David Silva’s injury and, now, a hamstring niggle for Yaya Touré have potentially created a Manchester City-shaped void in the heart of many Fantasy Premier League managers’ sides.
However, the Citizens’ new £55m signing Kevin De Bruyne (10.1m) provides a near straight swap for Silva (10.2) and, for those with some money in the bank, Touré (9.0m).
Having only joined City shortly before transfer deadline day, we have just three gameweeks of data on which to judge De Bruyne, which isn’t a great sample size. Nevertheless, the early evidence is promising.
De Bruyne has managed to unleash eight shots in the Premier League, hitting the target with half of them and scoring with two. His shots on target conversion rate is a touch high but, even if it drops a bit, the signs are hopeful for more goals from the Belgian international given how frequently and accurately he is shooting. The one cautionary flag is how few shots De Bruyne is taking inside the box. Long-range efforts traditionally lead to far fewer goals than shots inside the box, so he is either lucky or unusually accurate from distance. If he stops hitting the target as frequently, we might have more cause to worry.
At Wolfsburg last year, De Bruyne recorded 20 assists, making him the best supplier in Europe for goal-scoring team mates. Even if De Bruyne’s FPL points from goals dips, he is showing signs that the creativity he displayed at Wolfsburg is undimmed in the Premier League. He has already created 10 chance for team mates and it is surely only a matter of when, not if, he gets his first Premier League assist (assuming he stays healthy).
The only other note of caution I would add is that he hasn’t played together with David Silva in the Premier League and has only clocked up about 20 minutes with him in the Champions League, so we don’t really know how the Citizens’ other creative force will affect his output. I don’t think that’s a big enough reason to avoid him though.
For those wanting more data before reaching a verdict, we can look to the League Cup match against a largely first choice Sunderland side for more clues. Although it was not a Premier League game, it was Premier League opposition. As far as I can tell, De Bruyne tallied three shots, one shot in the box, two shots on target, one goal, four chances created and one assist in that match. Those numbers are consistent with his Premier League performance.
Finally, four of the next City’s next five fixtures (NEW, BOU, mun, NOR, avl) look good for attacking returns so the fixture list isn’t a concern either. The data sample is small, but I would be prepared to take a chance on De Bruyne, given the fixtures and form he has shown so far, if Touré is ruled out for a few weeks.