Fantasy Focus

New kids on the block

September 14, 2012
By Dale Johnson
(Archive)

With the transfer window slamming shut on a Friday this year, it meant many players moved clubs past the weekend registration deadline. It's been two long weeks since then, leaving fantasy managers with some serious decisions to make for this gameweek.

Here we pick out six transfers from the final week of the window and consider their fantasy merits.

Charlie Adam, Stoke, midfielder, £6.2m

Charlie Adam Liverpool
GettyImagesCharlie Adam: Proved at Blackpool he is capable of both scoring and creating in the Premier League

Adam started last season at Liverpool as a great fantasy signing, even if his actual performances were not particularly up to scratch. Back as the big fish in a small pond down the road at Stoke City could make him an attractive proposition again.

Granted, there must be questions about how Adam will fit into Stoke's style, seen more as a long-ball team. But the Scot has never been shy of the Hollywood pass, which many could also view as the long ball.

He got six assists for Liverpool in the Premier League last season, which means he created 13% of their goals. Add to that his set-piece prowess, plus 12 goals and eight assists for Blackpool. His price tag of £6.2 million may put some off.

Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, striker, £5.4m

Benteke heads to Villa Park from Belgian club Genk armed with a goalscoring record many would envy: 19 goals 37 games. Although the latest to earn the title of "the next Didier Drogba", strikers from the Lowlands have something of a chequered history. For every Ruud van Nistelrooy there's ten Mateja Kezmans.

Those two players arrived in the Premier League from Dutch football, whereas Benteke is from the neighbouring country which appears to have a youth programme second only to Spain at the moment. Will Benteke prove to be the exception to the rule, a hyped Belgian footballer who doesn't manage to hit the heights?

Priced at £5.4 million, the 21-year-old is a player who, if he produces, will be a bargain, but with Darren Bent the frontline striker he may have to bide his time. Villa's fixture list makes the full Belgium international a tempting gamble.

Andy Carroll, West Ham, striker, £6.8m

Another Liverpool outcast, Carroll did get the opportunity to make his West Ham debut in the previous gameweek having signed on the Thursday evening. The perfect Sam Allardyce player, a tall and powerful forward, he showed plenty against Fulham to suggest he will be a menace once again.

After enduring 18 painful months at Liverpool, he suffered more on his debut when forced off by a hamstring injury. It was rumoured he would be out for six weeks, but there is speculation he could even return this weekend at Norwich City.

A price of £6.8 million seems high at the moment, and with uncertainty over his injury status it would be wrong to recommend Carroll as a signing. But it would also be folly to forget a record of 11 goals in 18 games for Newcastle in the top-flight, with Kevin Nolan also in that side.

Clint Dempsey, Tottenham, midfielder, £8.2m

After being the top-scoring midfielder in the fantasy game last season, USA international Dempsey understandably started the new campaign with an expensive price tag. His self-imposed exile from the Fulham team didn't stop 10% of managers signing him and he has been popular in the transfer market over the international break.

But it is crucial to remember that, in the short-term, Dempsey will be searching for fitness having not played. It is going to take weeks before he is fully up to speed and may be used in the Europa League in the first instance.

Then you have to consider just where Dempsey will fit into the team and how much he will play. He would probably have walked into most other teams but with Gareth Bale usually on the left for Spurs and Gylfi Sigurdsson having signed to play in behind the forward line, it could be that Dempsey is more a rotation player than the main man of the team.

Maicon, Manchester City, defender, £6.6m

Maicon: Worked with Mancini at Inter
PA PhotosMaicon: Worked with Roberto Mancini at Inter and will be reunited at Man City

The danger here is that fantasy managers go for the name rather than assessing the true value of the player. There was a time when Maicon was considered one of the greatest attacking full-backs in the game, but it is fair to say that he has become yesterday's man.

Spurs fans are already looking forward to the day Maicon heads to White Hart Lane after Bale beat him time and time again in the Champions League two seasons ago, and that is probably a more accurate picture of the Brazilian today.

Then there is the question of whether Maicon will actually play, even though Micah Richards is out injured. Pablo Zabaleta has been playing on the right of the defence, though City have shipped five goals, but you'd expect that side of the City defence will see plenty of rotation.

Gaston Ramirez, Southampton, midfielder, £6.0m

One of the transfer sagas of the summer, Ramirez seemed bound for Liverpool when he headed to London 2012 with Uruguay before he surprisingly ended up on the south coast at Premier League new boys Southampton.

While the Saints' results have been poor, losing all three matches, they have been hitting the back of the net. So can Ramirez provide the ammunition for the likes of Rickie Lambert, who has shown he can get goals in the top flight?

Ramirez scored eight goals and provided four assists, meaning he was directly involved in 29% of the Serie A club's goals last season. It proves he is a dangerous weapon, and as only 0.1% of managers have brought him in there is the chance to differentiate your squad from your rivals.

Champions League

Our Champions League game is now live and ready for your entries, so make sure you pick your 15-man squad and take on your friends.

We also have a predictions game for the new season, so why not see if you know more about the Champions League than your mates.

Going mobile

ESPN FC's new Premier Fantasy mobile site has just gone live, meaning you can follow your points live during a matchday and make transfers easily without fiddling around with the actual website on your device. Simply go to, or perhaps even bookmark, this link - http://es.pn/premier_mw_UK - and you will be able to waste away all your transfers at your leisure.

• Remember you can discuss the game on the Premier Fantasy Forum and follow me on Twitter: @dalejohnsonESPN. Also, you can email fantasy@soccernet.com