(All data updated till 12th September)
Plenty of Football Index players have been rebuilding their portfolios after selling up earlier this year. While there are plenty of intelligent strategies to make the most out of media and performance dividends, the desire to find the next Bruno Fernandes or Jude Bellingham is one every player has.
No matter your experience level on the app, whether you are just getting started or you are a hardened veteran, articles like these have the potential to end up making you a lot of money. Here, we bring you five players that not only could be highly successful this season, but their index-prices are in a great position for you to invest.
Ligue 1: Seko Fofana – £0.48
Seko Fofana could have easily moved to a fairly large club following his season with Udinese. The Ivorian international turned 25 years old earlier this year and finished the Serie A season with three goals and seven assists.
Despite links to West Ham and Lazio, the centre midfielder transferred to newly-promoted RC Lens for just over £7m. “I spoke to the Lens directors and also several players….They convinced me straight away. I received many offers, but my choice was immediate.” Fofana told L’Equipe before his eventual transfer in August.
Fofana has already appeared for eight clubs. He began at FC Lorient as a promising 18-year-old, before being picked up by Manchester City in 2013. After loans at Fulham and SC Bastia, Fofana was eventually sold by Manchester City in 2016 at the age of 21. Udinese picked him up for just over £3 million.
Last season Fofana showed he was peaking in quality. He played over 2200 minutes, appearing across central-midfield in a 3-5-2 formation. Most people know Udinese for their star midfielder Rodrigo de Paul, but it is Fofana who is the underrated star.
A very silky dribbler, Fofana completes more dribbles than De Paul. Fofana’s dribble success rate of 72% is also fantastic for a midfielder. What has been impressive though is his evolution in shot-making. Using Understat, we can see that Fofana went from taking 15% of his shots inside the box in 16/17 to 28% in 19/20.
Now at RC Lens, Fofana arrives as their record transfer. A midfielder with the ability and drive to score and assist from the centre, at a club fabled for their coaching abilities, Fofana is set to be a star. Even if Lens get relegated this season, you can expect Fofana to be picked up by Lyon or Marseille maybe even next Summer.
Serie A: Giovanni Simeone – £0.59
To many fans of Italian football, Giovanni Simeone is not a new name. The Argentinian striker has played in Serie A for four years since making a move from River Plate in 2016. The son of Diego Simeone, Giovanni starred in his debut campaign at Genoa. He scored 12 goals and assisted 1 in 35 games and was rewarded at the end of the season after Fiorentina swooped in for him in a deal worth £15.8m
Since his move to Florence in 2017, he has continuously scored goals. He contributed to 18 in 17/18 at the age of 22 years old. The year after though, as Fiorentina were almost relegated, his goal haul dropped to 6. Last season, on loan at Cagliari, he scored 12 and assisted 3.
Now settled in the side, as Cagliari made the move permanent, Simeone is their main route of goals. He has the star power; being Diego Simeone’s son sets him up for the magical media narrative. On top of this, he has the lofty ambition of one day playing for Atletico Madrid.
Stats wise, Simeone is reminiscent of Mauro Icardi. Both players make a minimal contribution to build-up play. Both on an average touch the ball less than 30 times a game. Yet both somehow make the most out of their limited opportunities. From a total of 86 shots, 34% of Giovanni Simeone’s shots were on target. For context, Sergio Aguero’s shot accuracy in 19/20 stood at 36%. Simeone’s xG also stood at 12, showing he is a reliable finisher.
Simeone then, who turned 25 in July, will surely be set for another goal-scoring season. If he reaches more than ten once more, the chance of a Spanish or even English club taking a punt on him is very high.
Bundesliga: Breel Embolo – £1.04
Breel Embolo is a name that has echoed around German football discussions for, what feels like, an eternity. Many will be stunned to know the Swiss Striker turned just 23 years old in February. Embolo made his professional debut way back in 2013 in the Europa League, and in 2016 made a move to the Bundesliga.
With Schalke in 2016/17, the hype around Embolo could not have been more enthusiastic. Nineteen at the time and in his first full season scoring three and assisting 2 in 10 games, he looked to lead Schalke back to the top of the table in the years to come. Of course, that has not happened. Schalke finished 10th, 2nd and 14th in Embolo’s time at the club. In none of these seasons did Embolo manage more than five goals. Seemingly written off, he was sold to Borussia Monchengladbach for less than £10 million.
As a part of Marco Rose’s new side, Embolo quietly had a successful season. In 17 starts, Embolo scored eight and assisted 5. It works out at a goal contribution once every 119 minutes, an exceptional rate. If there was ever a time to buy shares in Embolo, it would be now.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have left the Bundesliga, meaning there is somewhat of a vacuum in the scoring charts. While Plea and Thuram will start ahead of Embolo in the pecking order at Gladbach, it only takes a short run of games for the 23-year-old to score and sustain a starting position. Should he have another successful season, Embolo’s reputation could reach the levels once predicted.
La Liga: Enes Unal – £0.55
Another player who will surprise many with his age, recently-turned 23-year-old Enes Unal has already had a cultured career. Starting in Turkey before being purchased by Manchester City, Unal has played in England, The Netherlands and Belgium. The place he calls home now is Spain. Following 31 appearances for Villarreal since moving in 2017, Unal has made a transfer switch to high flying Getafe.
Getafe finished 8th last season, playing a very physical long-ball style of football. They averaged 61% pass accuracy (Lowest in La Liga) combined with 25 aerial duels won per game, the 2nd highest in the division. It is this recipe that could propel Enes Unal’s career and validate the £8.1 million spent on him by Getafe.
Standing at 6ft 1, Unal averages more shots with his head than his left foot. Interesting to note as well, that Unal averages more shots with his right foot, but more key passes with his left, showing an unexpected level of ambidextrousness. With his head though, Unal has managed a 13% scoring rate, higher than Diego Costa has in all seasons since 2014.
Perhaps more one-to-watch in the early games of the season, Unal has the potential to do very well. Now reaching his physical peak, his wealth of footballing education needs to come in to play now. If it does, then that value of £0.55 can double easily, and probably quadruple should he reach 15 league goals.
Premier League: Neal Maupay – £0.91
Finding a bargain within the Premier League on Football Index is extremely hard. Even those less acquainted with the app will know Premier League based players make the news more and generally play their best football, the two values Football Index lives off of.
Yet in Neal Maupay there is a potential gem. The French striker played at Brighton last season in his first Premier League campaign, with Brighton transitioning into a possession-based side under Graham Potter. Maupay managed ten goals and three assists, a remarkable tally for a striker in his first season at the Premier League in the middle of a relegation battle.
The statistical proof or evidence for Maupay’s quality is less hard to find then. He is a striker who, at 24 years old, is likely to improve further this season. Even if Brighton were relegated, in a years’ time he would surely command a move to a different Premier League team.
The beauty in this buy would be the price: at £0.91 Maupay is a steal. There are no Premier League strikers on Index who managed more than ten goals and have a value below £1. The closest comparison to Maupay is Dominic Calvert Lewin, who managed three more goals last season and is a year younger. The Everton striker is valued at £1.82. If Maupay can repeat his performances from last season, his value would skyrocket.
Written by Alex Barker | Feature Image by Andreoli/Getty Images
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