Outside the Major Leagues

Before the seasons get underway I wanted to squeeze in an article on the ineligible leagues like Portugal and Holland.

This might seem a bit off-beat with the major leagues just about to start, but that’s exactly why it’s good. (Bear with me!). 

Right now, the focus is on the major leagues but usually a couple of times a year we see a wave of hype buying for ineligible league players. The logical time for this to come would be as the January transfer window approaches around November onwards. 

But traders aren’t always logical. These flash trends can appear quite suddenly seemingly from nowhere and so having at least a small stash of some strong ineligible league players isn’t a bad idea about now.

And we are actually in a transfer window so you never know when a transfer link might appear.

Because the focus is off ineligible league players, many can be picked up very cheaply at the moment. So whilst the main focus will rightly be on signing up the major league players… the savvier traders with a little spare balance will likely be picking up some ineligible league players all quiet like.

It may take a little longer for them to start gaining traction, possibly as the January window approaches, but given the bargain prices on offer waiting a few months can often prove worth it.

And, we do see occasional flash trends for ineligible league players and it’s hard to predict exactly when that will be – it could be that one youngster in Holland does something to get attention and then before you know it people are scouring for the next one.

We generally don’t want to see that happen and then follow it like everyone else. Better to have some of those players and be sat there waiting for people to come to us.

I’d still consider having a portfolio geared towards the major leagues the priority, as per Key Strategy. But if you are mainly happy with your coverage of all the major leagues it can be a good idea to add some of these players where we find really strong value precisely because the attention is currently off them.

Because lots of pretty well known ineligible league players are at value right now – I’m not going to go too obscure here there really isn’t any need to do that. 

We don’t want to be all hipster just for the sake of it. 

Fairly obvious players are desirable because they will tend to be easy to sell later. The important thing is that we are getting them cheap because attention is currently elsewhere.

David Neres - 23 - Ajax

Why so glum, FI traders?

Neres has had weeks where he has been the hottest property around, particularly in Ajax’s strong CL run the season before last. But the price is rock bottom right now.

He had a long injury and has missed the transfer boat for this Summer almost certainly. 

But he’s back now, having appeared in 3 friendlies in August and September and he’ll surely be a leading player for Ajax next campaign.

He’s also very performance suitable so interest in him may well be sustained beyond any transfer hype should he move to a good club. If he returns to his normal level those big transfer links should not be in short supply.

It will require some patience but at this stage with him languishing at £1.34 and yet highly likely to bounce back it looks extreme value to me.

Ryan Gravenberch - 18 - Ajax

This is a player who at times has been grossly overpriced and, as with so many young players, people go for them at the wrong moment.

Getting players early really means when they are hardly on anyone’s radar and are at a very low price. It doesn’t mean pile into a player that has risen sharply just because they might rise again a year from now.

Even when the player has real potential – we need to pick good moments not sit on highly priced players for years when they have little chance of doing much at all for a long time. 

However, things move on. The market has grown around Gravenberch so £2.24 is not as outrageous as it once was. 

He has also genuinely improved in his FI suitability. 

Back when he was first being pumped the evidence was pretty baseless – the goal threat wasn’t really there. But that’s changed as he has developed – he’s regularly roaming forward and getting good chances. He’s even scored twice in pre-season in August already. And the baselines are very strong so those goals will count.

Another thing that is better now than it used to be is that he is much closer to real minutes and at a stage where a credible big move can happen.

We should see more senior appearances at Ajax next year and if he performs as expected then the transfer rumours will surely come. And if there is a flash trend for ineligible league players Gravenberch would be up there. 

With the price relatively lower and him closer to real success this is now one I’d be confident in.

Calvin Stengs - 21 - AZ Alkmaar

Regular readers will not be surprised to find Stengs here. I’ve tracked him all season since he was a very cheap prospect and he’s been one of the best finds to date.

The price rise has been nice, but what’s particularly impressive is the genuine longer term FI potential beyond any transfer hype.

Even shaving a bit off for the fact his numbers are in the Eredivisie and they’ll probably drop a bit in a tougher league – he is one of the most promising FI suitable prospects around. 

2020 form hasn’t been quite as hot as his blistering 2019 but his numbers have stayed solid. 

He may or may not have missed the transfer boat for this window. He has Barcelona rumours  at the moment but then so do most young Dutch talents as it is easy to link them with Koeman.

Whether the transfer happens now or not, that £1.81 bid price is very tempting and I would think it would take a horrific loss of form for that to stay so low.

Donyell Malen - 21 - PSV

If you ask most people to make a list of promising young Dutch league players Malen would surely be a popular choice.

