Let’s get straight into Part 2 of this article where we are hunting for great value Premium/Core players. For some thoughts on my thinking behind it, I recommend starting with Part 1 from yesterday.
Value Premium and Core Players
Mason Mount - Chelsea
As covered in Scouting recently, Mount has massively improved this season. In the past, people were far too optimistic well before he was ready. Now? They are likely too pessimistic. And he looks ready.
Looking very strong for FI scoring these days. We have seen one performance win this season but he’s unlucky not to get more. Poor Chelsea form hasn’t helped, and his goal output needs to improve. He gets plenty of chances though, far more than his current scoring rate would let on.
If he can just improve his finishing he could make it to that to level of a regular competitor. And such players at big EPL teams and in the England set up are rare. And potentially very valuable.
Some uncertainty around a new coach coming in, but it would seem a harsh decision to drop him after good performances.
At just 22 and available between £1.18 to £1.34 I think he is a bargain. There are of course risks – what if he doesn’t start finishing the chances he gets? What if Lampard is sacked and a new coach doesn’t fancy him?
But if he did reach to as a Chelsea and England regular I don’t think he’d have any problem clearing £4. So a good balance of risk reward here in my view.
James Maddison – As is often the case, a period of strong over optimism is followed by an over reaction the other way. Whilst I was at pains to warn of the dangers of holding a £4 to £5 Maddison in a live transfer window a few months back, a £1.09 to £1.29 Maddison is a whole different ball game.
He’s good enough for that even at Leicester, and it looks especially tempting ahead of a kind Europa R32 vs Slavia. Leicester could go far in that competition. Fringe England involvement too.
And it’s entirely possible he drops on further good transfer speculation which could power the price. Really not much to dislike here. These traders who do stick in (recklessly) at £4-5 with these players tend also to panic and are willing to sell too cheap when things don’t appear to be going their way. I have no problem punishing them for that.
Hudson-Odoi – Another strong improver this year, and a bit like Maddison, we again see unjustified over optimism followed by unjustified over pessimism.
He couldn’t be doing much more to make his case for a regular first team slot. Scored in both of his last 2 appearances. And the underlying numbers are very strong for FI purposes – given a full game he is capable of winning now. Maybe I should have made Hudson-Odoi the star draw and Mount the alternative, thinking about it.
A bit like Mount, Hudson-Odoi has that mix of genuine potential plus that desirable big EPL club/England trend fit that can be so powerful.
As with any young player they might not make it sure, but we’re dealing in the balance of risk/reward here – and starting at 88p to £1.14 I’d be very happy with that.
Timo Werner - Chelsea
Staying at Chelsea – it’s said in trading that the more toxic the asset the better the bargain. And it’s often true, provided of course the commodity being traded actually has some underlying value.
After a decent start to life at Chelsea Werner has gone seriously off the boil since November (although he finally managed to score in the cup last game). But the underlying FI numbers are not bad at all – some goals and a small improvement would see him back in contention.
Chelsea are still in the CL though with a tough game vs Atletico. He remains Germany’s main man.
Mainly the short term form. There is a risk of him flopping at Chelsea and having to transfer later on. I think Chelsea will work very hard to make sure that won’t happen even if it takes a change of coach. And if it does, he probably ends up somewhere decent anyway.
The price drop is justified after the performances of recent months. But £1.33 to £1.51? It feels too negative with a medium to long term view. He’s only 24 and there is a reason Chelsea paid just under £50m for him in Summer. And, there was a reason traders paid £4-5 for him, though £6 might have been a bit optimistic.
I can see him justifying £4+ again though with a return to form – he’d be in contention for some performance wins and as a big EPL striker he’d likely get some media too.
Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech – Both in similar boats to Werner. All 3 are underperforming (or struggling with recent injury in Ziyech’s case). But both are quality players suitable for FI and neither are too far away from putting up big scores should they return to form.
It may need a new coach to make that happen or Lampard might survive. But when prices are this close to £1 for such high quality players with so much of their careers ahead, I think the odds of betting on them recovering are good.
Ousmané Dembelé - Barcelona
Another very strong improver this season – looking close to wins.
As per recent Scouting his numbers have been extremely strong, and if he maintained this level I’d comfortably peg him at , maybe even . I’ve little doubt about his FI suitability and his general performances are justifying his first team spot these days.
The main worry is his historic injury record which we can’t really predict.
Barcelona have a tough match up vs PSG in the CL R16. Dembelé could be considered for France at the Euro but it is a long time since he pulled on an international shirt due to injury.
The injury record is a worry and some traders may want to wait longer for him to prove fitness. However at a 91p bid… given just how strong his recent level is it’s very tempting.
Pedri – Perhaps belongs more in the “high potential youth” category than the “Core” category, he is only 18! However, he’s been starting games consistently for months now and more than justifiying his place.
If you are good enough you are old enough? If that saying is good enough for Fergie it’s good enough for me.
And he is in contention for wins already and can reasonably be expected to improve given his age. £1.26 great long term value and it may come with short term rewards too.
Joao Cancelo - Manchester City
One of the players showing consistent quality right now yet going unrewarded. With these numbers – his big scores will come.
Up there amongst the strongest defenders on FI in performance terms. His first team spot in no longer in doubt like it used to be, he’s just too good to drop unless for a short term rest.
City have a kind CL R16 fixture vs Gladbach. Cancelo also plays for Portugal where he shows similar FI strength.
Little to complain about here. Pep’s tinkering maybe? But Cancelo starts consistently this season.
A slam dunk at this now ludicrous under £1 bid price. Rationally Cancelo should have no issue holding £2.
