid.
I am going to show my thought process when selecting players using Cornerstone 2 of the strategy. In Cornerstone 2, I set out the desirable qualities we are looking for in the players we buy going forward like so:
- Essential: Performance Suitability
- Essential: Match site trends for age/playing position
- Essential: Value price
- Highly Desirable: CL/EL involvement or Euro 2020 involvement, ideally both.
- Desirable: Positive transfer speculation (ONLY if the price remains reasonable).
A bit of pre-research
Before I start, I need to do a bit of legwork to list the big Euro 2020 sides and the teams that have secured or may secure CL or EL football for next season.
The Big Euro 2020 Sides
Later on people will get interested in even the obscure teams but we are shopping early before most people are even thinking about this. So let’s focus on the big teams:
Big 5 European Teams
Others of interest:
CL and Europa Qualifiers
Then, we take a look to see which teams have secured Champions League or Europa League football.
- Man. City
- Tottenham (pretty much)
- Bayern Munich
- RB Leipzig
- Atletico Madrid
- Real Madrid
* Teams with a star below are undecided, they may make the CL or may drop out of Europe altogether in the final games.
- Man. United
- St Etienne*
Now we have the teams we want to pick from, we can start thinking about players.
As mentioned in the Key Strategy article, our very first selections do not need to be too clever. Rather, we are going for relatively obvious players who are now undervalued because they are mainly performance based and the season is ending.
Later on, we will find some less well known targets but right now very strong and well known players are available for a bargain because the season is ending and they have no transfer speculation.
They should be our first call because the better known they are, the earlier people will buy them as we approach the new season.
You can do this anyway round you want but I have decided to start to look through the roster of big CL or EL teams and then cross reference them to recent big Euro 2020 team sheets.
I am looking for players who play for a big Euro 2020 team who also have CL or at least EL football. I have a professional scouting tool to help me with this but you can find all of this freely on whoscored.com or similar.
When I find a match, I then check the other criteria.
I check the site player ratings to find the strong performance players and I want at least or higher, maybe for a high goal scoring striker if they are high profile.
I check the predicted trends for July in the Key Strategy article section to make sure the player fits the right age/playing position.
I check whether they have a live transfer rumour or not. Most of the time, I am happy if they don’t have one at this point. If they do, the price will likely be inflated and they are at high risk of a drop once the transfer happens or falls away. If and only if the price is still reasonable and they have not got attention for some reason, I will consider the transfer speculation a positive bonus. But mostly, I will now consider transfer speculation to be a risk.
Finally, I check the price vs the site Guide Prices. Price. Is. Everything. No matter how strong a fit the player is, if there is no room for the price to grow because it is over inflated by hype or a live transfer rumour, I walk away without a second thought.
This way, not only do you give yourself the maximum opportunity to profit, you minimise your risk of taking big losses and steps backwards. I think the main reason I do better than most is that I rarely lose money even when Twitter is full of complaints about a down turn. It is avoidable and it often is in our hands.
A quick note on "tipping"
A few people have asked if I will just pick the players but I do not think “tipping” really works on FI in my view. It just creates stampedes and the only people who benefit are the tipster and the few people who see the tip first.
Even the tipsters “inner circle” are going to get mugged off eventually by being encouraged to hold on to over priced players.
So, as you can hopefully see above, the members area provides all of the information required to help members come to their own decision in a well informed way whilst I take care of a lot of the legwork as the scout/analyst and provide the strategy guidance for those who want it.
I think this works a lot better because members go for a wide range of targets that fit an overall strategy and their personal preferences.
And, from my interactions most people who join this site are smart people who like to make the final decisions themselves anyway, they might just not have as much time as I can give because I do this pretty much full time now.
So let’s apply all this to some players and show my thought process. I’ll use Chelsea as an example and pick out some targets that match some of our criteria, showing which I’d be positive on and which I’d avoid.
I like a Spreadsheet for this provided they are really simple. You don’t need to over complicate it. You don’t even need a spreadsheet, you can just go through the check list in your head. I just use the sheet because it makes sure I don’t miss a step.
Here’s a really simple example I knocked up yesterday when researching for this article (yesterday’s prices).
Hazard is a great fit for almost everything except he is currently at a high price and is carrying a transfer risk.
Even though he could get a media spree, I am wary of players leaving the EPL because traders can exit from them quickly.
This is a player I would have held in the last media Key Strategy but would have been in my sell queue a week or two ago.
Instead, I have what I call a “negative transfer” strategy. I’ll be watching and if he does dive significantly over the Summer I might fancy him then.
Pulisic is a good fit for age and playing position, and he has shown decent performance suitability recently.
But, there is no Euro involvement and he is already at a fairly high price, with an odd situation where he has a transfer but it is already sewn up. That’s hard to predict so whilst the price stays as it is, I’m out.
On the face of it Jorginho is not a bad fit at all and the price is reasonable. But, he’s not a player the market tends to get excited about because of his lack of goals.
I *might* look at him again in a couple of months but I see no reason to rush to buy a B list player.
One of the better FI defenders and he has shown his quality recently.
Has a chance of starting for Spain and CL involvement. Has shown his performance quality recently and is at a bargain price.
That would be a yes but there is no rush to buy now, but he would be a strong contender for my portfolio in pre-season if he looks like starting for Chelsea again.
Aging, with no Euro involvement. And uncertainty about club next season. Hard pass but actually given the price he might not be a bad early season IPD punt.
Ok now we are getting somewhere.
English with a decent chance of playing at the Euros. Performance suitable. CL involvement and tends to play in Europe. Transfer ban may help his pitch time.
Good performance player when on the pitch. Some risk over pitch time. Bargain price. Easy yes.
I have been warning for months about this price overheating and it fell over in spectacular fashion from £5 down to a low of £3.18. It has come back a bit now to £3.85.
People can blame injury and that is unlucky but no. If you hold onto over hyped players at too high a price you have failed to manage risk and it is your own fault.
This is why Cornerstone 1 of the strategy where we offload any old strategy players who have reached a high price is critical.
At £3.85 he is still way overpriced and still carries a risk of further drops should any misfortune strike or the wrong transfer happen.
Rotation will also continue to be a problem and more than likely any England involvement will be from the bench.
There is still a chance that for next season he gets hyped up again of course. But everything comes down to price. If all goes extremely well and he reaches a Sancho price you might get a 40% increase.
Equally likely, something does not go well or the pumpers decide to tell their crowd to switch targets and you lose 20-30% or more.
It’s just not worth it when you can get a £1 player to £2 much more easily for a 100% profit with less risk.
Simply put, the only way you would get me into this trade at this price is if you put a shotgun in my mouth.
Ok that’s a joke. But in seriousness it would require a dip towards £2.75 at least to get me interested.
Very strong fit for almost all of our criteria.
After I’d finished the Key Strategy and I had a clear idea of my direction in my head, I picked him up about 5 days ago at £1.72 and have been fortunate to catch this value spike to £2.19 almost immediately.
At the £1.70 mark this was a very easy yes in the new strategy.
At £2.19 it gets more borderline. He is a full 40p above on trend site guide prices for a midfielder. If a lot goes right for him with Chelsea and England he could prove worth that given the strong fit with all our criteria.
He is not so over priced as to be a hard no but the shine has been taken off and I would be a bit worried about a drop.
On balance if buying now, I would probably wait and see if people got bored and sold after the EL final.
Hopefully that gives members further insight into how I use the Key Strategy in practice.
If there are any questions, feel free to use the Contact FIT button below and I’m happy to answer them!