The Fantasy Football Blog week 21: a heartbreaking farewell

Miles Reucroft is undertaking a different way of playing the ever popular Fantasy Football this season. To understand his methodology, read part one here. The Week 1 review is here, Week 2 transfers & preview here, Week 3 preview here, Week 4 preview here, Week 5 preview here, Week 6 preview here, Week 7 preview here, Week 8 preview here, Week 9 preview here, Week 10 preview here, Week 11 preview here. Week 12 preview here. Week 13 preview here. Week 14 preview here. Week 15 here. Week 16 here. Week 17 here. Week 18 here. Week 19 here. Week 20 here.

It’s been an average couple of weeks. FC Fakin’ Run Aboutabit has suffered a minor slip down the rankings, but nothing to get unduly het up about. At our pre-FA Cup point we were 1,203,924th in the standings, we now lie in 1,219,958th. It’s not the end of the world.

It started well. The first games saw us rack up 64 points against a game week average of 50, led by captain Kane once again.

The midweek offering of 39 points against an average of 47 is what did the damage. And where there is damage, there must also be repairs.

Gary, our player agent, has been difficult to get hold of these past few days. With the transfer deadline looming in some competitions (not the ridiculous world of fantasy football, though), he’s been out and about, wheelin’ and dealin’ like a regular Del Trotter.

We had to make an unprecedented move this week, since Marko Arnautovic, after a hugely promising debut, crocked himself so he had to be offloaded between game weeks. In the interests of maintaining at least one slightly unhinged mercurial talent within the ranks, we kept things European and went Swiss. The Austrian departed quickly and with my best wishes for £6.9m. He’s welcome back. Indeed, I hope he can return to play a part later in the season.

In his stead Gary was almost reading my mind. “You need a bit of pace, a few tricks and a howitzer of a shot, don’t you?” he says.

He’s on the money. “I’ve got Xerdan Shaqiri ready to rock and roll at £6m flat. What do you reckon?”

Xerdan made his debut mid-week and did okay. He can be a bit hit and miss, to put it mildly, but I’m optimistic that I can get the best out of him.

That wasn’t the end of our transfer business, either. I’ve been put in a difficult position and had to bid farewell to a couple of long-term members of the side.

“I need buyers for a couple of players, Gary; what can you do for me?”

“That’s a stupid question, it’s what I do – who do you want shot of?” comes the sharp retort.

“The first is Tiemoue Bakayoko,” I reply. “I like the lad, but he’s, you know, a bit shit. I need an upgrade to a player who can actually anchor the midfield.”

My voice then begins to break, my bottom lip shaking uncontrollably. This is the toughie. “The sec… the second one i… is, Dave Silva,” I blurt out, before breaking into a sob.

He’s been a magician for us; a truly wonderful player. He’s a great lad to have around the place, too. He’s never late, never moans, he’s a terrific lad from a terrific family. But… he’s not been himself of late, mostly down to injury. There’s no room for sentiment in sport and we have to move on for the good of the team.

Gary gets me £5m for Bakayoko and £8m for Silva. I sit at my desk with a large whisky, watching the chauffeur pack Dave’s belongings into the boot. Dave stands there, turns to face the training ground and inhales deeply. He looks to the heavens before turning and getting into the back of the car. My heart breaks as the car pulls away and I draw the blinds. I turn away to face my own uncertain future – a future that still contains Phil Jones. I knock back the whisky, unhook the phones and pour myself another. 

Christian Eriksen is a fine replacement, though. He’s a similar, less-injured version of Silva and I’m excited to have him in the squad. He costs a princely £9.2m but if you’re replacing Silva, you have to spend big.

In place of Bakayoko arrives Fernandinho for £5.1m. This is excellent news because Fernandinho isn’t shit. The coffers are now empty though. I’ve gone all in. We’re approaching the crunch and it’s time to deliver.

Team for week 21:

3-4-2-1

Schmeichel – Maguire, Otamendi, Jones – Shaqiri, KdB, Fernandinho, Cresswell – Eriksen, Firmino – Kane

Subs

Gomes, Xhaka, Okazaki, Hegazi

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