AN UNSETTLED WEEK. WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

After the flurry of hype towards the end of June, July saw the bonus period end and ushered in an uncertain week.

We saw drops, as expected. But, for me at least, it felt relatively mild and I don’t think that is something that will shake confidence for long.

Something I have noticed over the last couple of years is that when you get these bumpy periods in the market brought by an event like the bonus ending, you tend to get a week or so where traders do not seem to know what to do.

There is no real consensus on a “trend” this week other than buy what is rising or who hits the news.

When traders don’t really know what they should be doing, some people retreat into their shells and sit back. And others who are desperate to trade tend to pile into literally anything going.

Usually, this means that very poor quality or poor value players who have had some kind of news get rocket boosters under them and that is certainly true this week. 

There are some really poor value players rising and it is going to lead to disappointment for those who aren’t aware who they are.

That by no means applies to every player though, there is plenty of quality and value out there too.

I do not expect this unsettled spell to last long. 

If traders this week cannot agree on a “theme”, it won’t be long before the calendar pushes the trend a certain way. 

There is plenty of hype/transfer trading to come and big profits (and losses) are available there. 

But as one or two more weeks roll by, the majority of traders will want to be thinking more and more about the start of the season.

Pre-season is just around the corner and I for one will be scouring the games to get what advantage I can for myself and site members. 

Plenty of young players will get run outs particularly early on whilst senior squad members are rested further. 

And, we have to be watching established players too whose prospects can easily improve or decline significantly.

Picking out the real talent from the hyped up duds and social media pumps will not be easy. But there will be big rewards for those who get it right.

 

Risers

Reiss Nelson

Lots of young players are running at big prices they don’t deserve.

When they get good news, some traders think “Ah, surely they are now worth more/will rise more and I should buy!”. But if they were over priced to start with good news doesn’t make them inately more valuable. 

It just means that reality has caught up a little bit with their already inflated price tag and the buyer is buying poor value players.

With Nelson set to return to Arsenal and get some minutes, there are reasons to be optimistic. His stats are decent enough and he has some promise. There are far worse options out there, sure.

But there are also so many more promising players available at cheaper prices. 

It would take an unbelievable breakout season for Nelson to justify this level of hype. More likely, he will have a decent season (which isn’t good enough) or a poor one.

All of that adds up to a big gamble on Nelson breaking out as one of the stars of the EPL next season which, whilst possible, is a bit of a stretch and not something I would want to bet a lot of money on. 

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Links to Manchester United are resurfacing today as a direct Pogba replacement, although he has long been anticipated to be heading to Juventus instead.

The deal does make sense as if United can swap Pogba for Savic + £70 million or so that could be considered good business. 

Despite a poor season, Savic is regarded as one of the best midfield prospects in Europe even now and is still just 24. And that talent should translate to FI, too, he has the right attributes even if he has not shown it much so far.

He was a first pick for my New Trader Challenge on the opening day of last season. He ended up being arguably my worst trade though as I held him throughout waiting for him to catch fire and he never did.

That disappointing season has kept his price down though and his time may come. United would be a slam dunk for holders. But even at Juventus I could see him doing well. He has performance quality and if he has a better season he could make an impact.

The only outcome I would not want to see is remaining at Lazio where he was unsettled last year and did not deliver his best.

 

Fallers

Paul Pogba

My view on the latest Pogba drama has been fairly straight forward for the last few months. 

Outside of the EPL, his prospects are significantly weakened. He will always get some media, but it is rational to expect that to decline outside of the glare of the EPL.

Performance wise, if he goes to a club where he is not the first choice penalty taker (quite likely) his prospects take a very significant hit. He is very reliant on penalties for much of his performance returns.

If however he did remain in the EPL, this period of uncertainy has beaten down his price to a spot where he would look great value.

Overall assessment being, and has been for months, that this is a gamble that has both a big pay off and a big trap.

But to me, you are fighting the trend here because the transfer is the “wrong” way. Even if you believe a player will do just fine outside of the EPL, traders hate it when a star leaves the EPL and trying to fight against that is hard work.

Even if you think the transfer won’t happen, plenty of people will fear it and want out.

I get why others like to take these gambles.

For me, it’s just something I would never do.

Perhaps because I have developed my strategy over the years based on experience of “tight aggressive” poker. It’s complicated in detail but the overall principle is super simple – only bet on players that are overwhelmingly likely to win you money. Put down anything that is a gamble. 

With the wide variety of profitable targets on FI, I see no need to do anything else. Of course, it’s not that easy because you need the luxury of good research to do this which not everyone has the time or ability to do.

That doesn’t mean I pretend this sort of player doesn’t exist. Rather, if something concrete at this point came out to say Pogba is staying at United, I’d be straight in there at the cut price for sure.

But I’ll leave the gamble to the gamblers and come in if and when the circumstances point to a near slam dunk profit.  

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