If like me you have spent the last 6 weeks or so preparing for a surge towards performance players in the last half of June as people tried to clear their bonus requirements, you have probably been doing really well for the last two weeks. And especially well in recent days.

Hell, if you picked players from the BBC Gossip column each morning or just dispensed with thinking altogether and just threw darts blindfolded at the top 200, you might not quite have the same results but you’ll have done pretty well too.

That’s amazing and we should enjoy it. However, when the market is rising like this and it starts to feel like it is impossible to lose, this is when traders are at their most complacent and vulnerable. 

For the weekend, I’d expect the pump to continue as traders try to maximise bonuses. But come July, there are good reasons to believe that a significant chunk of money could come out. And, with so many players rising fairly evenly, it is hard to tell which players may be in line for a drop.

There is a chance it may not happen. Optimism could beat nervousness and I don’t expect any jitter to last for long. However, pretending it won’t happen is lazy and foolish. Managing your risk by making sure you are not holding over priced players too long is the key when uncertainty is ahead.

With prices rising based on pure expectation and no football to prove anyone wrong, the danger throughout July is that traders are going to be entering the season with players who are highly priced based on historic performances or pure speculation. 

But, a small change (tactical or positional for example) can make or break a performance player so we should absolutely not assume that good historic scores are going to actually bring success come the new season. And there will be plenty of players who under performed last campaign who will come good.

For members, I’ll be spending a lot of time in July/August sorting the overpriced from the value with detailed analysis of pre-season and all the opening games in my Members Scouting section. (None members can click here for a preview).

Buying all the players people will expect to do well based on historic scoring was the right call weeks/months ago. It’s not always the case now although there is still value in some players.

As we get into July and early August, I’ll want to be taking profits on highly priced players who I think look set to decline, and load up on the improving/emerging players that could breakout next season. That will take dozens and dozens of hours of scouting and analysis but it should pay off.


Wilfried Zaha

Zaha is a player I have covered fairly frequently on the site in the last year. I’ve always thought he could do well as a performance player if at a bigger club than Palace. 

He could also be set to benefit if some potential changes to the performance scoring are realised, like dribbles. Members can see my full list of those who could benefit here

Arsenal are a step up where he could realistically contend for some dividends although they are not, historically at least, the best performance platform. It would likely boost his media profile though. So all in all, it’s a good move for him.

Is it likely though? He seems to want to go but Arsenal are going to struggle to come up with the cash unless they sell some players first. I’ve got to say 50/50 at best.

The main issue with this trade is now the price. It’s too high to give realistic value if just settled at Arsenal and performing decently. So, it’s clearly a transfer/media pump trade that you would likely need to be out of fairly quickly after the hype dies down. 

Certainly, being left holding him at this price if he stays at Palace would be a big downer.

When the dust settles, we can see where the price lands and look again. But I suspect he is so well known there won’t be much value by now even in the best circumstances.


Bruno Fernandes

It’s tricky to call a reasonable value for Fernandes.

His performances for Sporting make me think he is the real deal as a performance player. I’ve been going on about him on this site long enough, for a well over a year when he was cheap as chips and not many were interested.

As one of the breakout players of last season, people are certainly interested now.

But how much is hype, and how much is real value? He’s certainly got the attributes to make a splash in the EPL if he starts well for Manchester United. Always the risk that a new player struggles of course.

If it goes well, that could bring in consistent media, and his style is extremely performance suitable. If Manchester United do not change his game too much that could well continue.

Manchester United themselves however have been historically weak as a performance club, so we would need to see some pre-season improvement to become true believers in performance returns from this team.

There should be initial hype for the transfer, which looks pretty likely to happen. And, there will probably be a good chunk of traders content to hang in longer than the initial story to see how he shapes up at United. 

I offloaded him a couple of months or so ago for a monster profit. That cash has been put to great use since so I am very happy with that decision. And I would not be buying back again now. 

But if still holding, there is a case for sticking with it at this point in the hope of a strong media blitz and his talent coming through at United.


AC Milan

Not a huge drop for many players considering the news that AC Milan are now out of the Europa. Actually, there was quite a modest reaction to that news across the board. 

Calhanoglu was actually the main victim which is ironic since he is one of their best value picks if he looks set to play a bigger role under the new coach as rumoured. Suso took a bit of a hit, too.

Losing European football is a straight up reduction in a players potential value. Fewer games just equals fewer chances to win. And, many of those games are on reduced match days where the odds of winning are hugely increased over standard league games. European football is valuable and you can generally see it reflected in a player’s price.

However, there are actually a lot of tempting targets at Milan that are worth watching, many of them available at value prices even factoring in the lack of European football. 

Calhanoglu, Paqueta, Suso, Cutrone, Piatek and the returning Bonaventura all have talent. With a new coach Giampaolo, formerly of Sampdoria, taking over the reins it will be fascinating to see how their squad shapes up in pre-season.


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