Fantasy Premier League 2021/22 | To sign or not to sign Romelu Lukaku; that is the question
Fantasy Premier League 2021/22 - Gameweek 2|
In a world where Tottenham refuse to sell one and Manchester City refuse to play with one, Chelsea have bought not one but two strikers inside a year. The club record breaking arrival Romelu Lukaku has been added to FPL with an £11.5m price-tag which is a problem for all, so how do you solve it?
Option 1: You don’t.
Sure this is Romelu Lukaku, the man who scored 64 goals in just 95 league appearances for Inter Milan but given that he is priced at an unhealthy £11.5m, it makes the decision tougher. Especially when you’ve got not one, not two, or three or four premium options but eight. That’s right, eight premium options starting with Heung-Min Son (£10.0m), Jamie Vardy (£10.5m), Raheem Sterling (£11.0m), Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m), Sadio Mane (£12.0m), Bruno Fernandes (£12.1m), Harry Kane (£12.4m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.5m).
And that's without Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m). The problem is the fact that all eight premium options, not including Lukaku, are sure-fire starters for their clubs which makes things even harder. That is made even harder by the fact that out of the eight, six of them happen to be FPL midfielders and key parts of “big six” teams. It means that they are more or less guaranteed points nearly every week as Fernandes, Son, Salah and Vardy proved with a combined 52 points on Gameweek 1.
Now given the fact that picking all nine premium options is nuts with FPL managers capable of squeezing two, three at the max, into their teams, it does bring about problems. And that rolls us all the way back to the problem in the first place, you don’t buy Romelu Lukaku. At least not now and at least not until Lukaku has figured out things in Thomas Tuchel’s new system. Because at the moment, that would be given up a guaranteed points option premium spot for a not so guaranteed points option premium.
But the fear of losing out on arguably the man brought in to win Chelsea the whole caboose before he hits his peak is always there which does bring about a problem for a few Fantasy bosses. Because if there's one thing an FPL boss need to do, is figure out and sign the differential before he becomes a popular option and Romelu Lukaku could very well be a differential even at his very expensive price-tag.
Option 2: You go for his partner in crime
That’s right, you go for Timo Werner (£9.0m) instead. Did the German have the best debut season upon arriving in England? No he did not with six goals and twelve assists for Chelsea, it cannot be classified as the best Premier League debut season but as far as debut seasons go it wasn’t bad enough for a fan to ask him to leave at an open training session. Now while that situation actually took place, Chelsea’s chaos under Frank Lampard played a part in Werner’s struggles.
The English manager had no idea what to do with the £200 million worth of players the club had brought in and struggled to cope with the pressure. Furthermore, both him and Thomas Tuchel failed to realise that Turbo Timo does his best work in a two-man system. What’s even more concerning is the fact that Werner has done that for most of his time as a center-forward and neither Chelsea boss thought to do that last term.
But that’s probably why Lukaku was brought in because of his success in a two-man team in, what has now become Thomas Tuchel’s preferred formation, the 3-5-2. And the numbers prove it; Timo Werner in a two-man system, often interchanged with a 4-3-3 or various others, scored 21, 13, 16 and 28 goals in the league alone. Werner in a single-man system, or played alongside two midfielders, netted 6 goals and twelve assists.
Whereas Lukaku in a two-man system netted 23 and 24 league goals, with 10 assists in the latter season, at the San Siro while he struggled to do the same for Manchester United although he did thrive alongside Ross Barkley at Everton. Yet, even then that still makes the German a dicey option because at £9.0m he’s still more expensive than players that might actually find the net on a more consistent basis or get more game-time. So instead…
Option 3: Wait for Harry Kane to figure out everything
Ahh, who doesn’t love a good, premium center-forward who practically guarantees goals, assists, and even bonus points? Well, unless you’re Manchester City or Arsenal, who tend to shuffle their strikers out wide for some reason, then you don’t but for the rest of the world, well who doesn’t love a good, premium center-forward? And as good, maybe even great, premium options go, Harry Kane is right up there with the best, if not the best.
Even with dodgy ankles, Kane has averaged 191, 211, 224, 217, 160, 158 and 242 points since his incredible 21 goal debut season in the 2014/15 term. The fact that he scored 21, 25, 29, 29, 17, 18 and 23 goals along the way is downright incredible in its own right. But now while his transfer saga has hurt Kane’s reputation as the good player who wanted nothing more than to be a Tottenham club legend, it also means that he has that much more to prove on his return.
Yup, so far, the Spurs forward hasn’t played a single minute of Premier League football and the question isn’t even why. The real question is when he does, will he wear the lilywhite of Tottenham? Or the sky blue, or that ugly dark blue Puma third kit, of Manchester City? Because while the fact that the Kane guarantee may remain, the question for FPL bosses is; does he score his usual 24 goal average or become the first man to score 200 Premier League goals in one season at the Etihad.
But even then, at £12.5m, Kane might be a more guaranteed choice, if not expensive, than Romelu Lukaku because while the Belgian has Premier League history, Kane is the Premier League. And at Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola and his super-team, and with Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, and in a system meant to do nothing more than score goals and lots of them, Harry Kane might just demolish records. It makes him well worth the wait.
Option 4: Destroy the template, wildcard and sign him anyway.
This was, and always has been, the first option for many. Even though we all knew it was coming, templates were created, teams were made and Gameweek 1 was played. But then in walked big money, club record-breaking arrival Romelu Lukaku and everything was immediately flung out the window. Panic set in, many contemplated using their wildcard and now with the Harry Kane saga still going on, with the supposed to be golden goose Ivan Toney failing to do anything and delirium elsewhere, Lukaku shines as the saviour.
After all, he is the man who scored 47 goals in 72 league appearances right? Including a 24 goal league season, with a 25% shot conversion rate (way better than CR7's 17%), last term as Inter Milan swept to the Serie A title and all that after many said he flopped at Manchester United and wasn’t worthy of playing football again. But the lean, mean scoring machine was just waiting for his chance to prove the world wrong, did it in Italy and now is back for revenge in England and all his haters.
Anger is a lovely motivator and for Lukaku, it might be just what he needs to destroy records and any team that stands in front of him. So go ahead, panic, destroy your templates, fling them out the windows, into the trash and even burn them if you must because this is Romelu Lukaku, so who cares that he has an £11.5m price-tag?