Core Performance Pt 2


Ousmané Dembelé



Has been far from a “core player” in my reviews this season, but things change.

His initial hype pre-transfer I was very sceptical on, warning that at £3.39 in Feb 2019 he was dangerously overheating (and that was a much bigger price relatively speaking back then). He dropped sharply afterwards and by pre-season at £2.31 or so I’ve been fairly neutral on him after that price drop.

He has shown some nice performance numbers at times, but rotation and injury have held him back so far.

At £2.33 now I think he looks good value as a hold for the next 6 months or so.   

The good thing here is that £2.33 at Barcelona is justified, but these EPL transfer rumours (Arsenal) offer a significant potential bonus which is something of a free bet at this price. Great if it happens, not a big deal if it doesn’t.

With his profile, all he has to do is transfer to the EPL or hit a big score at Barcelona (he’s capable despite his poor record to date) and he can push £3+ again with ease.


Kai Havertz



A pricey option by now – he’s clearly a great fit for the core criteria although I am getting more sceptical as he climbs up in price.

Last review was in the transfer centre on the 26th Feb at £4.20 and at that price I felt he could go further and the balance of risk was good.

£5.18 with the move under threat due to coronavirus? It’s getting a bit dicey.

That said, he ticks every box we have for a core player. A move to Liverpool could see him rocket initially but I would definitely be cashing this out on the hype. Liverpool’s style of play is not helpful for performance and the likely rotation also hurts him.

If he moved to Bayern he might actually drop as many have bought expecting an EPL move that may fall through. Longer term though I’d be very keen on him at Bayern even at £5+, he could be incredible there, possibly pushing 4.5 out of 5 stars or even 5 out of 5 stars eventually.

For those holding currently I think it is best to stay in for the ride, hoping for an EPL move. In the event of disappointment you may get lucky because it’s hard for anyone to sell right now with the spreads locked down anyway.

If not currently holding I think this is best played as a wait and see – if he drops back to £4.50 or so because he doesn’t move to the EPL and either stays at Leverkusen for another season or moves to Bayern he could be a great pick up then.


Kevin De Bruyne


Manchester City

I’ve been lukewarm on De Bruyne most of this season. 

Going back through scouting Sept > October I felt his price rise to £5+ too optimistic. But whilst he was overpriced, he did at least have the performance ability to justify a good chunk of his pricetag if not all of it.

That feels like the right call since he has stagnated and dropped a fair bit over 6-7 months now. He reached a high of £5.49 by October, dropping to £4.64 now. 

He’s returned 30p in dividends over the season to date though and that could have been more with a bit of luck. And of course in normal times I’d expect him to be a strong challenger for CL gold day’s etc.

At £4.64 now he is getting towards much better value these days. He may take until June to get going again (sooner if we do get this season finished) but I would be very surprised if we didn’t see him on the rise again at least to £5 when football returns.

Euro 2021 is a bonus. 

The fly in the ointment is City’s probable lack of CL football next season unless their appeal against their ban is successful.

For that reason, I’d hold off a bit but if we see him drop further to under £4.50 or so I think he’d look a good pick. 

He has two possible bonus scenarios: if we get this seasons CL back and if City’s ban is (unexpectedly) overturned or delayed. We could expect him to rise nicely if either of those things happened.


Federico Chiesa



I’ve liked Chiesa for nearly a year now. That worked out very well from pre-season to October where he could be picked up for around £1.50 and taken to his high of £2.43 by October

It’s worked less well since – he’s stagnated for 6 months now although he hasn’t dropped which is something.

Whilst he is very capable of performance wins, doing that at Fiorientina who are in poor form is a big ask and he hasn’t done much to get attention recently. 

But, we’re hitting the period where can do very well over the coming months if he hits the right transfer link. Juventus are often rumoured, but recently he is picking up Manchester United rumours (amongst 20 other stars they are supposedly buying!).

The price is relatively modest versus other young players of similar performance ability, and there aren’t many bad moves on the table. It’s possible like many transfers corona virus might disrupt the move which is the worst that can happen.

Even then though, Chiesa has proven remarkably resilient to quiet spells and he clearly has a loyal collection of holders. They aren’t wrong to keep faith because he is a big player for Italy already and he has potential to be a great performance player at a good club, getting a potential 4 out of 5 stars in my ratings.


Lorenzo Insigne



Another good pre-season pick who rose strongly but then hit the buffers, he’s gone from as low as £1.20 to £2.42 then back down to £1.89 over the season.

