The striker swap shop is back in full swing as Fantasy Premier League managers come to terms with the effects of the international break.
The game’s leading points scorer, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, faces a spell on the sidelines after being injured in a car crash and though second-placed Romelu Lukaku is fit after an ankle knock, Alvaro Morata is another player giving his managers headaches.
The likes of Gabriel Jesus, Jamie Vardy and, if you have the extra money in hand, Harry Kane make for natural replacements – but could there be an under-the-radar fix on offer?
Michy Batshuayi has scored all of two points so far and played only 98 minutes of Premier League football this season, but has been prolific in other competitions and could benefit if Morata is forced to miss any time.
The Belgian is owned by less than one per cent of managers and has barely made a ripple in Press Association Sport’s “heat index”, which tracks players’ overall selection percentage as well as the change in their popularity over time. Scores range from 100 to -100 and Batshuayi is on 1.10.
At only £8.1m he could help you steal a march on your rivals in your mini-league, even if only for a short period – and there will be replacements available once he returns to Chelsea’s bench, with Vardy, Roberto Firmino, Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck similarly priced.
Eden Hazard could also take on a more advanced role to cover for Morata – the £10.5m midfielder is probably too costly in a single transfer, but if you can make the finances work he looks primed to find his form after a slow start.
The same can be said of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, albeit at an even steeper £11.9m. He and Hazard both started their respective clubs’ last games but remain outside the top 100 in selection percentage.
Chelsea also have a friendly run of upcoming fixtures, against Crystal Palace, Watford and Bournemouth – but the same can be said for the league leaders…
Simulations based on bookmakers’ odds average out to a projected haul of 6.99 points for the Blues across those three games, but Manchester City are the first team all season to crack the seven-point barrier in Press Association Sport’s fixture difficulty projections.
Stoke, Burnley and West Brom are not expected to trouble City, particularly with the former two visiting the Etihad Stadium – their 7.55 projected points help to explain the £10.5m Jesus’ heat score of 23, third in the league.
David Silva, who leads the Premier League in assists, is second at 30.2 – behind only Tottenham striker Harry Kane on 39.8 – while Nicolas Otamendi, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane also feature in a blue-tinted top 10.
Morata, who at one point would have been third, crashed out as the uncertainty over his availability grew while Aguero’s -86.2 is the lowest heat score in the league.
Perhaps the best value player so far clocks in only 10th in the heat index – Burnley’s £4.6m full-back Stephen Ward has only three points fewer than Silva (£8.5m) and four fewer than Kane (£12.7m).
Huddersfield’s surprising start has also provided value but approach with care – they and Bournemouth are each projected to pick up under two points from their next three games.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Harry Kane will stay at Tottenham but only if the club are ready to match his ambition and reject bids of up to £200million, according to former Spurs midfielder Darren Anderton.
Tottenham have shown a willingness to sell star players in recent years, with Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick all departing for just over £150million combined.
Kane alone would likely top that in today’s market but Spurs are adamant their prized asset, born in Walthamstow and reared through the club’s academy, is not for sale.
The 24-year-old was the only Englishman named on a 30-man shortlist to win the Ballon d’Or on Monday, having scored 43 goals in 37 matches this year. He also has 15 goals in his last 10 for Tottenham and England.
Real Madrid took Modric and Bale in 2012 and 2013 respectively and will get a closer look at Kane when Spurs head to the Santiago Bernabeu next week for the first of two Champions League group-stage ties.
Anderton believes it is up to Tottenham to ensure Kane never returns to seal a transfer.
“You hope he’s Tottenham through and through,” Anderton told Press Association Sport.
“The way he plays and the way he acts, it certainly looks like he’s happy where he is and hopefully he doesn’t forget that.
“I think he’ll want to complete his journey at Tottenham. He’ll want to play in that new stadium and he’ll want to be part of the Tottenham team that wins the league.
“But the club have got to go with him on that. If the offer comes in from say Real Madrid, it will be up to Spurs to turn it down. If you look at his age, his talent, the way he is, he’s got to be worth around £150million, even £200million now.
Harry Kane: “I want to be one of the best players in the world.”#UCL this season…
👕 2 games
⚽️ 5 goals pic.twitter.com/xoH4nncAwf
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 11, 2017
“If they say yes, Harry will get the chance to speak to them and I’m sure if he walks into the Bernabeu with an opportunity to sign, he’d find it very difficult not to. And would you blame him? You couldn’t, absolutely not.”
Kane has collected the Premier League’s Golden Boot award for the last two years in a row but appears to be reaching even greater heights this season.
He has five goals from Tottenham’s opening two Champions League fixtures while successive winners for England, as captain, have secured victories over Slovenia and Lithuania in the past week.
Anderton is backing Kane to be made permanent England skipper and says the forward’s performances remind him of how Alan Shearer used to lead from the front.
“Harry can score a goal from any situation and as players you like to see someone leading the line,” Anderton said.
“For me, seeing Alan Shearer at Wembley smash someone like Scotland’s Colin Hendry in a big game, it gave us that buzz. You see your team-mate like that and you think, ‘We’re winning this, we’re up for this’.
“I think Harry Kane is that sort of player for Tottenham and England, and with him having the captaincy, it will take him even further forward.
“He’s still young but I think the players look up to him. I think he would be a good pick.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Liverpool have been dealt a huge blow just days before the visit of arch-rivals Manchester United after Sadio Mane was ruled out for six weeks with a hamstring injury.
The pacy forward was injured on international duty with Senegal and his absence could not have come at a worse time as manager Jurgen Klopp looks to get their season back on track after an indifferent September.
“The winger was substituted 89 minutes into Senegal’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday,” said a Liverpool statement.
“And it has now been confirmed that he picked up an injury during that fixture that could keep him out of action for up to six weeks.”
Mane, who scored 13 Premier League goals last season despite missing the whole of January due to the African Nations Cup and the final six weeks of the campaign with a knee injury, has three in four league matches so far.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 10, 2017
Provided by Press Association Sport