With news that the Bundesliga will restart in the 2nd-half of May, no confirmed start date yet, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the next league to ‘potentially' restart, Serie-A, ahead of any official announcement, to get ahead of the curve. I performed a similar analysis to this for the Bundesliga players, which you can read on my blog here.
The reason I think Italy ‘may' be next, just ahead of Spain (which I'll cover on Monday 11th May), is that their number of new cases has been low and contained for quite some time, impacting on the smallest % of the population for the last month. Please remember though to take responsbility for your own trading decisions and if you feel more comfortable, wait for confirmation on a restart. I'm a little more speculative, with a view to topping up when a decision comes out but you need to know your own risk level.
So, let's get on with some analysis based on PEG (Price/Earnings growth) which I covered in another blog post here. Remember, the lower the PEG the better, a PEG of 1 or higher is considered to be overvalued and/or unfavourable.
Once again, I'm starting with the top teams in Serie-A, then focusing on other players at other teams that are showing positive stats. All stats and figures quoted are since 1st August 2019, unless mentioned otherwise
JUAN CUADRADO – 31yo Midfielder £0.54 – Has an earnings growth rate of 106%, returned 8p in Divs, giving him a PEG of 0.06 and a PB yield of nearly 15%. It's tempting, BUT he is 31 and not sure if that earnings growth will be maintained as his price is off his £0.70 high, perhaps as more money is favouring youth holds. I'd need at least a few good reasons to purchase a player over 30.
LEONARDO BONUCCI – 33yo Defender £0.49 – If I'm swerving a midfielder with a low PEG due to age, I'm certainly going to do the same for a 33yo Defender. Bonucci does have Euro's in his favour though and, although Juve lost their first leg CL game to Lyon, I'd be confident they could get a result in the 2nd-leg. He has an EGR of 49%, but off his early-season lows, again as more focus is on youth, but has only returned 3p in Divs giving him a PEG of 0.33.
MIRALEM PJANIC – 30yo Midfielder £1.54 – Has returned 10p in Divs with an EGR of 23% giving him a PEG of 0.66, which is not quite good enough for me, especially, again given his age.
CRISTIANO RONALDO – 35yo Forward £3.28 – I had previously bought Ronaldo, then sold before Covid and bought when football stopped, simply because, when football is not on, he will return Dividends. I wrote a bit about him in my “Media PEG Ratio's since Football Stopped” – where he has risen 28p since football stopped with a 105% earnings growth rate and PEG of 0.09. However, that doesn't tell the full story. Since August 2019, he has a earnings growth rate of just 16%, returned £1.04 in Divs (64% of that through media) with a PB PEG of 0.53 and an MB Peg of 0.30 – that is INCLUDING his recent rise, purely based on media speculation I believe, as you can see from his chart rise since Covid. His combined PEG is healthier at 0.19, but again a lot of that is due to his recent rise since Covid, where he will attract more media, with less football on. At 35yo, even when he was producing the goods with a goal every game at Juventus, his price was still dropping. Sure, he will always get media until he retires but that has to be weighed up against PB potential, a likely drop in capital appreciation and the risk of retirement. I'm happy to stay on board until football resumes in a few more regions, then I'll likely bail, with my profits.
FEDERICO BERNARDESCHI – 26yo Forward £0.92 – Played 8 games during Italian Euro qualifying, scoring 2 goals, which gives him an immediate bump up. Returned 6p in PB Divs with an EGR of 26%, sadly that is a bit lower than I'd like to see and gives him a PEG of 0.59. Actually operates more as a winger/attacking midfielder and for me is more along the lines of a Totti, Baggio and Del Piero, He is approaching a prime of his career but is more often than not used as a substitute at Juventus. I'd like to see more regular game-time but he is interesting from a Euro angle or if a key player gets an injury, thinking Ronaldo, Dybala, Higuain or Costa – could see him get more starting games, as that is currently holding back an upward price movement IMO. Dybala is an interesting one but sadly has dropped in Cap App and I'd like to see a rise first before getting involved, largely due to injury, and more recently recurring +Covid tests but clearly remains a talent.
