Another big night of Champions League action and it does show what happens when expectations of teams comfortably progressing are turned on their head. Chaos. 

I like to run a time efficient trading style that does not rely on just one game for success. You don’t have to monitor every minute of every game. But when it comes to knockout football, you really kind of do or it is better not to gamble with it at all. 

The big news of today is actually the Chelsea transfer ban which has huge implications. You know a club is in trouble when the manager is the featured image on my Daily not the players.

We need to see what happens with an appeal because if the appeal buys them this Summer then they could be forced to do a lot of business. Clubs will make them pay through the nose for players as they exploit their desperate situation. 

And if the ban stays then Chelsea will have to make do with what they have and their reluctance to blood their own youth might need shaking up. 

Whether this actually works in the favour of some young players FI prices is another matter. Getting regular minutes and being a let down is almost the worst thing that can happen to a hyped bench player. And what about Hazard? Will he be allowed to leave? Much to ponder.

Risers

Callum Hudson-Odoi

This was probably one of Hudson-Odoi’s best performances yet and it was a nicely taken goal after an absolute peach of a pass from Willian. 

The market liked that but what they seem to like even better is the breaking news as I write of Chelsea’s transfer ban.

It’s possible they can appeal it and that may give the the Summer to settle any business before the ban kicks in, we will have to watch that. 

But what does it mean? Surely, they are going to have to stick with any players they have and nobody is going to be allowed to leave unless they really are surplus.

For Hudson-Odoi, this could mean more minutes at Chelsea. But much of the reason for the inflated price was hope of a summer transfer drama. If this is easily shut down by “we aren’t selling anyone for any price because we can’t buy any replacements” then that will not be a drama.

If the ban is lifted, holders might have better prospects if he still tries to force his way out.

If we are buying for performance alone, even a Hudson-Odoi starting 90 minutes every game for the rest of the season is not going to pay back much of that price tag. Will people want to hold a no drama player over the Summer and into the new season based on performance prospects alone? I’m not sure. 

You’d have to believe that he was worth the 3 year hold for the dividends and I am not sure everyone is that patient. Most people want quick growth now and once that prospect is limited people get bored. 

Back to the player himself, it was a good game for Hudson-Odoi and whilst the performance score was soft including the goal he has showed that he has the right ingredients for a good FI player. And not for the first time. 

The reason I don’t get excited by this trade anymore is purely the price. I am more than happy to pick these players up at the £2 mark and let others carry them to £6+ but you will never find me jumping on something like this unless there is a near guaranteed media dividend bonanza on the way.

Fallers

Lionel Messi

A big Messi (and messy) debate on social media in the last 24 hours as he takes an apparently unexplained price hit.

The key talking point has been age and the argument about whether he is declining or not. My opinion is that in all probability, he has at least 2-3 years to go at the top level. He is showing no sign of  a dip and every signal is that he has the desire to carry on. Others argue differently and it’s completely open to debate but it’s also not the main factor at work here. 

It’s about perception. Whilst Messi may indeed be a superhuman who defies the usual rules, the fact is, after 30, the market gets twitchy. It is mentally ingrained in us that once a player is past 30 they will be heading towards retirement, and this is always going to weigh on the price. If he was 27, he would be comfortably keeping pace with the Pogba’s and Neymar’s. But he’s not. So he won’t.

The other factor is information. We know almost everything about Messi apart from when he will retire or decline. We know that he is perfect for the FI scoring system. We know he gets some media attention. His returns will be consistent and substantial. You are going to get steady dividend returns but very little capital appreciation. 

But there is no buzz or hype. No hope that he could improve. And rightly or wrongly, the market values that hope highly (far too highly, but there we are). You only have to look at Mbappé to know that. His price is almost entirely supported by hope for better days. 

And, we have also seen Ronaldo take another pasting who shares many similar attributes. So you get contagion. Once one player starts to fade, people look around for similar players and get worried. 

This is something I talk about fairly often but in the context of the youth bubble which will pop in the same way.

As we see one or two hyped young players not live up to the impossible expectations in the coming year or so, traders will look around and get worried about other players who share similar traits and prices.

Julian Brandt

Another example of what happens to teams who are expected to comfortably progress when those expectations are shattered. 

Brandt took the brunt of this as opposed to someone like Havertz because people are fine to hold the latter on the basis of very strong transfer speculation. 

I believe Brandt is in the same league as Havertz for talent comfortably though, and Brandt does have some speculation if not quite of the same intensity. 

So, the main reason to hold Brandt was not actually a European run. If you do believe he will get to the Summer as a transfer suitable pick, these massive price knockdowns can be the ideal time to buy.

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FIT

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