The summer post-season is a time when clubs wheel & deal in the transfer market to strengthen their squads while their current players take a well earned rest after 40+ games in the 2014/15 season. But the summer break and pre-season can also act as a lifeline for injured players who are recuperating and hope to get back to full fitness in time for the start of next season. It’s a big ask for players who have been absent for months and months in rehabilitation to not just play but to get back to their previous level and more. But quality players returning to fitness can be a giant boost for a team and act like a new signing. Players absent in 2014/15 with injuries can easily be overlooked by Fantasy EPL managers selecting their teams at the start of the season. Lets have a look at 5 stars who are returning from long term injuries and could be great signing for your Fantasy EPL teams.
Healed Heroes to Watch In Pre-Season
Jay Rodriguez £7.0m – Forward
Southampton and England forward Jay Rodriguez didn’t play a single minute of Premier League football last season, having ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in April 2014 which required a minimum eleven months rehabilitation. In the 2013/14 season Rodriguez was prolific, scored 15 goals and setting up 3 more before his injury cut his season short. At the time, Rodriguez looked to have booked his place in the England team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and was subject to heavy interest from Spurs. It has been a long road back for Rodriguez, but his return will offer some much needed fire power to Southampton’s attacking lineup with was notably toothless for much of the second half of the season. Back to fitness, Jay Rodriguez scored twice for Southampton in their recent pre-season match against Red Bull Leipzig which they lost 5-4. Rodriguez is certainly one to monitor during pre-season. If he can keep himself fit and manage another 15 goals season, he’ll be great value at £7.0m.
Siem de Jong £6.5m – Midfield
Newcastle signed de Jong last summer from Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie where he had was club captain and won four consecutive Eredivisie titles from 2010-14. As an attacking midfielder he was averaging 11-12 goals per year, he looked like a great signing for a reported £6 million fee. But early in the season he injured his right thigh in training and was ruled our for the rest of the year. Upon returning to fitness he then suffered a collapsed lung and was ruled out for another two months. He ended the season managing to play only 149mins, but still managing one goal as a sign of his attacking skills. We’ve get to really see de Jong fit and playing in the Premier League, but he is an experienced pro who know what it takes to win. If he can keep himself fit, £6.5m for a central attacking midfielder who pushes forwards, he might be a good signing given a good run of fixtures. De Jong played the first half of Newcastle’s 1-0 pre-season win against Gateshead but was not on the score sheet.
Theo Walcott £9.0m – Midfield
Arsenal’s pacey English winger come striker is one of those form players who likes to run very very hot when in form or very cold when things are not happening for him. Walcott has a terrific 2012/13 season managing 14 goals and 13 assists, being deployed predominately on the right side of midfield. But a series of injuries including abdominal surgery and in January 2014 a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee meant he played just a bit role for Arsenal last season. He did manage a hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion on the final day of the Premier League season while playing striker, giving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger something to think about for next season. Walcott prefers to play as a central striker, and with an dozen world class attacking midfielders in the Arsenal squad – it seems a certainly that Walcott will get some game time upfront in rotation with Olivier Giroud. He’s not that cheap, but given he’s listed as a midfielder and may be playing as a striker – it could be a good option for adding extra goals to your fantasy football team this season.
Bojan Krkic £5.5m – Forward
Bojan Krkic is a well know player amongst football manager followers, having come through the youth system at Barcelona but failing to break into the first team. After stints in Serie A and the Eredivisie where he played with Ajax in a championship winning season, he joined Stoke City last summer. After a few shaking appearances, Bojan started to find his feet, scoring in a 3–2 win over Arsenal. Bojan managed 4 goals in 1203 minutes and was started to look dangerous when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, ruling him out for the rest of the season. He’s expended back in early August, not quite in time for the start of the season but he’s a player with bags and bags of potential and at £5.5m if he’s starting and playing well, should be a good option as a rotating striker.
Daniel Sturridge £10.5m – Forward
Another English striker with the potential to bring a whole swag of points to EPL Fantasy teams if he were to get himself fit (and stay that way) is Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge. 2013/14 was Sturridge’s real breakthrough season when he started to deliver on his potential with 22 league goals and 8 assists in a free flowing Liverpool attacking trio of Sturridge, Sterling and Suarez. But a series of muscular injuries to his thigh & calf kept him out for long periods last season, managing to play only 752 mins in the league (but still scoring 4 goals and assisting 3 more). He’s not expected back until mid October 2015 (so not technically pre-season), and his price tag is still considerable given his absence last season. But he has the quality to be world class and lead Liverpool to Champions League football half he can stay fit. Avoid early, but monitor for the second half of the season.