Aston Villa have broken their club-record transfer fee to sign Wesley from Club Brugges.
Wesley, 22, has shone for Brugges in Belgium, scoring 17 goals in all competitions last season alongside being awarded Best Young Player in the league.
The 6ft 3 forward came through the ranks at Itabuna in Brazil from 2009-2015, before earning a move to Europe with Slovakian side Trenčín. In his first season, he scored six goals in 18 appearances before the eyes and ears of the Brugges hierarchy were alerted to both the player’s current form and future potential.
Three full seasons in the Belgian First Division followed, before the news yesterday that newly-promoted Villa had broken their transfer record to sign the 22-year-old prospect.
The Brazilian’s arrival at Villa Park coincides with the club’s return to the Premier League following a three-year absence, but what potential does the forward have for goals, assists and points in FPL?
In 38 league games in 2018/19, Wesley scored 13 goals and registered 10 assists as Brugge finished second in the Belgian First Division.
As a striker, Wesley’s haul of 18 attacking returns would equate to 82 points (13G 10A), but five yellow cards and one red card (-8) would leave the 22-year-old’s base points at 74, excluding potential bonus.
Of the 38 league games played, the Brazilian recorded one point appearances in two games, alongside his sending off, meaning appearance points in the 2018/19 campaign totalled 72.
This would mean if equated to FPL points, Wesley’s total in 2018/18 would sit at 146 points, followed by potential bonus points. A hat-trick against Gent in September was Wesley’s only multiple goalscoring return, and furthermore, an important element of consideration in assessing Wesley’s numbers is the goals scored in thrashings and maulings of Belgian First Division opposition; reducing the Brazilian’s propensity to attract bonus given other goalscoring members of the team.
These came in instances such 4-0 wins over Cercle Brugge, Oostende (H) and Standard Liege, where despite scoring, Wesley’s potential for bonus was significantly undermined, additionally owing to the clean-sheet from Brugge’s backline.
In taking three bonus from his hat-trick performance against Gent, two to three from match-winning goals against Anderlecht and Oostende (A) and assessing the broader pattern of his goals and assists, Wesley’s expected bonus could sit in the realms of 13-15 points (please note, this is an estimation, not a full statistical prediction).
Taking the lower end of the prediction coupled with the base points scored would result in 159 FPL points in 2018/19 – above the likes of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane and level with Tottenham’s Heung-min Son.
This underlines the explosive potential of Wesley not only for Villa in their return to the Premier League but as an FPL asset who is likely to play a starring role in his team’s return to the top-flight.
If Wesley is to excel in Villa’s returning season to the Premier League, the service he receives will be a particularly influential factor.
The midfield trident in Dean Smith’s squad of Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and John McGinn were in remarkable form during the 2018/18 campaign, scoring a total of 21 goals between them alongside registering 27 assists; the latter also collected Villa’s fans and player’s Player of the Year accolade during his debut season in B6.
The form of Hourihane, McGinn and Grealish enabled Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham to shine for Smith’s side in the Championship, and the signing of Wesley at a price in excess of £20m is likely to suggest that their pursuit of signing Abraham permanently from the Blues has fallen short.
Given the 22-year-old’s exceptional goalscoring output in his final season with Brugges, a natural inflation of his FPL price can be expected – one would imagine in the region of £7m – £8m is reasonable for his debut campaign in the Premier League.
Combine this potentially attractive price with Villa’s opening fixtures, which include facing AFC Bournemouth, Everton and West Ham at home in their first five games, and the inclusion of Wesley holds even greater potential; particularly if Smith’s side can get off to a strong start in August.
Villa’s ruthless disposal of eight players following the expiration of their contracts despite promotion to the Premier League underlines the intentions of owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, and the £20m+ signing of Wesley is likely to excite Villa fans as they begin to dream of a striker capable of replicating Tammy Abraham in 2018/19.
But most poignantly for Villa, the last time the club did business in the Belgian First Division, back then with Genk, they acquired a phenomenal striker in the form of Christian Benteke. The Belgian shone during his time at Villa Park, and if Wesley is able to match or better the attacking contributions of Benteke, particularly from an FPL perspective, then this exciting Brazilian prodigy truly could be one to watch ahead of the 2019/2020 Premier League campaign.