Even with a patch of dire Napoli form in late 2019 Insigne has come agonisingly close to big scores a number of times. He’s a great performance player he just hasn’t shown it since October/November. 

But we shouldn’t get too down on him for that – when your club is going for months without a win nobody is going to do well no matter how good they are.

2020 numbers were much better though and until everything shut down I was backing him for a big score soon, even adding him to my explosion imminent list in scouting.

When the market is down on a good player who can improve it’s often a good time to strike and I’d say that is the case here. 

He’s now dropped to a level at £1.89 where any possible EPL transfer can just be considered a nice bonus. He justifies his money even staying at Napoli who are generally a decent club and have improved since their awful late 2019 form.


Hakim Ziyech



Ziyech always gets positive reviews on the site but I did not expect him to rise in the last week so strongly. I’d have expected him to stagnate a bit before rising in a month or two.

Perhaps people see him as a “safe haven” in these rough times as they anticipate (probably correctly) that he’d be bought up later as people prepare for next season. Or maybe he just got attention from a pumping group, who knows.

He may well have a quiet spell after the rise but I think £3.16 with a long term view in mind remains good value for those not holding him already.

He is one of those players that just suits FI performance scoring extremely well, with that mix of all round involvement, creativity and threat that hoovers up points on FI. I rate him very highly and Chelsea is a good platform that could even lead to him picking up media on top.

He’s 4.5 out of 5 stars in my potential ratings which is exceptional and something I’ve only awarded to 8 midfielders in total. He could be that good.

There is a however, though. Changing clubs can make or break a player. Chelsea can be decent but I will need to see some minutes in a Chelsea shirt before I can say for sure whether he will hit those kinds of levels.

But, he’s done enough in his career to date for us to be able to assume he’s got performance quality until proven otherwise.


Leroy Sané


Manchester City

Another who doesn’t usually get much love on FIT, but times they are a changin’. 

Sané has obviously had a long injury, which has kept him on the back burner but he has still managed to rise in price over Aug > December before flatlining for 2020. 

An odd situation because traders tend to hate out of EPL moves but Bayern would actually improve his performance prospects and I’d be very keen on him there.

The latest talk is that the Bayern move is cooling. He could rise in price if confirmed to be staying in the EPL. The irony being that this would actually reduce his performance chances (although improve long term media chances). 

Overall, whilst I would not have bought at £3 in December, £3.30 at this stage of the calendar and with him fit again looks much much better.

He can rise if he stays at City. What happens if he moves to Bayern is less clear cut in the shorter term, normally we’d say traders hate out of EPL moves but in this case I think by now lots of people know how good Bayern are, and he will be gaining the potential for CL football.

It’s one where there are lots of uncertain outcomes but crucially, he’s worth his money in all likely scenarios which makes it much less of a headache.



Florian Thauvin



A long period of stagnation for Thauvin, he was getting close to an injury return and even a possible late charge for a place in the France team.

But he’s held his price very well since a surge in October as a dividend increase switched people onto better quality players and away from the dross.

We’re hitting a good point in the calendar for Thauvin as he may drop on a decent transfer rumour and he is available for a cut price fee this Summer. There are (far fetched?) Bayern rumours but but he is strong enough to succeed somewhere like AC Milan or even just staying at Marseille.

At any of those clubs I’d back him for performance success and £2.27 is a reasonable price for a player of his quality. And it has a chance of a bump in the event of an unexpected big club transfer link.


Memphis Depay



Depay was a site darling early on this season and very profitable. But I didn’t advocate the “Buy Depay you’ll definitely make money” injury strategy back in December. This is why. 

He rose a bit then dropped and has largely stagnated, doing a bit better recently once this season was suspended as people start to think about next season.

It was far from an awful trade. But it’s an example of how you can buy a good player at the wrong time and the mediocre results you can expect to get that way. Money sat doing nothing is a potential gain we lost.

Sometimes this will happen even if we make a good decision. But this to me was one of the avoidable ones that it is possible to dodge.

Is now the right time to look to him again, though? I think so.

In July/August not many people knew how good he was (we did on this site) but by now almost everyone does. So, we can expect him to rise whenever optimism for performance returns, be that in the coming weeks or in preparation for next season. 

So, latest June I would say unless we start hearing about a wipe out of next season too, which feels currently unlikely. 

There is also a transfer possibility which could be a bonus, and there is often the talk of the “Man. United buy back clause” that could interest many. He is good enough even at Lyon though which is an important back up plan.

