Just a month since the Guide Prices were updated, but what a month it was.

Huge price spikes bang in the middle of the exact selections that were already doing well from the Early Season Key Strategy, it’s hard to imagine it going much better.

As I go through I’m expecting to see sizable increases in what people are prepared to pay for known strong performance players in each position.

There is rationale behind this given dividends increased by 57% overall – but often the increase in prices easily outstrips any increase in dividends before long to the point where yields yet again become weak and I’ll talk about this at the end and what to do about it.

Also, with now annual dividend reviews planned and a general pledge to keep them competitive from FI, it may even encourage people to buy above a rational dividend yield even more. 

They’ll anticipate future rises more than ever. And it’s not irrational to do so.

Pricing Changes

This is not a complicated equation – I simply look at players that I know are well regarded in the market and find an average of what traders are willing to pay for a known strong player in each position, whether on or off trend. 

This is useful for determining when we might want to consider selling a player, or how much profit we might reasonably make if buying a cheap player who breaks out.

Lots of players, like the “Full Season Fit” players from Key Strategy can get away with being way above Guide Prices – but if a player is at or above Guide Prices – they need solid reasons why and we should make sure they stay true if holding.

On Trend Known Strong Player Average:

  • Defender: £1.30 – £1.50 > £1.30 – £1.50
  • Midfielder: £1.90 – £2.10 > £2.30 – £2.60
  • Forward: £2 – £2.30 > £2.40 – £2.70

Off Trend Known Strong Player

  • Defender: 50p – 75p > 70p – 90p
  • Midfielder: 70p – £1.10 > £1.30 – £1.60
  • Forward  £1.20 – 1.40 > £1.50 > £1.70

New: Media Modifier: x2 to x3 (explained below)

Media Modifier

Media players are a law unto themselves so I discount them when thinking of the above averages. However, it’s still helpful to think about.

Where you have a slam dunk, top tier media returner like Neymar or Pogba, you can safely treble or even quadruple the on trend price for their position. 

As a broad generalisation, it’s fair to say that for a player who is expected to one day match the returns of a Neymar or Pogba (the next…”) you can often x2 or even x3 the on trend price for that position. Maybe in rare cases 4x but I’ll say 2-3x as an average.


Perhaps surprisingly, what people are willing to pay for a generally well regarded defender has not moved a great deal in this month of huge growth. 

It is still tough to get people buying defenders much above £1.30 without an extremely strong trend fit or repeated high performance scores.

That’s not to say profit has not been possible, if you can move a player up from the 70-80p range towards £1.10 or £1.20 you are going to be very happy with that.

However, getting them to rise much above that is going to be tough unless you think they are exceptional.

The reason for this is what I’ve said all season – consistent winners in the defender category are like gold dust. 

It’s the statistical freaks who are worth looking at – the chasing pack are all around about the same level and will just trade wins all season – it would be a stroke of luck if one strung a few wins together to stand out from the pack.

The high baseline ball playing defender has been a particular casualty since the season start, which readers will recall I suggested would be the case following the performance scoring changes.

So, in this area, we need either the real defensive performance elites with genuinely exceptional FI relevant stats to be buying at £1.20 or above. 

Or a player who closely resembles them, or has potential to emulate them, but at a sub £1 price. 


Midfielders have seen the strongest rises which makes sense because of their higher peak scores and increased likelihood of winning Star Player which is now extremely lucrative. 

They are now rivalling forwards as the most expensive players, certainly at the £4 and under range of the market. Above that Forwards still dominate, possibly due to increased media prospects, possibly just out of habit in some cases and it may take some time for this tide to turn.

I think we will see more premium priced (£4+) midfielders going forward for the really strong ones with excellent long term prospects.

Forwards still have a better prospect of winning with lower scores so strong forwards should win more frequently than midfielders as it is less competitive. 

But I would expect midfielders to be the leaders when it comes to total returns over the course of the season, because if you hit a couple of Gold Days the returns on that player will spike sharply. 

The same could happen to a forward of course, but on average, midfielders have the better chance.

What I said at the time of the dividend announcement in the Live Blog has been true – the elite players who get the spikes of big scores like Kroos are the most valuable, high baselines are not good enough without those peaks.