FRANCESCO ACERBI – 32yo Defender £0.54 – Seems to be a theme that Serie-A has more older players than most leagues, although I've only really started looking at this recently so that may just be recency bias! Has played a few games in Euro qualifying, so perhaps could make the full squad, has been excellent for Lazio this term and has been linked with Chelsea and Inter in March, but apart from that I'd need a little more to get involved with a 32yo central defender. Has 4p in Divs and an EGR 27% with a PEG of 0.50.
CIRO IMMOBILE – 30yo Forward £1.96 – Top goalscorer in Serie-A this term with 27 goals, 6 ahead of Ronaldo and 10 ahead of next best in Lukaku. Did start dropping in price before football stopped as the goals started to dry up and remains to be seen if he can regain that early season form. However, it's worth noting he is 30 now and well off his £2.64 high back in early February. I'll happily swerve but will be interesting to see what happens if he starts getting a few goals if/when Serie-A restarts. Does have 16p in Divs with a 238% growth rate since August 2019 but the recent trend is down and his previous EGR before the dip was closer to 400% – another reason to beware of large %EGR being maintained over the course of a season. However, that does give him a PEG since the start of the season of 0.05 – worth monitoring his form upon return.
LUIS ALBERTO – 27yo Midfielder £2.35 – An attacking midfielder/winger for Lazio who has 4 goals and 12 assists in 25 games for Lazio this season. Had been in excellent form before Covid with great average scores on Sofascore, notably when getting a goal and assists in a 2-0 win over Bologna at the end of February. Already has a couple of PB wins, returning 16p in Divs with a EGR of 163% and PEG of 0.09, which is top-class. I'd love to see him given a chance in the Spanish squad but that looks unlikely, for now. However, Lazio look assured of a Champions League berth next season, currently 8pts clear of 3rd place Inter. For me, he looks a good option as his price hasn't dipped too much without football. A lot depends on the difficult of the fixture schedule but he looks a safe buy for me with great PB potential, in the prime of his career.
DIEGO GODIN – 34yo Defender £0.43 – Another ‘oldie' and the Uruguayan has returned 8p in Divs but a low 10% EGR gives him just a 0.54 PEG so not really on my radar at all.
ANTONIO CANDREVA – 33yo Midfielder £0.49 – Returned 7p in Divs with an EGR of 90% giving him the best PEG in the Inter squad at 0.08. Looks set to feature in the Italian Euro squad, although will be another year older at 34. However, netted 2 goals in 9 qualifying games and has 2 goals and 5 assists in Serie-A this term. Operates as a right-midfielder/winger and he could be a speculative lower-priced play until the Euro's but I'm concerned in his EGR being maintained.
MARCELO BROZOVIC – 27yo Midfielder £1.68 – A little younger than the others, with 3 goals and 5 assists from 23 games. Was a key player in the last World Cup campaign for Croatia and will surely feature again in the Euro's which is a positive. Has an earnings growth rate of 68% but only 3p in Divs, giving him a PEG of 0.83, the highest in the squad. I generally prefer an attacking midfielder rather than a central one for PB purposes but he is a bit interesting, if not an exciting one but he has been linked with Liverpool lately. However, I've not really seen enough and with a PEG approaching 1, and a drop from his high of £2.39, so I'm happy to swerve.
CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN – 28yo Midfielder £2.23 – Had a big money move from Tottenham to Inter in the January transfer window, only accured 5p in Media Divs during that time, and so far has not been that regular a starter for Inter, mainly coming on as a sub. However, has 17p in Divs with an EGR of 21% giving him a PEG of 0.49. It's not bad but not great either. He does have 5 goals in 8 qualifying games for Denmark, so could become interesting if getting more starts and next summer, but for now I'll pass.
