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FPL tips: What’s in the top managers’ Christmas shopping?

Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Turf Moor
(Image credit: Jason Cairnduff)

While the FPL website’s statistics pages allow you to track how every player’s ownership is changing, it is more instructive to look at who the game’s best managers are buying and selling.

We are tracking 1,000 managers with a proven track record, based on multiple top-10,000 finishes in previous seasons, to see how their squads are evolving each week.

Stocking up on Claret

Graphic showing the most purchased players by top managers

We have previously seen that top managers tend to use their transfers to ensure that they have the right premium assets available for the captaincy.

However, if FPL players were Christmas presents, then the most popular new signing this week was more like a pair of socks than a new bike.

Charlie Taylor only recently saw his price rise back to £4.5m following back-to-back clean sheets in a recovering Burnley side.

The Clarets started GW14 in the relegation zone but have relatively easy fixtures ahead and a double gameweek in GW19, which makes their top-scoring defender an attractive budget option.

There were further prudent and similarly-attired acquisitions in the form of West Ham duo Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek, who are now each owned by around three in every 10 top bosses.

West Ham’s Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal

West Ham’s Tomas Soucek (left) and Vladimir Coufal have proved popular with top managers (Catherine Ivill/PA)

The Hammers’ GW14 fixture at Chelsea was among the more daunting but their following games look much more winnable.

Those stocking up for the double gameweek will surely have noticed that David Moyes’ side are at home to Burnley and West Brom.

The week’s other popular purchases were more extravagant.

Despite Spurs having created fewer chances of late, elite bosses aren’t done with their star duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min who rounded out their top three purchases.

While both blanked as Jose Mourinho’s side stumbled against Leicester, their fixture schedule looks fairly gentle until Liverpool visit in late January.

No Vardy at the Christmas party

Graphic showing the players transferred out by top FPL managers

Despite an age-defying 15 attacking returns in the first 13 gameweeks of this season, Jamie Vardy’s ownership among top managers more than halved ahead of the weekend, dropping from 220 to 102 of the squads we’re tracking.

While Vardy’s Leicester have two home matches in GW19 and some winnable games afterwards, expectations of him returning against Spurs this week and Manchester United on Boxing Day clearly weren’t high.

A few may be ruing their decision after he ended up having a hand in both of the Foxes’ goals on Sunday, but the injury he picked up in the process may end up limiting his impact for the rest of the congested festive schedule.

Despite being an ever-present for Manchester City since GW7, patience in another premium asset – Kevin De Bruyne – is starting to wear thin.

Jamie Vardy playing for Leicester

Jamie Vardy is being offloaded by top FPL managers (Alex Pantling/PA)

The Belgian registered two consecutive blanks prior to the weekend and has just two Premier League goals so far this season in an attack which no longer looks irresistible.

An indication that many top managers are concerned about heavier-than-usual squad rotation over the festive period was their willingness to spend transfers on moving out cheap defenders.

Both Tyrick Mitchell and Max Kilman have enjoyed spells in the first team which exceeded the expectations set by their £4m price tag but have since fallen out of favour.

With the congested festive schedule likely to hit harder than usual after an exhausting year, having too much junk on your bench may not be a risk worth taking.