There are a few names floating through the off-season that raise eyebrows amongst traders. After a season of youthful English talents rising to stardom; from Saka to Greenwood, Foden to Grealish - and of course King Sancho - it's become clear that English players under 25 years old have that 'extra' value to their name tag.
There are plenty of players on Football Index that carry this bonus value already. For example, Eberechi Eze reached a market value of £2.50 this summer and still sits around £2.30 following his move to Crystal Palace. His rise of well over 100% in market value over the course of last season was justified through good performances and transfer speculation. Similarly, Reece James of Chelsea has built a good following, as the 20 year old produced a solid breakout season worthy of his rise in value.
However, there are still a couple of young English players that have an unknown future, or find themselves undervalued following a season in the shadows. These youngsters have the opportunity to impress next season, and could find themselves much higher in value on Football Index come next summer. It's make or break in investment this season.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles | £0.87 / £0.84
An example of somebody who had a season in the shadows. The 23 year old is a name that Arsenal fans will be more than aware of. After being asked to play a host of roles, from right back, left wing-back and as a central midfielder, it's been difficult to understand exactly what Maitland-Niles' preferred position is. Having been on the verge of leaving Arsenal all summer, his recent performances have given more than enough for Arteta to think about going forward. A man of the match performance in the community shield indicated what could be a regular outing, whilst his semi-final performance against Man City displayed a promising sign that he can handle Premier League calibre wingers. He's capable with the ball at his feet driving forward, whilst his defensive strengths resemble those of Arsenal's primary transfer target, Thomas Partey. Furthermore, Southgate has called up Maitland-Niles to the England squad for the upcoming Nations League fixtures against Iceland and Denmark. The versatile defender has previously represented England at youth levels, but this step up is one that comes out-of-the-blue given his lack of game time last season.
At £0.87, the scope to rise in value is tremendous. Without this sounding like an out-and-out pump, most experienced traders will understand that the current standard value for a young English player is certainly more than £1 - that's without considering a senior call up or first team breakthrough.
Maitland-Niles has the scope to feature regularly in the Premier League, his transfer speculation is only a good thing for media, whilst his recent senior call up indicates he's on Southgate's radar looking forwards. A half decent start to the season would surely see him rise above the £1.00 - a good season could double that. At the lower end of the market, a rise to £1.00 could return 10% ROI in capital appreciation alone.
It's easy to focus on the top end with the new dividend structure in place, but the potential capital appreciation in a youngster like Maitland-Niles warrants addition to the watchlist.
2. Callum Hudson-Odoi | £3.21 / £2.58
On the other end of the spectrum, we can see a previously pumped youngster that is crashing in value with a wide spread. Although this sounds incredibly negative, the plummet in market value highlights a couple of opportunities. Firstly, the concept of buying low and selling high stands front and centre. Hudson-Odoi had previously hit values of nearly £5 prior to his injury at the start of last season. 18 months ago, the talk of the Chelsea wonderkid moving to Bayern Munich won media dividends and saw his price rocket. Injury struck, then his slow re-introduction to the squad saw many traders offload or list their shares as his media presence was non-existent whilst his performances were not worthy of his share value.
CHO is yet to register a PB score over 200. That's just one reason as to why his value has dropped out of the sky this season.
With Chelsea reinforcing their squad (slash playing FIFA career mode), it's incredibly difficult to see where the 19 year old Englishman fits in. Pulisic found form at the end of last season and was arguably the first name on the starting XI. Although Willian and Pedro are off the books, Havertz and Ziyech are both 'upgrades' on that end of the pitch CHO will be competing against three very capable wide players. Even if Havertz is utilised centrally, CHO must compete against two very strong wingers who are both relatively new signings.
On top of that, CHO has been dropped from the senior squad for the upcoming nations league fixtures, having been a part of the team last November. It's another step backwards in his investment potential.
All of this speculation is driving his value down at the moment. But if we consider the potential outcomes, there are some fantastic opportunities.
Firstly, if CHO can establish himself as a regular - benching Ziyech (and potentially Havertz should Lampard not use him in a central role) - it speaks volumes of how highly rated he is. Chelsea mean business, and the talents amongst their squad are capable of a Top 4 finish and strong European campaign. A teenage English winger featuring regularly is worth more than £2.50 (his approximate IS price). The squad is competitive enough to push CHO to develop further, whilst regular game time would also see the 19 year old potentially re-called to the England squad. The argument still stands here, he'd likely be worth more than £2.50-£3 if he were to be recalled to England.
If he is not played regularly, there's a chance the transfer speculation could resurface. Bayern were previously interested, whilst many other superclubs around Europe would certainly sniff around at a decorated England youth player. He's 19 years old and has earned senior caps - it's not likely we'll see him sitting happily on the bench all season. He may offer 'depth' but realistically he's at a point in his career where he wants to step forward into the limelight. Ziyech, Havertz and Pulisic are all young enough with years on their contract to stay put. CHO is perhaps less likely given his historic speculation. It may take a few months of stale activity and a further price drop, but eventually a season on the bench would come good as speculation would build. Surely he's not going to sit on the bench whilst other English talents exceed him in the rankings?
Media potential from transfer speculation, brinking on England call-ups, and the potential to start regularly for a truly exciting attacking side. CHO ticks a lot of boxes. Then you must remember that he's still 19.
Your bet is valid for 3 years. At 22 years old, is CHO going to be a nobody or will he be a regular European-calibre winger who competes against Rashford, Sterling and Sancho for a spot on the England wings? This next season will give us an indication, but if you back him to rediscover any form then his ceiling is certainly greater than his current £2.50 IS. There's still hope, and there aren't many more teenagers with the same respected calibre as CHO - Foden and Greenwood's price tag over the last season or so highlights the salient point here.
It's pretty easy to go Top Heavy into trading at the moment. Capital appreciation is currently an after thought for plenty of experienced traders, as the new dividend structure favours those in their prime or the papers - offering dividends. Whilst plenty of the new money is being lumped into the big names, there are some riskier underdogs either being ignored or taken with great caution. However, the potential outcomes of the two players outlined in this article are promising from an FI perspective.
Both players fit a mould whereby a stand out performance could see the start of a rocket - and the current prices you can acquire them at mean a large rise in Market Value in AMN's case, or a very quick tightening of the spread in CHO's case. Both offer profitable opportunities. Both offer a long term fall back.