EPL Window Watch: Week Two

Things are picking up as we enter the second week of the window and Bournemouth remain the busiest club by some way. Whilst an honorable mention here goes to Steven Caulker, Lewis Grabban and Jonjo Shelvey who have moved to Liverpool, Bournemouth and Newcastle respectively, this roundup is solely limited to newcomers to the Premier League.

To help you make sense of it all from a daily fantasy football perspective, here’s a closer look at the newcomers and whether you should be making space for them.

Benik Afobe, AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth followed up the capture of Juan Iturbe by smashing their transfer record by splashing out £10 million on Afobe.

What to expect?

Afobe started his career in the youth ranks at Arsenal and has hit the ground running since arriving at Wolves last season. In his 46 games for the Old Gold, the striker had 22 goals at a rate of just under one every two games.

This season so far, Afobe had nine goals in a Wolves team that is chugging along in mid-table and bereft of its most productive player from last season Bakary Sako, who contributed 15 goals and 10 assists before moving to Crystal Palace. It goes a long way to explaining why Afobe’s production has dropped off since last season.

Looking over the stats, Afobe averages 2.4 shots and 2 aerials won per game this season. That last statistic is down from last season’s 2.6 won per game but shows he will link well with Bournemouth’s legion of wide men that includes Matt Ritchie, Junior Stanislas, new signing Juan Iturbe and Max Gradel, once the Ivorian is fit.

2.4 shots per game would be good enough to be in the top 20 in the Premier League and is level with Bournemouth’s best man in this category, Stanislas. In short, Afobe should produce the goods and be good value for £10 million.

How much will he play?

With Callum Wilson out for a large chunk of the remainder of the season and both Josh King and Glenn Murray failing to fire, Afobe and Lewis Grabban will be Eddie Howe’s first choices at centre forward. Afobe started on Tuesday night against West Ham in what could be a sign of things to come for the South Coast side.

What will he cost?

Afobe is expected to be priced at between $4,000 and $5,000 until we get a realistic feel on how much he will play.

Ivo Pinto, Norwich City

Norwich moved to bolster their troublesome right back position by signing up a full back that few people have heard of. Could he be the next Norfolk Cafu?

What to expect?

Pinto has played in Eastern Europe for first CFR Cluj and most recently Dinamo Zagreb with enough data available on his European travails to come to a reasonably good conclusion on the right back.

In three Champions League games for Dinamo Zagreb this season Pinto had 2.3 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game but has put in no crosses and it suggests he is very much a defensive-minded option for gaffer Alex Neil. Figures from last season’s Europa League for the same side back this up even further.

Pinto played 6 games and averaged a respectable 3.3 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game. The other statistics seem to confirm that he’s not a huge fan of getting forward and he had 2 dribbles and 1.2 crosses per game in that season.

Norwich currently flit between Andre Wisdom and Russell Martin at right back and it will allow Martin to play as a full time centre back. Looking at Wisdom’s stats so far this season, it’s clear that Pinto will play ahead of him. Wisdom has averaged just 2.3 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game in his 6 appearances. He also only averages 0.4 crosses per game as it stands.

How much will he play?

Pinto will be fighting it out with Wisdom for the right back slot and don’t be surprised if Neil plays one or the other depending on the matchup. He could even revert to Martin in games that he wants a particularly defensive lineup.

What will he cost?

Pinto will start life at between $2,200 and $2,800 before moving up depending on his fantasy point output.

Jan Kirchhoff, Sunderland

Sam Allardyce is still working to impose his style on Sunderland and moving to sign a defender from Bayern Munich is a good way to get closer to sewing up Premier League survival.

What to expect?

Kirchhoff spends most of his time playing as a centre back and has yet to play a Bundesliga game for Bayern so far this season. That in mind, we’ll look at the 14 times he played for Schalke last season.

Kirchhoff has a reasonable set of statistics from that season including 1.6 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, and 1.4 dribbles per game plus an 81.6% pass completion percentage. The defender won 62% of his aerial duels and, when compared to Sunderland’s other centre backs, his success in the air is below that of John O’Shea (72%) and Wes Brown (69%), but marginally above both Younes Kaboul and Sebastien Coates (both 59%).

It’s fairly unlikely that he’ll be filling in at defensive midfield due to the presence of Lee Cattermole and Yann M’Vila but he could be a valuable presence in a back three alongside experienced campaigner O’Shea and Coates, Kaboul or Brown.

One mark against Kirchhoff is that he has been dogged by an Achilles tendon problem for the last couple of seasons and it explains why he missed some 15 games for Schalke last term.

How much will he play?

The transition from Bundesliga football to the Premier League is not a big one and given that Sunderland have conceded the most goals this season (39), Allardyce would appear open to trying anything to stop the rot.

What will he cost?

Not a lot. Central defenders are typically priced at no more than $3,000 and playing for the Premier League’s worst defence means he won’t be priced above $2,200.

Dame N’Doye, Sunderland

Allardyce’s second signing of the window is at the other end of the pitch where he has moved to secure the services of former Hull City striker N’Doye on loan until the end of the season from Trabzonspor.

What to expect?

The 30-year-old Senegal international will be familiar to many of you thanks to the short time he spent at Hull City as part of Steve Bruce’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to keep the Tigers in the Premier League. If it wasn’t for N’Doye things would have been far more perilous.

In 13 starts and two sub appearances, N’Doye performed like a duck taking to water by scoring five goals and grabbing one assist in what was an impressive six months. Fast-forward to the current season and he has just two assists in a total of seven starts and five sub appearances at Trabzonspor that smacks of a player that has failed to settle since relocating to Turkey.

For Hull his numbers were very impressive indeed. 2.8 shots per game and 2.1 times fouled per game were enough to convince Trabzonspor to splash the cash. No one gets near to his shot numbers among Sunderland’s current crop of forwards with Defoe closest on 1.9 shots per game.

How much will he play?

Sunderland have been crying out for someone that can be a legitimate focal point for their attacking play and in that sense N’Doye fits the bill. Expect him to play alongside Jermain Defoe or even as a lone striker. He can do both with little fuss.

What will he cost?

Somewhere around the $4,000 mark unless he starts scoring loads of goals like last season. Then he could start approaching $5,500 territory.

Henri Saivet, Newcastle United

Y’know, because it’s been a few months since Newcastle dipped into their pockets for a French-based midfielder, Saivet is on his way to Tyneside on a five-and-a-half year deal.

What to expect?

Unlike some of the players signed during the January transfer window, Newcastle are getting a player that has been an almost ever present for Bordeaux in Ligue 1 this season.

Looking at his stats over in France, Saivet seems like the perfect replacement for the China-bound Cheick Tiote. This season Saivet has averaged 3.8 tackles, 1.7 dribbles, 1.8 fouls drawn and 1.7 interceptions per game. The tackles figure would be the third highest in the Premier League and suggests he will add some much needed bite to the midfield.

Tiote has hardly appeared this season but last season posted figures that are remarkably similar to Saivet. He had 3.1 tackles, 1.5 dribbles, 0.9 shots, 0.9 fouls drawn and 2.1 interceptions per game. Where the two of them do differ is fouls committed per game where Tiote has 2.2 and Saivet just 0.9. It reflects how the Premier League demands a different type of player

How much will he play?

There is a lot of competition for places in central midfield with Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita all competing for just two places alongside Saivet.

What will he cost?

Given the number of interceptions and tackles the Senegalese brings to the table, he will represent fairly good value at anything below $3,500.