The wait is over! The new season of the Fantasy Premier League (FPL), the most popular fantasy football game in the world has begun and with it, the battle between Fantasy managers to be the best has commenced too.
More than 2.7 million fantasy football managers have already registered their teams on the official FPL website. Owing to the influx of a large amount of TV money, Premier League clubs have splashed out millions of dollars on new foreign imports from across the world. Some of these players have the potential to significantly alter the course of fantasy manager campaigns and catapult the gaffer to the upper echelons of the FPL leader board. We have carefully handpicked five such recruits from outside the Premier League for your fantasy teams:
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.5m) – Manchester United
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho signed the mercurial Swede from French champions Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in June. With an enviable goal scoring record at PSG, the self proclaimed “God of Manchester” has the potential to set the Premier League on fire. Although he comes at a premium price of £11.5m, 4 out of 10 fantasy managers have already snapped up his services. His goal against Bournemouth over the weekend may just bump up his price, grab him before it does!
2. Michy Batshuayi (£9.0m) – Chelsea
Desperate to add some firepower upfront for the new campaign, Chelsea signed 22 year old Michy Batshuayi for £33m from French club Marseille. Having found the back of the net 17 times last season, Batshuayi was the lone bright spark in a Marseille side that struggled to a 13th place finish in Ligue 1 at the end of the campaign. With Remy out of favour and Diego Costa struggling for form and fitness, the Belgian international presents an excellent alternative to the Chelsea front line that is expected to prosper under new manager Antonio Conte.
3. Alvaro Negredo (£6.5m) – Middlesbrough
Newly promoted Middlesbrough made a huge statement of intent when they announced the signing of former Spanish international Alvaro Negredo from Valencia. Nicknamed the “Beast”, the former Manchester City striker had an underwhelming campaign for Valencia last season, scoring just 5 goals in 25 appearances for the club. Negredo, who is a Premier League winner with Manchester City during the 2013-14 campaign, is priced at a modest £6.5m. His partnership with fellow striker Jordan Rhodes will be pivotal in preserving Middlesbrough’s top flight status come the end of the season.
4. Leroy Sane (£8.0m) – Manchester City
New Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola secured the services of winger Leroy Sane from German club Schalke for an undisclosed fee. The 20 year old German sensation is considered as one of Europe’s brightest young prospects. He will add further steel and quality to a Manchester City midfield which already boasts of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure and Nolito. Although Sane is likely to face stiff competition for a place in the Citizens midfield, his explosive potential will bode well for the more adventurous fantasy managers.
5. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£9.5) – Manchester United
The Armenian midfielder, who accumulated 11 goals and 15 assists for German club Borussia Dortmund last season, is another great fantasy prospect this season. Priced at a lofty £9.5m, Mkhitaryan is a versatile player who can occupy either wing and can be deployed behind the striker. He is a great addition to a Manchester United midfield which has lacked that creative spark since Sir Alex Ferguson departed the club three years ago. Sitting currently in 8.9% teams, the Armenian has the potential to be a great early season differential for fantasy managers.