The new Premier League season is nearly upon us and that means the return of fantasy football.
Here we take a look at which players have been issued a generous price-tag and should therefore be considered as you craft your Fantasy Premier League plans for the 2013/14 season.
Defender: Javier Garrido (Norwich City), £4 million
Norwich have bought wisely in the summer, notably with Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel arriving up front, and have been handed kind opening fixtures.
Their first three games see them welcome Everton and Southampton and visit Premier League new boys Hull City—with clean sheets a possibility in all three.
Garrido joined Norwich on loan from Lazio last season and made the switch permanent in the summer. He bolstered their back line when Sebastian Bassong was struggling with injury last campaign and is likely to have a starting berth nailed down.
At £4 million, he represents a worthwhile investment before potentially being shipped out ahead of the Canaries match away at Tottenham.
Midfielder: Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City), £5.5 million
If he was listed as a striker, Bellamy would be a worthwhile option, but the fact he’s down as a midfielder makes him a must for any starting XI.
After visiting West Ham, Cardiff host Manchester City as Bellamy is reunited with his former employers. Last season Southampton almost upset the then champions in their own backyard, and Bellamy might be able to spark something similar this time around.
He has terrorised the Premier League elite in the past, which makes him a player you can trust for the long haul, although whether he is capable of playing to the standard he reached during his Manchester City days under Mark Hughes is unclear given he is now 34 years old.
Under their new Malaysian owners, Cardiff are building a side more than capable of staying in the Premier League and other worthwhile signings include recent acquisition Stephen Caulker (£5 million) and striker Andreas Cornelius (£5.5 million). Cornelius was top scorer in the Danish Superliga, but picked up a knock in preseason, according to The Mirror, and might miss the start of the season.
Striker: Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace), £5 million
Gayle’s goals last season almost helped Peterborough United beat the Championship drop, and he arrives at Crystal Palace a bit of an unknown having spent most of his career in the lower leagues with Dagenham and Redbridge.
Last time Ian Holloway managed in the Premier League his Blackpool side played with reckless abandon, always intent on outscoring the opposition. If he carries that philosophy into this season, Palace should score plenty with Gayle thriving on any opportunities he gets.
Palace’s opening fixtures are not overly kind—they play Tottenham and Manchester United in their opening four games—so Gayle is likely to be a player to keep an eye on until they get an easier run.