DIEGO GODIN – 34yo Defender £0.43 – Returned 8p in Divs but only a 10% EGR, giving a PEG of 0.54, again another indication of the age bias against over-30's, apart from World-class types like Messi/Ronaldo/Lewandowski etc. Has been linked in April with moves to Tottenham and Man United, perhaps an indication both clubs are looking for a decent central defender, which is why I may look at some younger CB's at some point but for now I'm happy to skip given the low EGR.
STEFAN DE VRIJ – 28yo Defender £0.56 – Returned 3p in Divs with an EGR of 60% giving him a PEG of 0.31. Is a regular starter for the Dutch National squad, so will have Euro's. The central defender put in some mixed performances before the break but he is set to be offered a new contract to fend off any interest from the Premier League, despite there been no transfer rumours to speak of. With that in mind, I'm happy to swerve for now, despite the price being tempting, but he is just a bit too close to 30 and a central defender, which doesn't really fit in with my strategy.
STEFANO SENSI – 24yo Midfielder £1.89 – A long way down from his £3.07 high at the start of the season but he does have 7p of Divs, with an EGR of 159%, giving him a PEG of 0.17, which is amongst the best at Inter. He played in 3 Euro qualifiers, grabbing a goal and has 3 goals from 12 appearances in Serie-A, but therein lies the problem, gametime, as he often warms the bench and with Eriksen in the squad, that is unlikely to improve anytime soon. Worth keeping an eye on starting squads to see if he gets more gametime as clearly he is more than capable of winning Divs.
JOSIP ILICIC – 32yo Midfielder £1.67 – Have to start with this guy, who is one of the few that ‘bucks' the age trend, due to his excellent Dividend return, 56p since the start of the season, coupled with an EGR of 194% means he has a lowly PEG of 0.02, probably the best in Serie-A. His price has not had as much downward pressure as some other players due to this I feel, but obviously there has been some talk of his considering retirement of late, so that has to factor into decisions and for me, despite his excellent PB profile, it's a risk I'm not prepared to take. However, he could have some short-term appeal and Atalanta are through to the next stage of the Europa League, which is an added bonus and largely thanks to Ilici hitting 4 in their last game against Valencia. So, yeah I'd probably consider a short-term punt, although that's not really my style of trading on FI.
LUIS MURIEL – 29yo Forward £0.72 – Has returned 7p in Divs with a 36% EGR, giving him a fair 0.29 PEG. The Columbian has 13 goals from 22 appearances in Serie-A but has been on the bench for both the last 2 Europa League games. He struggles for regular gametime right now so is not one I'm going to take a chance with.
TIMOTHY CASTAGNE – 24yo Defender £0.90 – Has returned 3p in Divs with an EGR of 81%, giving him a PEG of 0.37, good but not great and has had only 14 starts in Serie-A and struggled to get back into the squad following knee surgery at the start of the season. The Belgian international did grab 2 goals in 5 qualifying games, so he does have that in his favour, but I'd like to see more regular starts. He has been linked with Tottenham, Napoli and Leicester last month, so any signs of a transfer would be interesting for the full-back.
ROBIN GOSENS – 25yo Defender £1.16 – The Left-back has been linked with Chelsea in January and again yesterday, as well as Inter and Juventus speculation. Obviously, the Chelsea one would be of most interest but either would be a positive move. Since the start of the season, he has 4p in Divs with an EGR of 216%, giving him a very decent PEG of 0.13. Has yet to earn an International call-up but that is still a possibility. He has 7 goals in 22 Serie-A appearances and for me, is priced about right, and about the right age, for a speculative defender play.
ALEXSANDR KOLAROV – 34yo Defender £0.73 – Kolarov has earned 9p in Divs this season, with an EGR of 93%, giving him a PEG of 0.09. However, his price movement has been downhill from a high of £1.10 since November, I should know as I bought him when I first joined and then sold for a small loss when I decide to cut older players from my port. Roma are still in the Europa League, and I expect he could earn more Divs, but due to the cap app drop, he is not on my radar due to the age.
