Welcome to Part Three of the Value Hunting series.
In Part One I discuss the thinking behind this series, here I’m just going to get straight into the players.
Off Trend Elite Veterans
This is an area of trading I really like. The best value is almost always in the unfashionable ends of the market.
Unfashionable players can get fashionable very quickly.
The most recent example of this is last pre-season. Again, much like now, the social media narrative was “only young players have value, nobody will buy older players”.
This was wrong. Very wrong.
Most of the most profitable players just a few months later were the elite veterans who most would have told you not to touch with a barge pole. I said hug them close.
They were great value precisely because the common consensus and “twitter trends” were against them. But the facts and real trends were very much with them just most didn’t see it because they are stuck in their habits.
Many people find this uncomfortable because humans instinctively like to follow the pack not strike out on their own. This is why it works.
Getting a £1.20 player to £2.40 is the same as getting a premium from £5 to £10. And it’s much easier to achieve.
The important thing in this sort of trading is timing.
In early season with many elite veterans like Kroos, Di Maria, Immobile available at extreme value and likely to clean up on performance scoring that was a time I recommended buying them.
But I also said that we should look to move out of the majority of them as Christmas approached. The real trends were going to start running against them. And the “twitter trends” always lag behind the real trends.
This ended up being the perfect game.
We may now be approaching a similar situation. People are very down on elite veterans right now and their prices are very low versus their ability.
These players are often particularly undervalued when they are 28-31 with a long contract ahead. The market is currently severely overpessimistic on this age range. At 32+? That pessimism gets a whole lot more rational.
If the season restarts anytime in the coming 2-3 months we have an unprecedented situation.
An elite veteran can benefit from the remainder of the current season, possibly including the CL or Europa, then have just a short break before having a full second season ahead of them with Euro 2021 at the end of it.
That is a huge period of near uninterrupted football where an elite veteran can clean up. We may never see that opportunity ever again.
On the other hand, we don’t actually know if football will restart soon so there is a reason to be cautious.
I am currently waiting for a credible/practical plan from football authorities about how football can restart. If we see one, that’s when I think we can start getting confident again.
So we may want to save most of these players for our back pocket. But, we can also pick up a few now where we see extreme value.
The elite veteran criteria:
– A high quality player, with real performance strength, at least in my ratings.
– Usually 28-31 years old with a long contract ahead and a high chance of continuing to play at the top level at least for next season ideally longer.
– Generally involved in more than just a domestic league, with at least CL/Europa (next season) or Euro 2021 involvement, ideally both.
– A strong value price, that has dropped significantly recently.
We have to start with the Don of elite veterans.
Performance strength is off the charts, everyone knows that by now. And media is there too.
He’s got CL football this season and next (Assuming it does restart at some point, of course). No Euro’s is obviously a downer and the next World Cup is too far away to really consider.
The endlessly discussed topic of age is the main worry. His price is the important thing to consider as that dictates whether it is worth the risk.
He is 32, so it falls just outside my ideal “elite veteran” age range. Messi may be an exception and could well have years ahead of him but that doesn’t change the fact that many traders (quite rightly) get twitchy at this age.
Whether he will or won’t continue? None of us know and there is little point in debating that. It would however be extremely shocking if Messi was not around next season, and for now, that can be enough.
Where he will play is currently under discussion. There are rumours he is unhappy and apparently has a clause where he can leave even this Summer. That would be a bombshell, particularly because he could come to the EPL if so.
This all seems a bit like a fairy tale though.
If football restarts anytime in the next few months and we see a long football calendar stretching ahead of us, Messi could get much more popular very quickly.
A return to at least £6 from his current £4.88 and a sizable chunk of dividends for longer term holders would be my expectation in that scenario.
I might wait on some more clarity over the football calendar before proceeding. If we get that, we would want to move quickly whilst his price is still beaten down.
We’ll also actually want some of these dividends to sweeten our deal and I think he is much better for a long term holder (6 months+) rather than a flipper for this reason.
The real risk here is a severe injury and at this sort of age that can cause a wipeout. That’s generally why I stick to age 31 tops.
