There are still seven weeks to go until the domestic campaign gets up and running, so there is plenty of time to swap those headless shirts in and out of your XI between now and the opening weekend in August.
Usual suspects like Mo Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Harry Kane will be bought by millions of managers once more, but a £100m transfer kitty means that books have to be balanced and cheaper players have to be signed in order to free up sufficient budget for the free-scoring superstars.
Promoted clubs generally offer better value at the start of the season than more established ones and are, therefore, a reasonable place to start when assembling your 15-man squad. Leeds United pair Patrick Bamford and Stuart Dallas were initially priced at just £5.5m and £4.5m respectively last year.
FPL’s reclassified players – in full:
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – Midfielder to Forward
- Stuart Dallas (Leeds) – Defender to Midfielder
- Cheikou Kouyate (Crystal Palace) – Midfielder to Defender
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) – Defender to Midfielder
- Matt Ritchie (Newcastle) – Midfielder to Defender
- Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle) – Midfielder to Forward
Identifying the next Bamford in attack or the next Dallas in defence is a good way of stealing a march on your FPL rivals in the opening weeks and there are some interesting FPL options from this year’s trio of promoted clubs – Brentford, Norwich and Watford – to think about.
Here are three players from each club to consider signing for gameweek one:
Ivan Toney (Brentford)
A £6.5m price tag is punchy for a newly-promoted striker, but in this case, it is probably warranted as Ivan Toney smashed the record for the most Championship goals in a single season with 33 in 48 games (including the play-offs). How Toney adapts to playing in the top-flight will go some way to determining where Brentford finish in the table.
Position: Forward Price: £6.5m
Ismaila Sarr (Watford)
Watford did remarkably well to hang onto Ismaila Sarr following their relegation to the Championship in 2020. The 23-year-old top-scored for the Hornets last season with 13 goals and demonstrated his FPL pedigree by scoring twice and providing an assist in a 3-0 win over Liverpool in February 2020.
Position: Midfielder Price: £6.0m
Max Aarons (Norwich)
Tipped to follow Emi Buendia out of the Carrow Road exit door this summer after another impressive campaign. The attack-minded right back hasn’t yet morphed into an assist machine, supplying only two in the Championship last season, but he looks to be the best pick out of Norwich’s defensive options.
Position: Defender Price: £4.5m
Rico Henry (Brentford)
Selected in the Championship Team of the Season after another exceptional campaign at left back. Rico Henry provides plenty of cut and thrust from that area of the pitch and was Brentford’s most creative defender last season, fashioning 25 chances. The Bees also kept 18 clean sheets last season.
Position: Defender Price: £4.5m
Teemu Pukki (Norwich)
Teemu Pukki made an explosive start to the season the last time Norwich City were in the Premier League, scoring six goals in his first five games, including a hat-trick against Newcastle. The goals dried up a bit after that purple patch, but Pukki rediscovered his goalscoring touch last term, netting 26 times to fire his team to promotion.
Position: Forward Price: £6.0m
Daniel Bachmann (Watford)
Daniel Bachmann has enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2021. The 26-year-old established himself as Watford’s first-choice goalkeeper after Ben Foster suffered a broken finger in January and was picked as Austria’s No 1 for Euro 2020. A penalty-saving expert, Bachmann saved three in a 3-0 shootout win over Oxford United last September.
Position: Goalkeeper Price: £4.5m
Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford)
The only member of Brentford’s “BMW” strikeforce to stick around, following the departures of Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa and Said Benrahma to West Ham last summer. Bryan Mbeumo continued to impress in a new-look frontline last season, scoring eight times and providing 10 assists, the joint-most in Brentford’s squad alongside that man Toney.
Position: Midfielder Price: £5.5m
Milot Rashica (Norwich)
A big-money arrival from Werder Bremen earlier this, Kosovo winger Milot Rashica hasn’t been added to the game just yet but is worthy of consideration judging by his form in Germany. From the start of 2018-19 onwards, Rashica scored 20 goals and registered 11 assists in the Bundesliga. The onus will be on him to fill the sizeable void left by Emi Buendia.
Position: Midfield Price: Unknown
Joao Pedro (Watford)
Still only 19, highly-rated Brazilian forward Joao Pedro established himself as Watford’s leading striker during their promotion-winning season, ending the campaign with a respectable nine goals. A versatile player, Pedro can play on either flank so he won’t necessarily suffer from Emmanuel Dennis’ arrival from Club Brugge.
Position: Forward Price: £5.5m
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