CHRIS SMALLING – 30yo Defender £0.65 – I tend to worry less about age for central defenders as they have more time, potentially, until retirement and Smalling has had a great season at Roma. He has earned 16p in Divs, with an EGR of 186%, giving an excellent PEG of 0.02 and also been linked with a move back to his loanee club Man Utd, as well as speculation surrounding Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool. My guess is he will stay at Roma and has probably another few years ahead of him with Div returns, but perhaps less of an upward price movement but at 65p he has some appeal.
LORENZO PELLEGRINI – 23yo Midfielder £2.62 – The young midfielder has 4p in Divs with a huge EGR of 341%, resulting in a PEG of 0.19 – would require more Divs to justify that price movement, and I expect a dip unless that happens. He has been linked with Everton, Inter and Tottenham last season, more recently with Juventus and PSG, but nothing has transpired yet. He played in 3 Euro qualifying contests, scoring a goal and surely has a squeak at making the Italian squad next summer. Even if he doesn't, he has plenty of time on his side with the Europa League this season and a squeak at Champions League next season, with Roma only 3pts behind 4th placed Atalanta, but at least should get Europa League again next season and possibly some transfer spec.
LORENZO INSIGNE – 28yo Forward £1.92 – 11p in Divs, combined with an EGR of 77% gives Insigne a 0.23 PEG which is pretty respectable. He is not old, but also not the youngest, however he did nab 3 goals in 4 Euro qualifiers and could make the final squad based on that and on a season where he has 5 goals and 5 assists from 25 Serie-A games along with a goal in the Champions League, which Napoli are still in after a 1-1 first leg tie against Barcelona. That campaign may not last long unless they win and don't concede at the Nou Camp but they are still likely to get into the Europa League next season. It's a tricky one but his PEG is not quite good enough and he is off his £2.39 high.
MARIO RUI – 28yo Defender £0.69 – 12p in Divs, in February alone, and an EGR of 196% is impressive going for a defender, resulting in a squad-best 0.03 PEG. That's pretty impressive going for a defender who doesn't have any goals in Serie-A this season but he does tend to get in a lot of crosses and passes so fits the matrix well. At £0.69 you could do a lot worse but, again, he is closer to 30 than he is to 25. However, he could be worth a short-term punt to accrue some Divs and Cap App in the short-term. Don't think he will make the Portuguese Euro squad but you never know.
DIEGO DEMME – 28yo Midfielder £0.38 – 6p in Divs and a cap app of 131% gives him a PEG of 0.05, which is pretty good, largely down to a couple of rare game-winning goals, but at least shows he can get on the scoresheet. The problem is that he doesn't always get a lot of consistent gametime lately and his 2 PB wins have come when he has played the full 90-minutes, which I'd like to see again but is a short-priced punt if getting a favourable run of fixtures.
ARKADIUSZ MILIK – 26yo Forward £1.27 – Poland are in the Euro's and Milik will feature so that's good news. The other is that his age is ok, he also has 9 goals from 16 games, again struggling with regular 90-minute gametime which is hampering his PB scoring and his form has not been so great this year. Will wait to see if he gets games and is sharp enough before being interested. Has 8p in Divs with EGR of 48% so the 0.33 PEG is not the best.
FABIAN RUIZ – 24yo Midfielder £2.84 – Spanish International who played 6 games in Euro qualifying with a goal and 2 assists. Has 2 goals and 2 assists from 22 appearances in Serie-A for Napoli and very much a defensive midfielder it seems. Has been linked with Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid, any of which makes perfect sense and I'd think he could get some MB of the back of that. In the meantime, he has 8p Divs with a 76% EGR giving him a PEG of 0.47, which will need to be improved upon, but has age on his side and for me, looks a good option.
OTHER PLAYERS OF NOTE
So, those are the top players, from a PEG perspective, in the Top-Tier teams. Does anyone else standout a little further down the table? For the sake of analysis, I'm ignoring players 28 and older and those who have PEGS higher than 0.5. That gives me 10 players in total, so let's break them down.