He’s also got a bit lucky with Euro 2021 being moved as he can keep his Netherlands premium that he looked set to miss out on. And holders don’t have to worry about him rushing himself back only to crock himself again.

Still pricey at £4.21 but that’s less than before his injury at £4.74. 

Ticks almost all of the boxes except a little worryingly Lyon have not secured European football next season. On balance I think this is acceptable as if they don’t qualify it makes the transfer rumours more likely.

Looks a solid choice and this is a much better time to be picking him up than it was a few months ago.


Nabil Fekir


Bayern Munich

Fekir may actually have fitted better in the Transfers article. But he could become core performance fairly easily depending on where/if he moves and I wanted to include him somewhere in this series.

Potentially a very good player for FI purposes but he has struggled to show that at Betis. 

I covered him in February scouting and I thought him good value for his £1.78, and I still do since he’s only moved up 4p more by now.

I was clear in pre-season that he was poor value at anything like £2.50 or even £2. But as the price slid to £1.60 to £1.80 it looks much much better, especially at this time of the season when transfer links should kick up.

He even has Arsenal rumours at the moment which would be huge. Real Madrid too. Could just be gossip but at this stage, and at this price, gossip is all we need.

Depending on destination he may be worth keeping hold of because he has real performance strength at the right club.

The potential bad outcome is another season at Betis but he was improving recently so £1.80 at Betis would still be a reasonable price.

It’s often when the market gets really down on a player that good value opens up and I think that is the case here.



Kingsley Coman


Bayern Munich

Coman can put up some great numbers when playing the full 90 minutes. The problem is he hasn’t often enough.

He’s becoming something of a “Mr Glass” and despite his ability I am getting more and more wary of holding him.


A time when Coman is not allowed to leave the house is arguably the best time to hold him. Much less likely to get a bad injury!

Having dipped to £2.11 I think he’d be primed to make a recovery if we had a football calendar ahead. He’d benefit from the rest of this season including the CL where he can grab a win. And there is every reason to be long term optimistic for the CL and Euro 2021 next year too.

Whether we would actually hold him all the way through that is an individual judgement call and depends on just how good he is looking on the pitch versus the likelihood of him getting injured again. 

But we can worry about that later, for now, £2.11 is solid value.


Luis Alberto



Could be a transfer pick actually as he may not sign a new deal at Lazio. Everton linked currently. Not a great move but any EPL move is going to generate interest at least in the short term.

I’ve liked Alberto for a long time and he was a pre-season success at just £1.15 when highlighting in scouting back then. But I warned at £3.29 by November that was getting over optimistic.

That was right and he dropped slowly but gradually all the way to £2.17 now. That’s well back in value range for him.

He’s hovered around that 180-200 score range a lot which is expected but I think he is unlucky not to have had more really big peak scores pushing 250+. He has the numbers for them it just hasn’t come together, it’s unfortunate.

That makes him worth his current price after the drop, eve if staying at Lazio. And a potential EPL transfer would be a boost in the short term.

Longer term at Everton? Not sure. But with the amount of money Everton are rumoured to be splashing we may need to re-evaluate them later.


Timo Werner


RB Leipzig

It’s difficult to believe he was available for under £2 in August 2019. I called him a solid choice in pre-season scouting, I should have said slam dunk bargain.

£5.68 now and he is entering premium territory and we have to think carefully about any player that hits this sort of price.

Performance strength he has, he’s proven to be more than just a goalscorer. He can be prolific and smash in 2-3 which is great, but he has more to his game than your typical goal poacher.

So if going to Bayern I’d be very optimistic. At Liverpool though? The style of play and rotation is going to hurt him. But that is balanced out by a burst of media and then potentially regular media after that too.

Liverpool is obviously the hoped for outcome but we can also say that is well priced in – everyone expects it. If it falls over he is likely to get a dip. 

If Bayern make a late play (there are rumours) I’d be much more optimistic about his longer term prospects, so I think a short term dip in that situation could be ridden out without too much trouble.

The bad outcome is that coronavirus causes disruption and he ends up staying at RB Leipzig for another season. That makes it difficult for him to carry a £5+ price tag much further, and could lead to a drop and stagnation. But, eventually, people would want to return to him.

He’s pricey and far from the great value he used to be. But he also ticks every box we have for a core player.

Whilst the short term prospects can go up and down depending on news, longer term I think he’ll prove his worth.

error: Right click is disabled to protect members content.
error: Alert: Copying is disabled to protect members content :)