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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 14 hours ago
Read
Feb 3, 2011

New kids on the block

With the winter transfer window now shut, the Premier League clubs have finished their wheeling and dealing for another season. January has seen some familiar faces on the move, while some new names are now gracing the Premier League.

It means that there's plenty to consider for the fantasy league run-in - that's if you've not blown all your transfers already. We take a look at some of those players on the move and weigh up their chances of fantasy success.

Andrew Carroll, Liverpool. Striker: £7.9m
Former Newcastle striker Carroll was one of the most popular buys over the course of the first half of the season, starting the game at a bargain £6.5 million. A run of 11 goals and three assists in 18 games, before an injury at the end of December curtailed his impressive run of form, led to his price rise to £7.9 million.

Carroll's problem is that he is still out injured and may not play at all in February. He remains a great price as a player for one of the fantasy game's traditional powerhouses, but there is no point bringing him in until he is fit again. He may well continue his scoring at Anfield, and his injury may lead to a cheaper price by the time he can get his boots on again.

Fernando Torres, Chelsea. Striker: £11.3 million
Only new Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba and Carlos Tevez are more expensive than Torres in the game, which makes bringing him into your fantasy team a gamble of sorts. Despite being clearly unhappy with life at Liverpool he has still managed to score nine goals this season, and you would have to think a happy Torres would score even more.

However, Carroll has scored four more points than Torres and the new Chelsea striker is also £3.4 million more expensive. It's hard to see Torres offering value for money, even if he is able to play from this weekend rather than sitting on the treatment table for a month.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool. Striker: £10 million
Suarez got his Liverpool career off to the perfect start on Wednesday evening, netting a goal in the 2-0 win over Stoke. It was hardly a classic strike, and it could yet be made an own goal by the dubious goals committee, but any worries about the Uruguayan having a monkey on his back over getting off the mark should now be forgotten.

He scored an amazing 64 Eredivisie goals in two-and-a-half seasons, but will he be a Mateja Kezman/Afonso Alves or a Ruud van Nistelrooy? It could be one to watch for a couple of weeks to see just how he settles in before spending big on a costly striker with no experience in the Premier League.

Daniel Sturridge, Bolton. Striker: £6.5m
Another player with Chelsea links, being on loan to Bolton from the west London club, Sturridge comes at a cheap price despite being owned by a top-four club as he was nothing more than a bit-part player for the Blues. But a goalscoring start to life at the Reebok Stadium suggests he could be a steal for the run-in.

That goal against Wolves, however, was his first in the Premier League since April 2010 and only his second since April 2009. That means he is going to need a dramatic turnaround in fortunes to be worth bringing in for the rest of the season. Like Suarez, give it a few weeks to see how he performs.

David Luiz, Chelsea. Defender: £6.6 million
Another of Chelsea's big-money signings in the January window seems sure to become John Terry's partner in the centre of defence, enabling Branislav Ivanovic to move to right-back which should help make the Blues a more complete defensive unit again. Although, despite Chelsea's troubles recently, there is still no team with more clean sheets.

Luiz enters the game at, for a Chelsea defender, an attractive price of £6.6 million - which is the same as Ivanovic. Though with four goals in 72 appearances for Benfica he could not be classed as prolific from the back. The only question is over his ability to adapt quickly from Portuguese football.

Robbie Keane, West Ham United. Striker: £6.9 million
Keane wasn't getting a look-in at Spurs this season, meaning his goal in West Ham's 3-1 win away to Blackpool was his first of the season and only his second in the Premier League since November 2009. Keane has been brought in to keep the Hammers up and he will surely get his share of the goals.

The pricetag makes Keane a tempting option even if, before his arrival, West Ham's scoring record placed only Fulham, Wolves, Birmingham and Wigan below them. Keane is a proven scorer and for those not looking to spend big he may fit the bill.

Demba Ba, West Ham United. Striker: £6 million
One of the cheapest new striking additions, Ba arrives at Upton Park after netting six goals in 15 games for Bundesliga side TSG Hoffenheim. Ba was never exactly prolific in Germany, with his best season being 2008-09 when he hit 14 goals. And then you have to factor in his fitness concerns.

Ba reportedly "failed" two medicals at West Ham before the deal was finally rubber-stamped. Considering there are doubts about the number of games he will play and the pace at which he will fit into England football, he must be one to avoid for now.

Darren Bent, Aston Villa. Striker: £8.3m
Despite the supposed controversy over the cost of Darren Bent's move from Sunderland to Villa, there are very few strikers with the goalscoring record he has managed in the top flight. Even at Tottenham, despite struggling to get a run in the side, he still had close to a goal every other game. And his Villa career has started with two goals in two games.

Bent's value has dropped £0.2 million since the start of the season as his Sunderland form was not up to past standards. But there's every chance that, pound for point, he will be the best value for money striker on this list come the end of the season.

Edin Dzeko, Manchester City. Striker: £10.1 million
The scramble for people to bring Dzeko into their team after his move from Wolfsburg has already led to a price rise of £0.1 million, but that early confidence may well be slipping away due to his return of one solitary assist from his first three appearances in a City shirt, although he did net his first goal against Notts County in the FA Cup.

A price of £10.1 million is very expensive for a player who is seemingly going to have to play second fiddle to Carlos Tevez in the Man City forward line. Dzeko is the player more than any other on this list who fantasy managers should avoid.

David Bentley, Birmingham City. Midfielder: £6.5 million
Fantasy managers of a certain vintage may remember the days when David Bentley was a must-have player. That was back in 2007-08 when he scored six goals and provided 11 assists when on the books of Blackburn Rovers. He never came close to matching that at Tottenham.

So now it's on to Birmingham for Bentley, and he's already picked up an assist in 2-2 draw with Manchester City in midweek and he netted against Coventry City in the FA Cup last weekend. The issue with Bentley is that Birmingham do not score many goals, which will limit the scope for assists. Not a bad price tag, but too many question marks.

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