Just over a month since the Guide Prices were updated.
Last update, we had just had a huge surge in October and early November and prices were flying, particularly for midfielders who caught up with the forwards due to the market realising that they had Gold Day Star Man appeal.
Since, it’s been quiet, with the market stagnating until the last few days where transfer rumours are dominating as we might expect.
As per previous updates, getting this business done early was the best bet (late Nov/early Dec) rather than waiting until now or later to pile into obvious players after a big price spike. The value in transfer trading is in anticipating other traders buying and then selling when people get too overexcited during the build up and the window itself.
There is not much value in piling in late where you are at the mercy of the transfer rumours falling over – most of them will not get the desired move.
Overall, this is the first Guide Price update of the season where there is no major change in what people are prepared to pay for good Forwards, Midfielders, and Defenders. We might have expected this to drop a bit, but overall, it has stayed stable although individuals may have gone up and down.
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 = No Change
- Midfielder: £2.30 – £2.60 = No Change
- Forward: £2.40 – £2.70 = No Change
Off Trend Known Strong Player
- Defender: 70p – 90p = No Change
- Midfielder: £1.30 – £1.60 = No Change
- Forward £1.50 > £1.70 = No Change
New: Media Modifier: x2 to x3 (explained below)
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.
Well regarded defenders are still trading around £1.30 to £1.50.
They remain quite a difficult and frustrating category, since very few really get their head above water often enough to win consistently.
As I said ever since the scoring system change, it was always likely that a fairly wide number of defenders would trade wins all season, with very few players able to win consistently enough to gather real momentum.
In truth, most of the top priced defenders are there because of over optimism rather than genuine FI quality.
In particular, as I said at the time, the whole “Flying Fullbacks” craze was massively overstated as a factor. It was clear since the scoring system change before the season started that this sort of player would do well as per my analysis – they suddenly did not get more valuable in October.
My strategy with defenders from pre-season remains the optimal one in my view – stick to the real statistical freak outliers who have an unusual amount of goal threat or at least assist potential (including corners ideally). This often means they are actually playing on the wing like Hakimi. But they can come with positional reclassification risk – if switched to midfield they will likely struggle severely.
Exceptional talents, like Reguilon can also be great additions provided the price is right.
And there are perhaps a very small handful of big ticket players, like Van Dijk, who at this stage of the season as we hit the run in can start to prove their worth. On limited game days like big Champions League nights or the Euros, a big baseline defender like Van Dijk can win even without a goal.
So, whilst a player like that is unlikely to bring optimal returns because they have a high price, they look far more solid for the last half of the season than they did for the first.
Outside of that, we want to be targetting the cheap punts in the 70-90p range that have FI suitability. Angelino was a recent one from scouting that has not yet worked out. But it’s this type of evidence based punt where good profits can be made, getting a defender from 80p to £1.20 or so represents a very solid trade.
Midfielders are largely unchanged in terms of what people are willing to pay, with the £2.30 to £2.60 the range what I’d expect a good midfielder to reach with a decent trend fit and a few performance wins.
It’s a hyper competitive category and when paying top dollar we need to be really sure they have what it takes to really mix it with the big hitters who can put up 250+ scores.
I think many traders are still over impressed by 220-230 scores in midfield and really, that is not good enough unless we have a reason why it could/should have been higher. If it’s 220-230 on a good day (i.e hitting a match winner) that is more of a red flag than a positive sign.
No real price movement overall for forwards with £2.40 to £2.70 still about the going rate for well regarded specimens.
There are many who fly beyond that which is fine but they need a really good reason to do so, the Key Strategy “Full Season Fit” being ideal.
Without performance strength and a reason to hold them in late season some of these are risk of crashing even further down. For that reason, players like Braut Haaland, Hudson-Odoi, Fati, Felix, Rodrygo, Mbappé, Abraham are ones that stand out as at risk.
Part of the reason we will have seen a quiet December in my view is that we have hit a new equilibrium where prices have now caught up with the dividend increase in many cases.
Last month I used the following 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).
10% a year generally is not enough to satisfy most traders when 200-300% profits are possible.
So it will likely be very difficult to convince many traders to buy more once a player starts hitting that sort of price.
We’ll need as many positive factors working for our players as possible as we head into 2020. And obviously, we need to avoid the negative pulls (age is an increasing factor, lack of Euros, lack of Europa/CL increasingly an issue too).
This is what will help us benefit from the “funnelling” effect I described in this week’s State of the Market. As some players come off trend and lose traction, that money will tend to go to those with real reasons to be at high prices.
If you look at players above Guide Prices, they all have a very clear story behind that. Often, that is youth hype. But it can also be potential media returns. A transfer, or extremely high performance quality.
This is one of the main uses of Guide Prices. In an ideal world where the players we have bought are hitting Guide Prices and above, what’s their reason for it?
Is it a valid reason like a strong trend fit for the rest of the season and extremely high performance strength? Or is it something temporary like hype or a transfer rumour that might fade away fast?
That’s how we know which to keep and which to cash in.
In January, it’s possible we see an “easy boom” as new traders join for some kind of offer, and that could encourage more money in. That can go to many obvious/well known players, usually internationals and often EPL players so that is worth bearing in mind.
But, any wave of optimism can lift most good players in general as existing traders throw more money in too.
I would be a bit wary of assuming this will happen though. I think we will not just be able to sit on our big hitters and expect huge returns.
We’ll have to keep finding the promising youth players with genuine quality coming through, as well as the underperformers coming back in fashion like Brandt has recently. Transfers and IPD are other opportunities.
As are any drops in quality players who have fallen over the Winterbreak. Now is about the time I’d start buying those rather than waiting much longer.