Young Players – Good But Pricey Part 2

In recent weeks I’ve produced 9 articles highlighting some strong value players in a variety of categories, including 3 on wonderkids and good young players.

We are into the 50/50’s now. Youngsters who have achieved high prices, possibly too high a price, but at least have underlying performance quality.

I don’t generally get involved at this 50/50 gambling end of the market. Why make it hard for ourselves when there are players out there far more likely to rise more from here at less risk? 

But, if you are going to invest in hyped/overpriced youth, it is best to do it in the ones who have genuine prospects on FI. 

And whether you buy them or not, it’s essential to know who has real quality and who doesn’t so you can either trade them effectively or avoid them.  




Real Madrid

Reinier is an example of a great potential pick when getting him early, but it’s much less clever to be sitting on him now.

In the original IPO review on December 5th I said he’d get heavy buying and at £1 to £1.30 you’d be very happy but charging in after £1.75 or so felt a bit much.

In the end he hit a huge transfer link very quickly in January and ended up at £2.66. Equally, he could have missed that transfer and dipped again.

That’s a good bit of luck for holders but once you have had that luck there is no point in pushing it. He dropped back to £2.18 just weeks later.

Now the transfer is done we need minutes, goals and results.

Just a start and a goal can be enough for this sort of player. It’s possible but with so much competition this might be a lot to hope for straight away. He’s way down the pecking order. He may continue with the Castilla or move on loan as Kubo did.

That makes him a big hostage to fortune and I don’t like that. 

Now we’re looking for real suitability rather than just hype, we have to bear in mind that as a midfielder he looks a bit weak. He’d need to be scoring very regularly and playing 90 minutes weekly to get big scores often.

A holder could stick in, hoping for a start and a goal where he could spike in price. I’d be cashing out then in this scenario. Or, hold further and see if people buy on anticipation alone and then sell anyway.

The better strategy in my view would be to wait for a period of stagnation and disappointment then buy him when he dips again. By that time he’ll be cheaper and probably closer to some real action.  


Mohamed Ihatteren



Has definitely had a much better year than expected rocketing to £2.87 just a month after IPO during the last wave of extreme youth over optimism from Sept to Early October.

But, he fell back quickly to £2.11 by December during the October/November youth bonfire where lots of these prices corrected. I think we may be heading for a similar correction in youngsters in the coming months, particularly where their transfer hype falls over.

He is back up to £3.02 because of an expected transfer.

On the surface he’s got some decent performance stats, so I can see how he would be confused with an obviously FI suitable player.

He might be, depending on the club. But there are also problems. As a midfielder, involvement numbers are just good enough rather than brilliant. 

And things like poor passing accuracy will drag those numbers down some – high numbers of passes with poor accuracy are a detriment – giveaway passes are expensive.

We’ve seen sprees of Europa goals too though mostly versus poor teams. This gives him an artificially high average performance score especially as these scores are boosted in European ties – it gives pumpers something to use to convince people he is better than he is.

The league goal scoring rate is concerning at 3 in 22 Eredivisie games. With these Dutch wonderkids we need them to be smashing it out of the park in a soft league to have any real optimism they can move to a big league and be competitive.

At £3.02 it’s the sort of trade that can do very well initially depending on how the transfer gamble goes, but it can also go badly if a good move does not appear.

And, he would need a move to a superb performance club and be assured of 90 minutes every week to be justifying £3+ longer term. And I am sceptical of his ability to do that.


Harvey Elliott



Elliott is a decent potential player, though not quite as good as team mate Curtis Jones who is exactly the same price at time of writing interestingly.

What possible reason you’d have for going with for Eliiott over Jones I cannot quite fathom. Elliott is only just 17 and at minimum a season or two behind Jones in terms of making a real impact. 

A loan move and then a long period of stagnation is very likely for Elliott, where as with Jones, the chances of a first team appearance look much greater. 

I could be wrong here – maybe with Liverpool wrapping up the title early in all likelihood it will be a chance where Elliott can get serious minutes and even shine. But in normal circumstances Elliott would be a long way out.

Elliott does look good though. decent goal threat, assist potential, and a strong level of overall involvement hints at a good potential prospect.

Very frequently though, the world of FI is willing to speculate big much too early in a player’s career.

It always feels like you must get in as soon as possible with a young player. That can be true at £1 to £1.50, much less so at £2+.

It’s very possible to own a youngster too early – in fact this is a really common error. 

If he doesn’t get to play much in the rest of this season (or the season doesn’t happen) we could see a season or two of loans or reserve football. And it will not be long before other up and coming young players steal the social media attention away and the price drop for 16-18 year olds can start.

