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Everton on the cusp of Europa progress

Everton about an hour ago
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Feb 10, 2009

The movers and shakers

With the market closed and a break until the next full round of Premier League fixtures there's plenty of time for managers to ponder their final transfer tactics. A few names stand out as being popular choices, and others may be hidden gems. We pick out 10 of the most interesting faces from the January dealings.

• Andrei Arshavin, Arsenal (£7.7m)

Arsenal's record signing has been added as a midfielder - with Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie the first choice strikers - and could certainly tempt a few managers at this price tag. But the problem with Arshavin is his fitness, having not played a league game since November and effectively having had ten days of pre-season training.

He was electric, for two games at least, at the European Championships but will he adapt to life in the Premier League quickly? At least with the player cup-tied from the Champions League after featuring for Zenit St Petersburg it means he should play regularly for the Gunners. He bagged 51 goals in 238 games for Zenit which is a good record for a midfielder. If he manages to repeat that he will be a steal. As his fitness is a big gamble then perhaps a watching brief is best for now.

• James Beattie, Stoke City (£6m)

Overlooked by many purely because he has signed for Stoke City, Beattie should not be underestimated as a value striking option. New Premier League fans may know little about the former Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Everton forward but he's a proven performer at the top level with 83 goals to his name.

The 30-year-old already has two goals and an assist since moving to the Britannia Stadium and with Stoke only left to play away to Everton, Aston Villa and Arsenal of those challenging for the top spots it means there should be plenty of possible goalscoring fixtures.

• Craig Bellamy, Manchester City (£6.3m)

Sure to be attracting interest with two goals in three games since moving from West Ham United, there is no doubting that Bellamy has the potential to be a cheap and high-scoring fantasy bargain. The problem with the Welsh striker is his fitness. An injury breakdown always seems around corner and with transfers now at a premium it's a definite gamble.

Bellamy has scored 58 points so far this season, making him the 22nd best striker. However, it was a different story last term, a woeful fitness record meant he scored only 25 points across the whole campaign. He was only the 81st best striker from all the players in the top flight. Signing Bellamy is risking two wasted transfers as you'd probably have to replace him.

• Jimmy Bullard, Hull City (£5.4m)

Another player with a questionable fitness record, Bullard does have the ability to unlock defences though perhaps suffers from a lack of goals. Despite barely playing since Christmas he does have 61 points but do Hull have the firepower to take advantage of his creativity?

While Bullard may probe and prod around the area there is little sign that any Hull striker will be prolific enough to finish off his genius. And let's not forget the midfielder already has doubts over a knee injury which has restricted his playing time for the Tigers. Bullard is a great price but a definite risk too.

• Marc-Antoine Fortune, West Bromwich Albion (£4.6m)

Fortune has attracted a lot of interest since signing for West Brom on loan from French side AS Nancy. With three goals in four games he is a hot property and has already seen his value rise. The bargain tag has clearly prompted managers to bring him in as part of budgetary balancing.

The positive thing about West Bromwich Albion is their home record. With 18 goals they have scored as many as Everton, Aston Villa and Arsenal. It means there should be plenty of opportunities for goals. A superb option if you are looking to free up some cash.

• Shay Given, Manchester City (£3.8m)

Like most Newcastle United defensive players, Given is in negative equity since the start of the season. And that makes him a very good price at £3.8m in comparison with his rivals. If the influence of players such as Wayne Bridge and Nigel De Jong can have a positive impact he may be worth a look.

With only 31 points so far - and let's not forget six of those came through a clean sheet on his Manchester City debut - he has been one of the worst performing goalkeepers in the game. The simple fact is that in moving to Manchester City he's joining another team with a questionable defence. Joe Hart has scored only eight more points that Given which proves the folly of looking for clean sheets at Eastlands.

• Joao Alves Jo, Everton (£6.4m)

Seemingly the leper of the Manchester City revolution, it could just be that the Brazilian has found a club which will love him after joining Everton on loan. With no fit strikers, Jo is guaranteed to play for the Toffees every week.

With a favourable run of fixtures and a blistering start - he got two goals and an assist on his Everton debut - there could well be a rush to bring him in. After getting just 23 points all season he scored 12 on Saturday. There are certainly many positives about signing Jo and he could just be the tip of the window.

• Robbie Keane, Tottenham (£7.7m)

Keane's six months of hell at Liverpool finally came to an end on deadline day when he won his move back to London. It means a player who has dropped in value by £0.9m due to Rafa's bizarre selection policy will now be playing week-in, week-out. Keane's inflated value has dropped to a more realistic level and, by comparison, is now in line with Roman Pavlyuchenko's.

It's easy to forget that Keane has been one of the most prolific Premier League strikers in recent years and if he rediscovers that touch he'll be great value but there appears to be better options for your cash.

• Ricardo Quaresma, Chelsea (£7m)

In danger of becoming something of a footballing nomad, there are doubts over Quaresma with Big Phil Scolari out of the door at Stamford Bridge. The Portuguese international has the ability to both score and create goals but his consistency is questionable.

It may well be that the new manager at Chelsea sees Quaresma as an integral part of his plans, especially with Joe Cole out for the season, but until there is an indication that Quaresma will actually play no fantasy manager should go anywhere near him.

• Ryan Taylor, Newcastle (£4m)

While the former Wigan player would ordinarily be a possible purchase following his move to Newcastle there is one big problem: his position. Naturally a right-back, Taylor will play in midfield for the Magpies. But in the fantasy game he is classified as a defender.

While Taylor's delivery from set-pieces and ability to shoot from long range make him a bargain at £4m he will also be subject to Newcastle's leaky defence which may be even worse now Given has departed. A great price, but a poor transfer to bring him in as a defender.

• Our fantasy games for Argentina and knockout rounds of the Champions League are now live and ready for your entries. Follow the links on the right to our games.

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