This one isn’t rocket science. All you need to do is look at his scoring history (17 in all competitions last term with relatively limited minutes). Dutch international. Big club move very likely eventually. 

That’s enough to get him going. He also happens to have real performance potential.

And yet he’s down at a £1.87 bid from a blue button high of £2.75.

This isn’t a tough decision and it’s a good example of a pretty basic pick that currently has high profit potential just because people are currently distracted by other things.

Jurgen Ekkelenkamp - 20 - Ajax

With Van de Beek now in Manchester Ekkelenkamp’s chances of playing time just went up. 

He’s played a full role in Ajax’s pre-season in August and September scoring an impressive 4 times and assisting once. These were soft warm up games mainly but it’s still encouraging. 

Historically as well he scores a ton for Ajax II for a midfielder. There is a lot to like about his game when it comes to future FI suitability. And in the shorter term he can score and assist enough for it to be obvious he’s doing well. Provided of course he establishes in the side.

A promising young player and the £1.25 bid is very good value for a patient trader.

Pedrinho - 22 - Benfica

Pedrinho was expected to move to a big 5 league but he has taken an interim step to Benfica. Not the move holders will have wanted but it’s not total doom.

The intent will be to sell him on if they can get him firing. He has a solid goals/assists record at Corinthians and has some decent underlying performance numbers too. He’s not quite as slam dunk an FI fit as say Stengs but he’s not bad either.

At an 85p bid all it would really take is a goal spree and he could get attention. And Benfica will have the CL to go at too for some shorter term interest.

Cody Gakpo - 21 - PSV

Gakpo is an FI suitable talent who is very likely to get a big move, probably next window rather than this one.

His goals record is strong in general and his pre-season form is red hot with 4 goals and an assist in 5 games. 

I’m struggling to think of much else worth saying. Like any young player he could lose form or fall out of favour but that applies to anyone. 

At a current £1.27 or indeed anything under £1.50… it would take a severe loss of form for that to go very wrong for a patient trader. 

An easy one for me.

Mohamed Ihattaren - 18 - PSV

We are in the pricey end here at a £2.70 bid. And like Malen he is far from an under the radar option he is very well known.

But he does have huge hype around him and if he were to get big transfer links later it would not be very difficult at all for him to rise very nicely.

The 2020 form has been suspect with no goals but he is getting chances which is the more important thing to me. If they keep getting chances the goals will come. And he’s got a promising game for FI purposes and could end up a real contender.

£2.70 is dear but he should get plenty of minutes this season, and you can get a little discount off his Blue Button price (which may well look very irrelevant in a few hours when Offers come in!).  

This sort of money is also going to look a lot less intimidating a few months from now after the dividend increase too.

More to think about with this one as a highly priced player but overall I would say it is really easy for him to hit some hype and moving now when it is quiet may be the best moment we’ll get this season.

Sam Lammers - 23 - PSV

Lammers has an impressive scoring record both overall and more recently in 2020. He’s notched 3 times in 6 pre-season games already.

He could have a role in the PSV team next season or there is talk of an impending move to Atalanta – which would almost certainly generate short term interest.

Given that either of those options looks good at his bid price of just 90p it looks a good bet to make. I’d say anything around £1 is worth paying.  

A patient holder can end up happy if they drop on that Atalanta move or if he just stays at PSV and scores some goals he’ll likely generate transfer interest for later on.

Could require patience but the price is right for that.

Myron Boadu - 19 - AZ Alkmaar

Another favourite of traders who hunt in the ineligible leagues, Boadu isn’t much of a secret.

He is however currently reasonably priced and that’s good enough. 

Live rumours are of a move to Lyon or Barcelona to join up with Koeman. 

The best type of transfer rumours are like this – great if they happen – but no big deal if they don’t. If he gets either of those moves it’s great. If not, a season at AZ where he can rack up the goals once again is no bad thing. And AZ may be in the CL should they overcome Dynamo Kiev in qualifying. 

He doesn’t look incredible for FI but he’s good enough to compete if he was at a decent club and scoring. And that’s not likely to matter for a while anyway because people will buy on pure optimism if he scores plenty. 

There is a lot to like here and for a bid of £1.84 or really anything under £2 I’d be confident with this. 

Also consider

Matues Tete – 20 – Shakhtar Donetsk

Anton Miranchuk – 24 – Locomotiv Moscow (Brother of Anton who recently moved to Atalanta – I featured both of these in an article this year, unfortunately for me personally I was holding the wrong one! But both can come good). 

Carlos Vinicius – 25 – Benfica 

Gianluca Waldschmidt – 24 – Benfica – See recent wonderkids article Part 2. 

Viktor Tsygankov – 22 – Dynamo Kiev

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