The outlandish rumours of turning down a contract to go to the EPL… I’d consider this a positive factor that could blow up in the media, particularly profitable right now. It seems very unlikely though.
The downside of that risk would be that he does leave but goes somewhere else, like a return to Argentina. This seems even more unlikely.
A little bit of a headache. But you don’t find value in well known good players unless there is something to think about.
Overall, I think Messi is exceptional and unless holders were to get seriously unlucky with a very bad injury, he looks good value at £4.88.
Relentless great form from Lewandowski this season. And with goalscoring this consistent, he’s more than just an IPD player he can challenge for dividends too.
And he’s in all the big competitions that matter.
The key here is his huge recent contract extension to 2023. He doesn’t look like he is going anywhere. He’ll be 32 by early next season but the length of that contract extension is a reason to be confident.
I don’t think we need to have any worries about him slowing down, certainly in this season or next. There is always that risk with an older player of a very severe injury but that’s also why you are paying around £2 rather than £6.
After a recent fall from £2.43 to £2.13 he looks an easy yes from me if we see a football fixture calendar being pieced back together anytime soon.
Benzema has also enjoyed a very good season to date notching 18 goals in 32 appearances.
That has been rewarded with a contract extension to 2022 and I think it’s reasonable to expect him to continue next season, unless we see a huge striker signing for Real or Jovic hits a purple patch.
A dip in form in 2020 is however a concern and that may have Zidane thinking about Benzema’s place in the side.
He’s a great IPD source though and particularly for another CL campaign he’d be a good target.
He has some problems but a huge price drop from £1.30 to 92p makes this tempting.
Especially with Real out of the CL now, I think we can put him in the back pocket.
We’d want to see next season in the diary and if so, I could see him rising at least to £1.20+ in anticipation of the new season assuming Real are not linked with any credible big name replacements.
A solid player who produces regular good scores, and there is no reason that shouldn’t continue.
Only just 29 and on a long contract, no reason to believe he goes anywhere anytime soon.
Recently knocked down to 77p from 90p just a month ago he’s an attractive prospect if this season kicks off again with the CL still to come. He can head back to at least that, and is capable of winning some dividends to boot.
If we see a fixture calendar with this season flowing into next Sandro will look a steal at 77p.
As a long shot bonus, he often gets links to the EPL. Unlikely, but it’s possible and a nice potential boost.
Reus was showing some lovely performance numbers as documented in February Scouting and it’s a shame he was injured.
He had worked his way up to £1.27 by 1st February from £1.04 in December after good performances. After injury and corona virus he’s now back to £1 which looks great value again.
Unlucky not to win at least one dividend this season based on his numbers, I rate him. But for his money he pulls in enough in IPD alone – 5 goals and 6 assists in his last 10.
He’s also still a regular in the Germany setup, with Euro 2021 now moved that will remain a factor.
A bargain at £1 now.
Cavani is more of a gamble than I usually like but at 89p he does have some appeal.
Out of contract at the season end and unlikely to renew, he’ll be a free agent. He often gets linked to Manchester United and Chelsea. There are also traps like a return to Argentina and Boca Juniors.
He’ll also have whatever is left of the season at PSG including the CL.
Definitely one for the trader who likes a punt and can monitor the news often, but it could be a masterstroke if he did come to the EPL because you could see him doubling in price fairly easily if so.
It would have to be cut off fairly swiftly if there was credible evidence he wasn’t going to an eligible league.
He’s mainly an IPD source, and we can’t expect many performance wins. But in the EPL he’d be near certain to hoover up plenty of media.
Longer term/more passive traders probably want to avoid it though, or at least wait until the EPL links look credible provided he is still 10-20p either side of £1.
I can’t really call Bonaventura “elite” but I think he is better than many would think.
He shows some nice performance numbers, and has been unfortunate to have his minutes managed after his long injury absence – he is capable of big scores when playing 90 minutes.
He’s 30 and out of contract at the end of the season – he may move on and Lazio are possible.
Not exactly a thrilling prospect on the surface but at this rock bottom 46p price we only need to get him up to 70-80p to make a huge profit.
I’m not done! 6 more Elite Veterans analysed tomorrow.