On Saturday I discussed the start of a shift away from the hyped kids of early friendlies and towards players who are more likely to be competing for dividends. 

That has definitely accelerated since and depending on where you were positioned, it could have been a very good few days. Or, it might have been a bit of a gut punch if you held over priced players too long.

The big news today is that changes to the performance scoring system will be announced tonight at 19:00 BST (be online and do not miss this if at all possible!). Members can login from 19:00 BST where I will give live analysis of the changes announced and give my reaction and analysis of the players likely to benefit (or not!) before the market reopens at 19:30 BST.

It has been my expectation that hype for scoring changes would drag thinking back towards likely dividend winners and that seems to be the case.

In the coming weeks we will start to see more settled and senior squads in friendlies as teams gear up to start the season. That will put many youth teamers back on the bench (and sometimes out of the squad altogether).

In recent months we have had transfer gossip and rumour driving prices. Which is fine, I’ve adapted my strategy to account for all that and done well. But it has skewed prices in the market a certain way.

Knowing who is really good as opposed to just hyped is important at all times of year. But in early season it is critical to know who is really good because it is the players who get those first wins and then go onto string consistent wins or at least big scores together that will become the most desirable (the best ones also need to fit the trends, of course).

You can’t just assume last season’s successes will continue in the same vein either, and there will be underperformers from last season who smash it this year.

I’ve been spending days and days going through all of the pre-season data for the members scouting area. Even then, with so many senior players being rested due to the South American/African tournaments and youngsters being given run outs in the early games, it’s not easy to pick straight up winners and losers based on just a few early friendlies.

The picture is coming together though and the later pre-season games and first competitive games will keep giving more and more clues.

As for tonight, I am hoping for an “as expected” scenario with modest point scoring added for key passes, aeriel duels and dribbles. They will be good changes that should enjoy majority support and come as a surprise to nobody who has been paying attention.

If FI do that, I’ll be happy and don’t expect to have to do much of anything – I already hold strong players who will benefit from those metrics. If I can avoid it, I never adopt a “wait and see” approach on these things when we can make reasonable educated guesses.

If FI do anything more funky.. well. I have insured myself by holding players who are not dependant on any assumptions about new scoring measures – they are good anyway but may get even better.

I do not expect the unexpected tonight though. That would be bad management this close to the new season and I think they are well aware of that. I can’t see why they would have any interest in creating havoc when things are chugging along very nicely.

 

Risers

Kylian Mbappé

Lots of money dropped into Mbappé this week. That could be for a number of reasons. 

He still has some vague transfer rumours including to Manchester City. Real are another option. Although I think with PSG resigned to losing Neymar this Summer or next, they will try to hang onto him tooth and nail. And they are offering him a huge contract. 

I think both those moves, particularly City, would see the price rise if it happened. Real would certainly get a lot of attention although it is a double edged sword as he will have a slightly tougher time for performance outside of Ligue 1. There is also the possibility that any transfer buyers leave if he signs a new PSG contract. 

Another possibility is that people expect Mbappé to benefit from the performance scoring changes. He has long been the poster boy for “why doesn’t this guy get rewarded on FI” and held up as an example of why it needs to change.

He should benefit a bit, although there are players who would benefit far more (full analysis in members area). What may surprise many is that whilst he makes a lot of dribbles he also fails a lot of them. Particularly if giving away the ball in a take on attempt is punished like a giveaway pass is, he might suffer for this. If they just give a positive score for successful dribbles, he should get a decent bump. And for key passes too.

In any case, he has been improving a bit as a performance player under the existing system in recent months. I don’t expect him to be anywhere near the consistency of the top performance players but I would think he can do better than his 3 +200 scores from last term.

Memphis Depay

Could be a somewhat curious rise unless you believe in the power of rap to boost a players price (it’s a long shot I’m not going to lie).

He has come up to £2 from £1.60 in recent weeks without any really major news.

I’d put this down to increased optimism of him getting a more pivotal role in Fekir’s absence, possibly including penalties. Possibly, some diligent nerds (love you guys) have spotted he should do fairly well out of the rumoured performance scoring changes too as he makes a fair few key passes (though there are players who will benefit more he isn’t a total stand out). 

And, he’s a decent performance player as it is (although can be very hot and cold as we have seen) so some kind of shift back towards him and other players like him at this time is not unusual.

Fallers

Rhian Brewster

On Saturday I discussed how brittle the prices of players are when they are unlikely to play regularly and running very high prices.

All it has taken is a failure to score in a game and a lukewarm comment from Klopp about a bit of tiredness and he has had a savaging on the market. Klopp was actually being complimentary overall, too.

But these hype trains are just that. Almost everyone involved knows it is silly. They are buying because others are buying and as soon as that train shows the smallest wobble many traders are just waiting for any minor sign that they need to be the first off.

For the “true believers” who think the player is going to be the next big thing, their new fickle friends just left them high and dry.

Worse, passengers on other similar trains see this happening and start jumping off. In the same way that a rise for one player pulls up another similar player, a drop for a player creates fear in other similar players.

My advice – never be the “true believer”. Not when the prices gets this high, anyway. The failure rate of next big things doesn’t need discussing in detail here, readers can look it up. It’s big. 

So how did Brewster really do? Across 6 pre-season friendlies, his baseline stats are all fairly average to weak. In the first 3, his goal threat was very good (although a penalty helped him out). Across the back 3, his stats were much the same except the goal threat fell off a cliff. 

On the evidence so far, it’s actually quite unlikely that even with 90 minutes every week he would be putting up regular big performance scores in reality, at least anytime in the next season or two. You would have to be a true believer in him acheiving Rashford/Kane level and pulling in media for it to be worth the hold.

At least, after his price fall, he isn’t quite competing with those two for price anymore!

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