Marquinhos – PSG’s Marquinhos shows consistent underlying strength and yet has not made a splash recently. He’s close though, and could be a beneficiary from any new win mechanic that lowers the winning bar given his exceptionally high average scores.
And he is never far away from exploding with a 250+ which can happen a few times per season. Weak traders often need a comfort blanket of a recent win and that pushes his price down to 80p which is a clear bargain.
Domenico Berardi - Sassuolo
Consistently strong FI player, even at a smaller club. Recent injury has knocked the price but he won’t be out long, probably returning in early February.
A consistent FI challenger at the level even at Sassuolo. May one day move to a bigger club where he could be even better.
Getting increasing Italy minutes.
Smaller club holds him back due to lack of European competition and a lower win rate than a big club would expect. But Sassuolo are a good side and the win often enough to keep Berardi relevant.
At under £1 Berardi is a steal that is great value at his existing level, and he may well get better particularly if he ever gets the rumoured bigger club move. Picking him up during injury feels like a good call as the price has dipped.
Rodrigo De Paul – Another small club performance scoring powerhouse that can win even at Udinese. He may transfer and get even better. But De Paul manages some frightening FI numbers at times even at a small club. He’s decent already and could be exceptional if he moves to a bigger side which is rumoured.
He may even go to Leeds which would be a very interesting option as Leeds play very friendly FI stuff and the addition of some more attractive trend fit players like this would be welcome. Holders probably prefer a bigger Serie A club or… I see dream Liverpool links recently which may or may not be click bait.
Jeremie Boga – Boga has a similar ability level to team mate Berardi at Sassuolo. It’s just nobody believes me yet. He’s struggled with injury this season but has looked good recently as per Scouting.
He currently has no bid price at all and those happy to back him to establish at Sassuolo could be richly rewarded if picking him up on a rock bottom bid.
Riyad Mahrez - Manchester City
No win for Mahrez since 28 November where he pulled out a 345 vs Burnley. Just 1 goal since but he gets plenty of chances and has the underlying numbers for a goal to count.
Very strong FI player capable of explosive big scores. City have a favourable CL R16 tie vs Gladbach and Mahrez can do some damage there – and for later Gold Day knockouts where the prizes are huge.
Approaching 30 though with a long contract unil 2023.
Pep’s tinkering is an issue. He’s getting plenty of minutes although can expected to be hooked around 70 minutes in perhaps half of his starts. No Euro 2020.
With a player like this, for all the tinkering, we pretty much know that monster score is coming at some stage if he plays his usual game. Picking him up when he’s quiet with a view to potentially selling when that monster score comes is good practice. 86p to £1.08 is a steal.
Andrej Kramaric – Kramaric holders are justified in playing their tiny violin this season. He’s been unlucky to miss key Europa League stomps vs poor opposition after a struggle with corona in a key period.
Remains an FI contender though and Hoffenheim have a very tasty Europa R32 fixture to look forward to vs Molde. Still just 29 with a long contract (and a potential big move in him, Bayern were sniffing around in Summer).
Will be at the Euro with Croatia opening vs England and then playing the Czech’s and Scotland which are favourable.
Renato Sanches - Lille
A quality player recently sidelined through injury. But making his way back now and also linked to big clubs for Summer.
A very high baseline player at times, just needs to add 1 goal to get him in contention. Capable of perhaps 5-6 goals in a good season and that can be enough to net some big wins.
Strong links to Liverpool at the moment. Winnable Europa R32 vs Ajax. Will be at the Euro with Portugal.
Not many. Holders may need to wait 5-6 games for a goal to come (and hope it comes on a day when Lille win!).
At just 23 the former Golden Boy has a lot going for him these days. Capable of winning now. Involved in all competitions going. Potential big transfer. 80p to £1.06? Not much to dislike.
Florian Neuhaus – I’ve long flagged him as a high potential player on the site. He’s flourishing this season as per scouting and looking in contention for wins.
Just 23. In range of 1-2 wins a season now. Recently picking up transfer rumours for Summer which make sense – and Bayern are linked.
Making Germany squads and getting minutes now. 48p to 69p? Obvious value for a patient trader.
Lorenzo Pellegrini – As per Scouting – Pellegrini is hitting form at the right time and he almost underlined my point this weekend and was topping the leaderboard for some time.
Roma didn’t win – but it highlights that Pellegrini is looking strong and Roma have good fixtures ahead including that spicy Europa R32 vs Braga. He’s around the Italy squad, too.
At just 24 and 72p to 94p I think he’s great value.
Leon Goretzka - Bayern Munich
Goretzka is a strong player for one of the best teams and he’s really established in the last 12 months and is probably playing his best football.
A real contender for big FI scores – though on a goal drought recently that ended last game as covered in Scouting. With Kimmich back I’d expect him to get forward more and we should see more goals to get him into contention.
Bayern have kind fixtures ahead and should beat Lazio in the CL R16 too. Goretzka is a Germany regular too.
Not many. He is a player traders have to be patient with but he is very capable of some very big scores over a season. .
Just 25 years old and hitting his best career form – he’s just 73p to 88p right now. He should have very little problem justifying that and in a rational world could be at least £2 with ease.
Any new win mechanic that lowers the winning bar a bit could also really help him
Marcelo Brozovic, Luis Alberto – Another pair who have had rough patches this season yet are very capable of exploding with big scores. Both have come close recently, particularly Alberto who was a near miss just this weekend.
Both 28 with years ahead. And tiny price tags they should have no trouble whatsoever justifying when playing their usual level.