#UCLfantasy scout: Pick of the January newcomers – UEFA Champions League – News
With the remaining teams in this season’s UEFA Champions League having made their changes to their squads ahead of the start of the round of 16 next week, UEFA.com’s Fantasy scout considers which players might be worth bringing into your squad – and who it might be worth thinking twice about.
Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United, FW, €11.5m)
Why you should: One of the Premier League’s most consistent performers in recent years, the Chilean managed a goal every other league game at Arsenal – and added three more in every UEFA Champions League season. Now he faces Sevilla.
Why you shouldn’t: Pricey and hasn’t been at his best so far this term – but these are minor quibbles.
Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City, DF, €5.5m)
Why you should: Joins a side who won all but one of their group matches and kept three clean sheets in topping Group F. City look well placed to post at least one more shut-out against Basel.
Why you shouldn’t: Must compete with Nicolás Otamendi and John Stones, plus Vincent Kompany when fit, in central defence; there’s every chance Laporte could be the one to miss out in the UEFA Champions League.
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea, FW, €8.0m)
Why you should: Álvaro Morata’s continued absence may open the door for the January buy from Arsenal – either in the starting line-up or off the bench. And with 16 goals in 39 European outings – including 12 Champions League strikes – Giroud is not short of pedigree.
Why you shouldn’t: With Chelsea notably off form in recent weeks, it’s tough to see them bettering Barcelona – even allowing for Giroud’s aerial threat.
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus, DF, €5.0m)
Why you should: Has featured regularly in Serie A this season and is an occasional assist provider, which makes the right-back a decent-priced option for shoehorning a Juve defender into your squad.
Why you shouldn’t: The Italian champions may have their work cut out to keep a clean sheet versus Tottenham; plus Lichtsteiner is extremely unlikely to supply a goal at the other end – having mustered just one in the last three Serie A campaign.
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, DF, €6.0m)
Why you should: Recruited for a world-record fee for a defender in January, the former Southampton centre-back could be key to securing the Reds’ rearguard in what looks a winnable tie against Porto.
Why you shouldn’t: Liverpool are hardly watertight at the back and haven’t kept a clean sheet in Van Dijk’s first four games – indeed, they’ve shipped seven goals in that time.
Manuel Neuer (Bayern, GK, €6.5m)
Why you should: Bayern are strong favourites to beat Beşiktaş, and have registered five shut-outs in nine outings since matchday six.
Why you shouldn’t: The Munich giants have achieved only two clean sheets in this season’s UEFA Champions League – and more pertinently, Neuer has not played since 16 September after breaking a bone in his foot.
Lucas Moura (Tottenham, MF, €8.5m)
Why you should: A proven source of goals and assists, he could well make the difference in what should be a tight tie against Juventus.
Why you shouldn’t: May struggle for game time with Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min established in the side; moreover, €8.5m is a lot to shell out on a squad player.
Valentin Stocker (Basel, MF, €5.0m)
Why you should: Back with the team he represented from 2007–14 after a tough three and a half years at Hertha Berlin, Stocker is a decent budget option, boasting 11 goals in 66 European appearances – a respectable strike rate from midfield.
Why you shouldn’t: Has barely played all season and there’s the small matter of finding a way through that Man. City defence.