There are two kinds of FPL managers out there. A happy majority of us have Mohamad Salah in our squad, and with a return in every week thus far, we are happy that we do. Then there are the contrarians who have foregone captain Mo’ on the correct theory that the combined return on two other random midfielders is higher than Salah and the scrub you have as your fifth Mid.

To start the year, Salah was priced like he’s going to score 300 points again this year. So far, he’s on pace to score 317 points so it has been smart to have him on your team this year. At somewhere around 55% ownership to start the year and holding, it makes perfect sense to play defense and captain Salah in most game weeks. Owners who have done this have given up little and pocketed a good returns. But I worry that there is practically zero upside to owning Salah at his price.

Like I said, most of us have Salah in our squad already, but even if you’re one of the contrarians, whether buying or selling, any Salah transaction not involving a double-free-transfer move with Harry Kane is likely to be an extremely disruptive move to your FPL team finances, which brings me to the main point I’ll be trying to make:

Salah is a conundrum.

Look at the list.

In the midfield there’s Salah at $13.0 M. After that there’s:

Sterling at $11.0 M. No way!

Hazard at $10.6 M. That’s fair, maybe a bargain.

Sanchez at $10.2 M. No way!

Then you’re below $10.0 M

So that’s two million between Salah and No Way and another $0.4 down to a reasonable choice with plenty of room below for some really good Mids. The best midfield swap with one free transfer leaves you with $2.4 M in the bank. Right now, that $2.4 M will let you move from a few other premium forwards to Kane without spending points on transfers or enable you upgrade two other players by $1.2 M. For those of us sitting on a Stones/Bellerin/Alexander-Arnold defense, that’s a lot of cha-ching!

The wild card is the Wildcard.

Whether you own him or you don’t, any transaction involving Mohamed Salah is a time when you will probably be glad that you have the Wildcard at hand, if you’re ready to give up on/commit to him completely. But unlike last year, it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of risk in selling/buying Salah, even if you want to buy or sell him later. At thirteen million and over 50% ownership, how high can he really go? My guess is not much.

If correct, this opens a lot of FPL possibilities.

Can you set the rest of your team and use your weekly free transfer to rotate between Salah and Kane? Because I don’t really see how you can own both all the time.

Do you use your Wildcard to choose the perfect time to shift gears and drop/buy Salah and adjust everything else?

For me, for now, I’m planning to hold my Wildcard in reserve just in case I need to make a move with Salah. The money is just big enough to be really disruptive, especially in the case of injury.

Salah, to me, is a conundrum and the reason I’ll take a little pain in the short term to preserve the maximum flexibility I can in keeping the Wildcard for as long as I can hold on to it.

 

Caveats:

Of course, captain choice can and will enter the equation. This isn’t an exact science, and captaincy is a meta-layer to this whole analysis.

Of course, I understand if you had Aubameyang, De Gea, and Sterling (at well over 1 million pounds per point to date), rational choices all, in your GW1 squad and felt that you had to Wildcard early.

Fun hypothetical: Will Salah and Mané ever be the same price this year? I don’t think it can happen, but it’s hard to see Salah going up much. There aren’t enough people left who can buy him. Mane is already up $0.4 and he’s outscored Salah by 4 points so far.

Kane’s August eruption is probably going to send managers scrambling for cash. With the huge ownership number for Salah, how exposed are we to price drops the first time he draws a blank? Granted, it doesn’t really matter if you’re going to keep him forever.

 

My team: https://fantasy.premierleague.com/a/team/318573/event/3

 

And remember, you should dive!

J Hodge

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