THEO HERNANDEZ – 22yo Defender Milan £2.02 – 16p in Divs is pretty incredible for a defender, especially one who tends to pick up quite a few cards, let alone one who is only 22yo and not playing for a ‘current' Top-6 side. Barcelona have been linked with him, PSG were reportedly interested in the youngster, but I can see him staying at Milan based on his response to those rumouts and helping Milan back into one of the top sides in Serie-A. He has 5 goals from 22 games and I think could push for a spot in the French squad for Euro2021. He is probably one of the best left-backs in Serie-A right now and looks a value price to me with those 16p in Divs, 417% EGR giving him a very low PEG of 0.03.
ANDREAS CORNELIUS – 27yo Forward Parma £0.48 – The Dane has 9 goals from 18 appearances in Serie-A, on-loan from Atalanta. He wa apparently a flop at Cardiff but seems to have found his stride at Parma. 7p in Divs with an EGR of 133% gives him a PEG of 0.05 and his price holds some appeal for those looking for a cheap striker but he is not for me, although has a squeak at the Danish Euro 2021 squad.
DOMENICO BERARDI – 25yo Forward Sassuolo £1.93 – 9 goals and 5 assists in 20 games for the right-winger have resulted in 16p in Divs with an EGR of 230% giving an excellent 0.05 PEG. Has been linked with a potential move to Arsenal which would clearly be a plus but he clearly is producing decent figures in Serie-A anyway and based on that PEG and EGR, could be a speculative play, despite playing for a mid-table side and with no real chance of a Euro 2021 call-up.
JAKUB JANKTO – 24yo Midfielder Sampdoria £0.70 – Just 4p in Divs this season but 146% EGR gives him a decent PEG of 0.12. Will play a part in the Euro's having played 8 qualifiers, netting a goal and 3 assists. Has 2 goals and 2 assists in Serie-A, is another player who has been linked with Arsenal but clearly gets a bit of a boost with the Euro's appeal. Not quite for me, but certainly on the radar/watchlist.
NIKOLA MILENKOVIC – 22yo Defender Fiorentina £0.84 – 5p in Divs, with an EGR of just 34% but still a PB of 0.49, which is borderline. Has been linked with Atletico, Barcelona and Man United in the past and has 3 goals in Serie-A this season. Not an option for me, but the young Serb is interesting enough to keep on the watchlist and monitor.
DEJAN KULUSEVSKI – 20yo Midfielder Parma £2.14 – Has had an incredible 312% EGR, netted 3p in Divs, giving a PEG of 0.23 with 5 goals and 7 assists frm 23 appearances. His loan period from Juventus ends in June and he has been signed by, and he is clearly a player of extreme talent, likened to Robben and just 20 gives him a bit more earnings growth potential with a chance to be part of the Sweden Euro squad next summer. I'm happy to get involved at this price with European football next season and a good run in a top squad assured for the foreseeable future.
ANDREA BELOTTI – 26yo Forward Torino £1.42 – 8p in Divs with a 78% EGR and a PEG of 0.23 – good stats for the Torino captain, has been linked with moves to Man Utd, Everton and Napoli in the last month. Scored 4 goals in 7 European qualifiers for Italy, likely to make the squad for next summer and 9 goals in Serie-A this season, is pretty good going for a team in the bottom-tier and I'm sure will get a move away and see his EGR and Divs increase.
RODRIGO DE PAUL – 25yo Midfielder Udinese £2.10 – 20p in Divs, combined with a 56% EGR gives him a 0.19 PEG. The Argentinian left-winger has 5 goals from 23 games and has been linked with Inter, Milan and Lazio. They sit towards the bottom of Serie-A so it's a bit of a gamble on a move happening, so a speculative, albeit slightly risky buy but happy that he has achieved those figures in a bottom half side.
So, more players than I expected when I started this analysis, certainly some good looking PEG buys in there and a few speculative ones to add to the watchlist, which I recommend everyone use as a guide to whether their players are rising or not. These all have PB Divs, so some just require a little more growth rate in terms of price to be appealing. I'll perform La Liga analysis next and finish with EPL sometime next week, any feedback or comments appreciated.