Those moments, like Elliot’s recent dip to £2.46, would be the times to pick them up rather than now when they are on the way up again.

I wouldn’t want to pay more than £2 to £2.20 for Elliott at this stage of his career, even though he’s decent.

Jones yes, because he’s shown more FI suitability than Elliott and is much closer to real action in this season or next.


Donyell Malen



The last time I reviewed Malen was the Transfers section on 26th Feb where he was £2.43 which I thought quite high but probably a good bet for a rise towards £2.75.

He made it to £2.61 a few weeks later, dropped, then is back to £2.58 again now.

I’m still neutral on him at this price. He has some decent performance potential, 3.5 out of 5 stars maybe for next season if playing regularly at a good club. The problem is, the hoped for destination of Arsenal are not a particularly good club. It might be 2.5 out of 5 stars or 3 out of 5 stars tops there.

We’ve got a lot of goals but in truth if you look they are almost all versus very soft teams. It would be extremely surprising if he kept up this strike rate in the EPL.

He’s also significantly worse performance wise than other comparable talent such as Stengs, and Stengs is slightly cheaper too.

One of the parts of Key Strategy was looking to take profits on some transfer picks in the coming weeks to free up funds to move to better value areas. This would be the type of player I’d consider for that.

This is because at this stage it comes down to a straight up gamble on the move happening. We probably have some weeks or months left of it being enough for speculation to exist. As the transfer window proper starts we will start to see more and more deals get shut down and this is the moment we do not want to be caught holding gambles.

The other reason is that even if he does move to Arsenal I would question his performance suitability there. (It would be better if at Barcelona – but then people would probably sell in disappointment he isn’t moving to the EPL).


This means that outside of the initial hype we could expect a price drop once people see his Arsenal scores (similar to Pepe), so he’s not one I’d be thinking of holding long term anyway.


Joshua Zirkzee


Bayern Munich

It was a surprise Zirkzee got so many minutes so soon at Bayern, and he’s really made an impact with 3 goals in just 170 minutes.

That makes it a tough trade because with the way the market is, the price just gets out of control very very quickly after the breakout moment.

Chase it in the hours after the spike and you are almost certainly going to get dumped on, as has happened twice with Zirkzee. He’s risen sharply then dipped.

This is why charging in after a rise is such a mug move. 

Zirkzee is a bit of an awkward fit for performance scoring. He is at Bayern though and the number of good quality chances you can expect these players to get means 2-3 goals isn’t out of the question for any decent striker.

I don’t think 1 goal will be enough for him, which means he isn’t a great performance forward. 

If we expected him to start every game at Bayern though, he’d probably knock in 2-3 goals enough times a season to make him a contender. The same way Lewandowski does.

There is the issue – it’s unlikely he becomes the main man for 2 or 3 more seasons and there is a risk people could get bored of him as newer and shinier youngsters start breaking through.

Somewhere between £1.50 and £2 I’d be saying absolutely yes. At £2.59 I’m  neutral. At least he has dropped from a whopping £2.85 in March.

Being at Bayern counts for a lot though as it is one of the few clubs where an average performance player can do well provided they have good goal threat.

There are far worse picks out there and he could do well if he scores again when football is back, but it’s also easy to find a much better pick who hasn’t had their breakout moment yet. 

Those players can rise more and come with less risk of going off the boil and dropping.


Myron Boadu



I’m stretching the definition of “good” here.

He’s good because of the potential IPD return and the potential media suitability assuming he went to a big EPL club and became a leading EPL striker. 

Or, a move to a leading foreign club can be good too assuming media is opened up to foreign news outlets later on.

Note there are a lot of “if’s” in there and that’s the difficulty with this trade.

Because he’s almost certainly a poor performance player, it doesn’t give you many fall back plans if he gets the wrong transfer (or no transfer) because he must have media potential to justify this price. 

He will not be holding a £2.39 price tag on IPD value alone without a dividend increase (and then other higher quality players in the market will run ahead of him if dividends are increased).

All that said, he’s a good goalscorer and that always counts for something.

At under £2 I’d consider this an easy yes but at £2.39 this is a player I would hang back from and buy if bad news came and he dropped severely.

If however you are very confident he will move to the EPL you might buy now because he does have potential to go above £3 if so. But that is a bigger gamble than I would take and I do not back the 50/50’s. 


Victor Osimhen



I’m following Boadu with Osimhen because this is a very similar situation.

His story is one of those meteoric rises as he started the season really well. It was clear from the start what sort of player he was and in my Aug 29th Scouting update (you can search any player from the Dashboard) I said he could prove to be a Moussa Dembele type. 

This means good goalscorer, poor performance player. But this type does have value in IPD and the potential transfer hype. And media potential too if they become a leading big league striker. 

