TRANSFER WINDOW specialist Stefan Ince (@Stefanh17) shares his thoughts on the current TO STAY/GO markets available ahead of the deadline on 9th August 2018.
Summer 2018 Transfer Window Best Bets
Betting on transfers is usually (and quite rightly) seen as a ‘muggy market’, as it is essentially based on rumours and gossip that are chiefly stories being leaked by agents desperate to get their player in the spotlight.
Most stories in the daily gossip columns come to nothing. Sky Sports News reporting on SkyBet’s prices dropping and the circular effect that has is a clear conflict of interest, and only makes this market more avoidable.
It’s a market I have followed very closely over a good number of years and have come to the conclusion that profiting from transfers being made is very difficult. Unless you are glued to Twitter all day and see a respected journalist confirm that a transfer is close, any value quickly disappears.
I’d strongly recommending following journalists with strong links to a particular club or area, two of the best being John Percy and Rafa Honigstein.
Virgil Van Dijk’s move to Liverpool in January caught the bookies a bit cold and there was a very short window where the bookies were vulnerable. He was already odds-on to move, but there was still easy, quick money to be made when a photo of him in a Liverpool shirt was released!
However, for those with full time jobs, friends and partners, this isn’t a feasible option.
How the markets work
Steven N’Zonzi and Malcom must have workaholic/insomniac agents because they have been linked to every half decent club in Europe over the last couple of years, and despite the vast majority of newspaper stories being based on very little other than a leaked agent story, the prices do change when a story is published.
Thinking about it from the bookies perspective, they can’t take the risk that the story is based on almost nothing, and with no data to fall back on, they play it safe and drop the price.
It’s not exactly a market for stats/data lovers, but consider these numbers; Sergio Ramos was as short as 1/10 to join Manchester United a few years ago and Jorginho was as short as 1/20 to join Manchester City before Chelsea swooped in.
Hugely odds-on bets do sometimes fail in all markets, but not nearly as frequently as they do in the transfers market.
Also, due to the above volatility and general uncertainty, not many bookies offer transfers markets. SkyBet and Betfair both offer a large selection of players, with the price differences between the two a clear indication of how unpredictable this market is.
Big value found in the ‘To Stay’ markets
So it all sounds like a minefield that is best avoided. But wait, just like any market out there, there is money to be made; in the ‘To Stay At Current Club’ market.
All the excitement in the media is over the possible transfers happening, but the cold, sensible logic says that most of the touted transfers will not happen. Transfers don’t happen overnight, and the ones that do actually happen take weeks of negotiation.
The ‘To Stay’ prices are often very short and will not appeal to many. However, favourites backers with large stakes will see this as a quick way to make some easy money.
Harry Kane to stay at Spurs at 1/10 may seem like a tiny price, but if you just cannot see him leaving Spurs, 1/10 is equivalent to a 10% interest rate, which is a much higher rate (and faster return) than you can get at any bank!
Gareth Bale was a huge 13/8 to stay at Real Madrid a few short weeks ago. This price widened my eyes and I got on, purely because only a handful of clubs can afford him, and the most sensible destination of Man Utd being hindered by their abundance of left-sided attackers and Mourinho’s meltdown.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s surprise move has inevitably led to Bale’s price crashing.
Prices to punt right now
With only nine days left before the Premier League window closes, there are still some tasty prices to be had…
At the time of writing, United are heavily odds-on to sign three separate centre-backs. This just doesn’t make sense, because with Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, phil Jones, Victor Lindelof and Marcus Rojo, they arguably don’t even need one centre-back!
Additionally, with Ed Woodward and Mourinho at loggerheads over transfers, it strongly suggests there’s money to be made backing Toby Alderweireld to stay at Tottenham (7/4 SkyBet), or Harry Maguire and/or Yerey Mina to stay at their respective clubs.
Ante Rebic was only signed permanently by Frankfurt this year, and the gossip suggests a move to Bayern Munich to be reunited with former manager and compatriot Niko Kovac is a possibility. However, 5/4 (SkyBet) to stay at Beskitas seems like good value for a player who is still very green.
Jack Grealish has been seemingly destined to join Spurs for a while, but with the Aston Villa takeover easing financial fears, it could quite easily be one that waits until January. However, Daniel Levy’s brinkmanship is notorious, so happy to leave this one.
Alex Sandro has long been linked to Man U, but it’s been hay bale territory in terms of updates on his situation for a while now, so I’m not sure why he’s still 4/9 (SkyBet) to stay at Juventus.
Domagoj Vida is a hunky price to stay at Besiktas. He has been linked to Liverpool, but they got their deals done early, and aren’t going to spend large sums on a third or fourth choice centre-back.
OK, he got to the World Cup semi-final, but looked very shaky and slow in a few games, so I doubt there will be a queue of clubs in for him, he seems to be at the right level already. However, with the European club window open until the end of August, I’m happy to leave this one alone.
Maurizio Sarri likes to work with the players he has, so don’t expect a huge churn at Chelsea, which makes Ruben Loftus-Cheek to stay at Chelsea a great bet at 2/5 (SkyBet).
Be warned though, the prices are changing all the time – almost by the minute – come the crux of deadline day.
Summer 2018 Transfer Window – Toby Alderweireld to stay at Tottenham (7/4 SkyBet)
Summer 2018 Transfer Window – Ante Rebic to stay at Besiktas (5/4 SkyBet)
Summer 2018 Transfer Window – Alex Sandro to stay at Juventus (4/9 SkyBet)
Summer 2018 Transfer Window – Ruben Loftus-Cheek to stay at Chelsea (2/5 SkyBet)
Summer 2018 Transfer Window – Harry Kane to stay at Tottenham (1/10 SkyBet)