Fantasy Premier League: Should you transfer in Lukaku, Benrahma or Varane for Gameweek 2?

Romelu Lukaku Said Benrahma
The trio are likely to be popular picks heading into the second week of the Premier League season but will they represent value for money?

It was a whirlwind start to the 2021-22 Premier League season with 34 goals having been scored and Bruno Fernandes (£12.1m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) delivering mega point hauls for their vast number of FPL owners.

Gameweek 2 kicks off on August 21 but will you be sticking with your squad from the start, ripping it all up and making wholesale changes or perhaps just a single transfer to keep things ticking over?

Whatever you decide to do, Goal takes a look at three players that are likely to come into focus ahead of the weekend and assesses the merits of transferring in each one.

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Romelu Lukaku | Chelsea | Forward | £11.5m

Chelsea's £98m ($136m) summer signing from Inter is expected to make his debut against Arsenal on Sunday and there's every chance he'll be thrust straight into the starting XI at the Emirates Stadium.

Lukaku has already been in training with his Blues team-mates and has proclaimed that he's ready and raring to go against the Gunners, having had a full pre-season after his exertions with Belgium at Euro 2020.

In fact, it would be a surprise if Tuchel doesn't include the club's record signing from the start in what could prove a tricky fixture away at Arsenal, despite Mikel Arteta's side's struggles at Brentford in their opening match.

Lukaku doesn't have a particularly good record against the north Londoners but he has made strides since he first left the Premier League in 2019 and he returns a far more confident and composed forward.

Indeed, looking at his Serie A stats from last season at Inter, Lukaku, who was second to Cristiano Ronaldo in the top scorer charts with 24, had a better shot conversion rate than the Portuguese (17.26%) with a figure of 25%.

His shooting accuracy inside the box, excluding blocks, was also better than Ronaldo's and stood at an impressive 62.34% - of players to have scored 15 or more in Italy's top flight, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic could better that (63.93%).

Compare that to Chelsea's stats from the Premier League last season - where, don't forget, Jorginho was the club's top league scorer with seven - and Lukaku comfortably betters the likes of Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham.

The verdict

At £11.5m, bringing in Lukaku clearly comes at a significant cost although all the signs point to him being able to justify that sort of outlay.

There will be those that still have concerns that Lukaku is no better than when he left Manchester United - where he only managed 12 goals in his final league season with the club - but those fears should be put to bed pretty early on.

He has returned to England in better physical shape and, having just won the Serie A title as Inter's flagship attacking player, he can deal with the burden of being relied upon and Chelsea have been crying out for a player in that mould.

So, our suggestion would be to go for it, if you have the finances available, as Lukaku should quickly become a pivotal part of Tuchel's starting XI and looks the perfect No.9 to complement the Blues' other attacking assets.

Goal's must-have rating (out of 5): ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Said Benrahma | West Ham | Midfielder | £6.1m

The fact that Said Benrahma's price has already risen tells you all you need to know about the impact the West Ham winger made in Gameweek 1.

Newcastle found it tough to deal with the Algerian's trickery and direct running and he capped an impressive afternoon on Tyneside with a goal and an assist - a 12-point haul bettered only by Michail Antonio (£7.6m).

At the time of writing, just 9.9% of all FPL managers own Benrahma although that figure is only likely to increase as we head closer to Saturday's 11am (BST) changes deadline.

Said Benrahma goal West Ham 2021-22

The counter-attacking potential in David Moyes's side, even without Jesse Lingard (£7m) who was so instrumental during his loan spell last season, is devastating, with the likes of Benrahma, Antonio and Jarrod Bowen (£6.5m) all capable of bursting forward and dribbling at speed.

While they look anything but solid at the back, with Newcastle having had 17 total shots over the 90 minutes, the Hammers were level top with Liverpool for shots inside the box (eight) and big chances created (four) across the opening weekend.

The verdict

Even with a slight price rise, Benrahma looks excellent value heading into the next few Gameweeks, especially considering West Ham's fixture list.

The Hammers face Leicester (H), Crystal Palace (H) and Southampton (A) before hosting Manchester United, by which point FPL bosses will be able to ascertain just how big an impact Benrahma is likely to have over the season.

The likes of Bertrand Traore (£6m), Pascal Gross (£6m) and Jack Harrison (£6m) are all available at the same sort of price range although the former Brentford star's impact in Gameweek 1 should nudge him to the top of your list if you're considering a transfer.

Goal's must-have rating (out of 5): ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Raphael Varane | Man Utd | Defender | £5.5m

Manchester United pulled off something of a coup with their £40m ($55m) deal to take multi-Champions League and La Liga title winner Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

As he was unveiled to the Old Trafford crowd prior to their thumping 5-1 win over Leeds United, there was a sense that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who have also acquired Jadon Sancho this summer, could have a serious run at the Premier League title this term.

But is Varane really worth investing in for FPL? The simple answer is: not really.

Raphael Varane GFX Manchester United

Traditionally centre-backs aren't high point scorers in FPL, with marauding full-backs often being better defensive picks that offer more bang for your buck.

Last season, for example, only Ruben Dias (£6m) ranked in the top eight highest point-scoring defenders from the list of what you'd class as centre-backs, while only Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) has figured in the top three since 2018-19.

The verdict

Don't do it. As much as it's nice to have that new summer signing in your starting XI, there is better value to be had elsewhere in the game.

It's by no means certain that Varane will even feature at St Mary's against Southampton on Sunday, with his pre-season having been disrupted by France's involvement at Euro 2020, as well as his requirement to quarantine upon his arrival into the UK.

If you're certain you want a Manchester United defender ahead of appealing matches against Southampton (A), Wolves (A) and Newcastle (H) then you're better off with selecting either Luke Shaw (£5.5m) or Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m).

Goal's must-have rating (out of 5): ⭐⭐⭐

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