Date: 29th December 2020 at 9:00am
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Two times a year, the pre-season and mid-season transfer windows have football fans scooting to the edge of their seat. In the off-season, transfer rumors abound, with each fan tallying which players they’d like to see their squad bring in—and get rid of.

Predictions abound in spring and summer until the pre-season window ends on 9 August. From there, the regular season kickoff quickly distinguishes smart moves from multi-million-pound mistakes—or even a free registration debacle like the 1996 Ali Dia transfer to Southampton.

Not only do incoming players help ignite hope (or suspicion) in fans, but they also tend to feature in interesting prop bets. The Premier League is the most bet-on domestic league in the world, with wagers available from American analysts all the way to Chinese Super League pundits. As such, the diversity of Premier League wagers is astounding—which means big-name transfers can expect fans to bank on their performance on the pitch.

James Rodríguez

Everton

This summer signing for a two-year deal raised a few eyebrows considering the Colombian had ties to manager Carlo Ancelotti and the transfer deal was ‘free’, according to some. Though bonds between players and management often leads to intimate teamwork, it’s also led to a few unwise transfers.

In the case of Rodríguez, there was little question for Everton fans after he began netting goals.   Since joining, his imaginative playmaking has led to three goals over his ten appearances thus far, as well as key shots, assists, and passes.

His skill, coupled with that possibly-free price tag make Rodríguez one of 2020’s most successful transfers. With Everton currently sitting in second place (barely beneath Liverpool) in the Premier League, Rodríguez has already established himself as a leading playmaker for the Toffees.

 Neco Williams

Liverpool

Williams comes not from another Premier League club, but from Liverpool’s own U23 squad. The Reds have lost top players to injuries, especially with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez missing from the defense. Liverpool called on its U23 stars to step up to the plate.

Amongst Caoimhín Kelleher, Curtis Jones, Rhys Williams, and Nat Phillip, Williams has helped replace starters. His debut came on 24 June 2020, and he’s since made four appearances with the club. By 17 August, he’d signed a long-term deal with the Reds to help boost their defense while waiting on van Dijk and Gomez. 

Callum Wilson

Newcastle

Given Newcastle’s penchant for defense, few fans and pundits were surprised by the transfer of Bournemouth’s top striker. However, all bets were on regarding Wilson and whether the young player could prove his worth for a four-year deal reported to be worth £20 million.

In twelve appearances, Wilson has scored eight goals which include Newcastle’s first goal of the year against West Ham on 12 September. Despite the fact that the Magpies’ offense remains comparatively weak, Wilson has made strides in keeping Newcastle away from relegation threats.

Wilson will be invaluable in helping the Magpies develop their offense in the coming years. For the time being, he provides the club their much-needed break on any offensive opportunities.

Ollie Watkins

Aston Villa

As the 2021-21 season kicked off, Watkins’ five-year deal raised ample skepticism from Aston Villa fans with his pretty £28m transfer fee. Much like Ancelotti and Rodriguez, Watkins’ association with Dean Smith could either work for or against him, depending on whether or not Watkins could perform at the same level he did in the Championship League.

However, Watkins hasn’t disappointed. In fact, he’s blown many out of the water with his performance, which began early with a hat-trick against Liverpool on 4 October for a 7-2 victory. In his twelve appearances, he’s scored six goals.

In addition to his scoring power, Watkins has also proved himself capable in the air and capable of directing play from a central striker position. His performance in the 2020-21 season indicates Watkins was a viable investment for Aston Villa that will pay off in years to come, as well.

 

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