I also said after his first breakout game that if he went onto score again and rose to £1.75 I’d happily take profits at that point.

Reason being that in August he was much too far away from the transfer to really justify the money. And the risks are that he could go off the boil (very common for youngsters) or the consistent poor scores would put people off eventually.

This would have been a good decision to sell at £1.75 in August. He did keep playing well a bit longer and got to £2.23 by October but then there was 5 months of drops and stagnation until the recent spike up to £2.73. 

In a market that has risen this much, holding throughout that period was a bad call – our money isn’t working hard enough.

But as we get to February, that picture changes. He’s close enough to the transfer possibility, and he’s had a price drop. I said in 2 February Scouting: “Down to £1.94 now and dropping this is exactly the sort of thing I’d be on the look out for in the coming months”.

3 and a bit months later he is up to £2.72 and has the hype to go further because he has hit those transfer links. It’s an example of how timing your runs in and out of trades really pays. 

Anyway, I digress. The lesson here is that holding after big breakout moments and price spikes is generally a bad idea unless they have very strong dividend potential and long term value. You go in on the dips and when they have reasons to rise in the near future.

This is another moment where I’d be more than happy to take a profit. Yes he may go to Manchester United or Arsenal but he also may end up in Serie A where he is probably worth £1.50 to £1.75 tops.

Again, waiting for bad news and buying him if he drops again to under £2 would be the play. 

You may feel unlucky if he does move to the EPL and goes clear of £3. But this doesn’t matter. 

Because we know that ~90% of transfer gossip is just gossip – it is obvious that we will win more of these bets by betting against the transfer happening rather than on it.

I bet on transfers when there is a clear value price for a quality player to the point where they offer value at the wide variety of clubs they could end up at, rather than having to hope he gets that specific move to just one. 


Ismaila Sarr



It’s very easy for a decent young player to rise with a good game.

Sarr has been in good form in 2020 overall. In general though, he isn’t going to be challenging regularly from Watford. That 2 goal 1 assist game vs Liverpool is the exception rather than the rule.

He’s got just enough to his game where you could say if he got a move to a performance suitable club he might be a contender. But it’s far from guaranteed.

To bet on Sarr at £2.10 you’d have to be a big believer that he was getting a transfer this Summer. If he doesn’t, I’d expect a long period of stagnation until a transfer looks more likely probably in late 2020.

With him having risen very strongly recently, I’d say it is probably better to wait for a dip with him rather than bet on a transfer in an uncertain window.


Troy Parrott



Parrott is a popular pump and dump target, with plenty of ups and downs around FA Cups etc which is common. 

He has held a consistent average price of around £1.90 to £2 though since July last year, which suggests there are a lot of people out there who see him as a long term prospect.

They aren’t wrong, he’s certainly got talent and the ability to become an EPL goalscorer in future. 

Would he be a regular performance challenger at Spurs if playing 90 minutes every week? No, probably not. He’d need at least 2 goals to contend most likely and that’s a lot to expect from an 18 year old.

He can push on with hype and whenever he can be rumoured to start a game like a cup match. All he’d need to do to rise is score, so buying him now and waiting for that goal isn’t a bad shout. 

But you’d want to sell when it happens and bank before the inevitable drop, unless you really think he’s going to become a first team regular.

Is Mourinho going to pin his reputation on Parrott next season? Not something I’d be betting on.

I think you’ll either need to flip Parrott or have stellar patience for the next couple of seasons. If I was signing him up for the long haul I’d want a hefty discount, maybe picking him up if he drops after stagnating on the bench for a few months.


Eddie Nketiah



Again, I’m stretching the definition of “good” here because in all likelihood Nketiah won’t be much cop for performance scoring even if leading for Arsenal every week.

But there is value in goalscorers particularly in the EPL because of IPD and the media potential for leading strikers. So he’s not a no hoper we just need to be aware of what we are dealing with rather than hoping for huge scores that are unlikely to come.

He’s a gamble because he has a range of outcomes from another loan where he fades into irrelevance for a long time, or he could make his breakthrough and become an Arsenal regular. There isn’t much middle ground here.

This applies to a lot of young players. Whether it is smart to take this gamble or not largely depends on the price.

I’d certainly be happier to buy him at his current £1.87 after a drop than at £2.10 in March.

At the current price, and after a long period of stagnation (he was pretty much the same price last July!) now feels like the time to go for him if you are going to.

You might get lucky. You might not. This is in the 50/50 category. My approach is not to go for the 50/50’s and play only the trades where I think I have an ~80%+ chance of winning.

But there are far worse youngsters out there at much higher prices than Nketiah. 

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