Football INDEX Insight – Who are the best performance picks?

Even though the new season is now all but upon us, Index traders are still eagerly awaiting confirmation of the launch date for when the proposed performance buzz dividends will kick in.

When details of the performance buzz were first released last month, we were told that players playing in Europe’s ‘big 5’ first divisions, namely England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, as well as those playing in either the Champions League and Europa League, would be able to attract performance related dividends.

My previous article looked at when the best time to buy and sell your shares, but with performance buzz specifically in mind, which players are the best ones to have in your portfolio?

I will look at each of the top European leagues and pick out my top tip for consistent performance dividends, my star buy which perhaps represents the best value for money and a wildcard pick.

Premier League (England)

Top pick – Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku has proved in recent seasons he can consistently score 20+ goals in the Premier League for both West Brom and Everton. Lukaku should be United’s main striker now and with them also competing in the Champions League this year he will have plenty of opportunities to score goals.

Star buy – Alvaro Morata

Whilst Morata doesn’t have any Premier League experience yet he has already shown at Juventus and Real Madrid he can score lots of goals at the highest level. With Costa all but out the door, I expect Morata to be Chelsea’s main striker and therefore will have plenty of opportunities to get performance buzz points. At nearly £3 cheaper than Lukaku as well he may be a shrewd investment.

Wildcard – Benjamin Mendy

Last season Benjamin Mendy was brilliant for Monaco as an attacking left back. When Monaco attacked he was often seen getting to the by-line and whipping in plenty of crosses for Mbappe and Falcao. Now at Man City and playing for manger who also loves to attack, expect to see Mendy doing plenty of the same for Jesus and Aguero. With regular payouts promised for defenders, Mendy could be a bargain for under £1.

La Liga (Spain)

Top pick – Lionel Messi

No real explanation required. Perhaps the greatest player ever to have played the game. With Neymar gone, perhaps there will be even greater expectation on Messi to carry Barcelona next season. Messi has been consistently brilliant every season he has played to date and I don’t see that changing next season.

Star buy – Antoine Griezmann

Once the move to Man United broke down this summer his price crashed but if you are prepared to hold shares in him for a little while you may just see some tasty profits. Griezmann has scored 15 plus goals in each of the last 4 seasons and with a move to United still mooted for next summer you could have a player regularly in with a shout of performance buzz whose share price could rocket up again next summer.

Wildcard – Marco Asensio

Marco Asensio is a talented young player destined for great things. Whilst he may not be first choice for Real Madrid, when he has played he has almost always showed great promise. Asensio made 23 appearances in the league last year scoring 3 goals. However, with Bale getting seemingly injured every few weeks Asensio may get even more chances to show his stuff. If he doesn’t, he has been consistently linked to a move to the Premier League so all may not be lost.

Seria A (Italy)

Top pick – Paula Dybala

Juventus have dominated Seria A in recent seasons and with the proposed performance buzz rewarding players who play and score for teams that win matches, choosing a Juventus player seems a sensible choice. Dybala scored 11 goals last season although he was injured for a short time and 19 the season before. At 23 he should be approaching his prime and barring injury I am expecting great things from Dybala this season.

Star buy – Lorenzo Insigne

Insigne bagged 18 goals for a Napoli side last season who ran Juventus close for the title. At 26 Insigne should be at the peak of his powers and at £1.59 he may be a great addition to your portfolio.

Wildcard – Keita Balde Diao

Towards the back end of last season Keita was on fire. He scored a total of 16 goals in the league but 11 of those came since the turn of the year. Currently plying his trade for Lazio, who are in the Europa League too, if he can replicate the form he showed last season, at 68p he could be an absolute steal.

Bundesliga (Germany)

Top pick – Ousmane Dembele

A young midfielder with the world at his feet. This summer he has been linked to Barcelona as Neymar’s replacement which shows how highly he is rated. Although he only scored 6 league goals last term he got double the number of assists and was a constant threat whenever he played. Whether he stays at Dortmund this summer or moves on, I would expect him to record similar stats next season.

Star buy – Christian Pulisic

Another outstanding young Borussia Dortmund prospect. He doesn’t turn 19 until next month but has already put in some breath-taking performances for both club and country. He made 29 appearances in the league for Dortmund scoring 3 goals. With Dortmund in the Champions League again this season, expect him to add to this tally. At 91p as well, he is in my opinion a player worth having.

Wildcard – Breel Embolo

When he signed for Schalke last summer big things were expected of Embolo who had shone for Switzerland at Euro 2016. Despite showing early signs of promise, unfortunately for Embolo he was badly injured in October 2016 and hasn’t played competitively since. If he can recapture the form that led to his big money move to Schalke than at 66p Embolo could turn out to be one of the best bargains on the whole of the Index.

Ligue 1 (France)

Top pick – Neymar

The player everyone is talking about right now after his mega move to Paris St Germain. It is generally thought of that Neymar left Barca so he could step out of Messi’s shadow and get recognition for being an amazing player in his own right. Time to start delivering.

Star buy – Kylian Mbappe

The very definition of a wonderkid. Nobody had really heard of him before the turn of the year and by the end of last season he was talked about as being potentially the world’s most expensive footballer. Quite a 6 months. He scored 15 league goals last season for Monaco which is astonishing considering he effectively only played half a season and doesn’t turn 19 until December.

Wildcard – Memphis Depay

When he moved to Man United a couple of seasons ago it seemed Depay had the world at his feet but unfortunately for him things didn’t quite work out. Now at Lyon, who are playing in the Europa League this season, he has an opportunity to re-establish himself. Last season he showed flashes of brilliance, including a goal from the half-way line, so if he can show the kind of form again that got him a move to United in the first place, at 83p he may just be a cheap gem.

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