(Spikes being better than baselines was always clearly true it’s just even more true now, I’ve seen people debating this over recent weeks which strikes me as odd.)


Forwards got a strong rise and are still marginally ahead of midfielders but that gap has very much closed and may even disappear. 

I think the very best will always get the premium because it brings media appeal with it (goalscorers get the most column inches it’s just a fact of life). But in the mid price range I think there is now not much between the categories.

Whilst £2.40 to £2.70 is around about the going rate for a well regarded forward, you can see plenty of elites, the likes of Werner and Depay going well beyond that. This is fine because of the Full Season Fit discussed in Key Strategy – but it does add extra pressure for them to keep winning and we have to monitor them closely.

We can be more forgiving on forwards, 250 is a good bar for a strong score where as it takes a 300+ or near enough to impress me as a midfielder. 

(incidentally for any newer traders, make sure you are factoring in that European scores are boosted and are not over impressed by how high they have been midweek, I think a lot of people over react to them even now). 

Lots of forwards sit in the 2 out of 5 stars or 3 out of 5 stars range in my ratings and these can be good choices particularly if they have IPD or a good transfer to support them outside of an occasional performance win. I’d be much more likely to hold a 2 out of 5 stars forward than a midfielder or defender of that level.

Final Thoughts

I use Guide Prices a lot when trading as a simple rule of thumb when judging what the market might pay for a particular player. 

They are different from the True Value though and I think it’s important to understand what that is too particularly now after an dividend increase.

The True Value of a player is in their estimated dividend returns.

This, and only this, gives a player real value on FI. When you cut out all the noise and speculation and other things that drag prices around this is what you are left with.

It’s important. And as I say often, staying within touching distance of rational, true value for players and not going in too hard on speculation pays off.

It pays off when you get events like dividend increases. It pays whenever something bad happens and the market dips. And it pays off when the hype buyers move away from whatever they’ve decided is no longer in fashion (i.e in the last month or two it’s been traders holding over priced youth too long who were heavily punished for this). 

That doesn’t mean we can’t lean into the trends and profit from the over exuberance we absolutely should. Just be aware when you are doing it and avoid holding players whose price is massively out ahead of their true value for too long.

For example, a £3 player needs to win 30p in dividends in the season just to return 10% which in new money means 2 Gold Day Star Players a season, or 3 non star player Gold Days plus a silver and a Bronze, or 1 Gold, 5 Silvers and 1 Bronze.

That’s quite a high bar just to make 10% from a £3 player and will be acheived only by some of the very strongest players all season (and a few lucky ones).  A good player could achieve it but they’d probably need to be of the level of around 3.5 out of 5 stars in my ratings. And even then they’ll need a little luck.

When people are harping on about the latest hyped player and how the only way is up – it’s useful to bear in mind just how difficult it is to really return 10% even on a £3 price even now after the dividend increase.

Knowing this keeps our heads in a sensible place and helps us avoid chasing a player beyond a rational price without good reason.

But, I also live in the real world and that is why I mainly use Guide Prices, which is a reflection of what people actually pay. 

Obsessing about True Value is not helpful either. 

It’s too restrictive because we have to trade in the market that exists, not the one that should exist in theory.

But it is useful to have in the back of your mind, and I find that not straying too far from it pays off time and time again.

Another observation from this month is that what people are now willing to pay for an off trend but strong player (i.e an older one like a Di Maria, Parejo etc) has rocketed for both midfielders and forwards. 

The market is now less sensitive to age and many more are happy to take the punt on a strong older player who can compete in a Gold Day.

Obviously, the opposite has been true. Where there are winners there are losers. 

Hyped up players who do not return dividends, mainly youth but not exclusively, have taken a brutal savaging in the last month, and it is not undeserved. 

Over extending into this area and holding onto these players too long was foolhardy and entirely avoidable. Harsh lessons have been taught. 

As per Key Strategy, this may now open up some opportunities we can look out for. 

Because the general quality of analysis out there is so poor, many traders do not really know which players are weak and which aren’t. Therefore, good young players will get sold along with the bad and you may be able to pick some good young players up at a good price in the coming weeks.

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