The 2016/2017 season of the English Premier League, commonly known as EPL, begins August 13. As you know very well, most games are played on Saturdays, a couple on Sunday and an occasional game is held on Friday and/or Monday. Every Tuesday morning, we will publish a short article with our recommendations for your weekly EPL lineups. Note that DraftKings features several weekly EPL contests.
The UEFA Championship Cup group stage begins September 13. The games are played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Our Tuesday morning article will be expanded when UEFA Championship Cup is held and it will include tips for your fantasy lineups. DraftKings offers UEFA Cup contests on the day of the games.
Now, let’s address the two most pressing dilemmas faced by those who manage season-long EPL fantasy teams and whose drafts may be imminent. The last minute pre-season transfers of players from non-EPL teams and moves within clubs have always been a pain when deciding who to draft. But you know that. This year, we have an additional unknown: the effect of Brexit on a player's permission to stay in the UK. Here is what our tea leaves are saying about player transfers.
* Will Alvaro Morata move to EPL? Our take is: Real Madrid will say “no senor.”
* Will Arsenal swap Olivier Giroud for Gonzalo Hugain? We are certain that Hugain will not join Juventus. That leaves the door open for Arsenal. There is a reasonable, say, 50% chance for the Gunners.
* Will Chelsea get Leonardo Bonucci? Only if the offer is high enough that it cannot be refused. What would that be? If you read €60m, count on him, otherwise forget it.
* Will Chelsea get Kalidou Koulibaly instead of Bonucci? Yes, unless Everton’s offer is sky-high.
* Will Manchester United get Paul Pogba? Our take is: no way.
* Do not speculate about who is out of Old Trafford. The turnover may affect several key Manchester United players. Picking up Juan Mata and Bastian Schweinsteiger could be risky.
Is Brexit going to affect EPL? That is, will the exit from European Union deny the right to soccer players who have the EU visa to stay and work in the country? The concern prior to the vote was very high. At one point, a number as large as 400 affected players was thrown around. A lot had been written about this topic prior to the vote, much less after the vote. This tells us that all the talk was politics, a topic we are not qualified to get into. Prior to the vote, N’Golo Kante was often mentioned as one player who may have to leave EPL. Since then, he has happily signed with Chelsea for €30m. I cannot help but smile.
The only certainty is the loss of the value of the Pound, which means that the clubs have less money to spend. Sure, is that why Manchester United offered, according to the rumors, only €120m for Paul Pogba, an absolute world record fee? My sarcasm is telling.
In summary, while Brexit may technically impact players’ right to work in the UK, my sources from England are saying that nothing will happen this 2016/2017 season. Future seasons may get affected, but we have time for that. Regarding the future, top clubs could start paying more attention to the local talent. That would be good for the English national team, wouldn’t it?