Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers have a new cheap forward on their hands in the form of Cameron Archer (£4.5m).
So far in 2023/24, we’ve only had starts from two strikers in the £4.5m bracket: Antoine Semenyo (£4.5m) and Will Osula (£4.5m).
Semenyo has impressed in a right-wing role for Bournemouth over the last two Gameweeks, while Osula has taken advantage of an injury crisis to start all three of Sheffield United’s fixtures.
But Archer now surely becomes the go-to budget forward.
The 21-year-old striker has joined Osula at the Blades, signing from Aston Villa for a reported £18m.
He’s barely kicked a ball in the Premier League before so what can we expect from him under Paul Heckingbottom?
We investigate in this Moving Target article.
CAMERON ARCHER: THE MOVE IN QUOTES
“There was a great opportunity for us to sign a young, exciting forward and one who showed a desire to join us. Cameron brings us pace, agility and a goalscoring record – we are looking forward to working with him.” – Paul Heckingbottom
“Everyone is happy if they are playing football regularly. That’s something I want to do now. I think it was important to come here and look for Premier League football, that was key for me because I want to make that next step now and challenge myself. Hopefully, I can do that here.
“Sheffield United have a long history of developing players in terms of playing and hopefully making better people as well.” – Cameron Archer
CAMERON ARCHER: A BRIEF HISTORY
Archer leaves Aston Villa having never started a Premier League match for the club he has been with for over a decade.
Even his 10 substitute appearances didn’t amount to 90 minutes worth of game-time, his most recent cameo coming in Gameweek 2.
The pinnacle of his Villa career was a hat-trick scored against the mighty Barrow in the 2021/22 EFL Cup second round, with a goal arriving in the same competition against Chelsea a round later.
If you’re getting a strange sense of deja vu, we were basically in this exact position a year ago. Priced up as a £4.5m forward in FPL and getting some decent minutes in pre-season, there had been high hopes that Archer would get more first-team chances under Steven Gerrard or be farmed out on loan to a Premier League club.
Neither happened, in the end.
Twelve months on, after playing a bit-part role over the summer friendlies under Unai Emery, he’s finally getting an opportunity in the top tier.
ARCHER’S LOAN RECORD
|2021/22||Preston North End||Championship||18||(2)||7||1||1,625|
|2020/21||Solihull Moors||National League||11||(15)||4||0||1,039|
We have to look for loan spells with other clubs for any sustained taste of first-team football.
After showing promise and becoming a favourite at Preston North End two seasons ago, his real breakthrough campaign came in 2022/23.
Signing for promotion contenders Middlesbrough on loan in January, Archer averaged exactly one attacking return per start in his 17 line-up appearances.
Highlights included two goals and as many assists in a 5-1 thrashing of Norwich City plus a brace against his future employers at Bramall Lane.
What is noticeable about the compilation below is how slack the marking is and how much time and space he is afforded; this is the first of several caveats about the step up in class he’ll have to make.
Two disappointing, goalless showings in the two-legged play-off defeat to Coventry City ensured the loan spell ended in anticlimactic fashion.
Away from domestic affairs, Archer managed to score six goals in 11 England under-21 appearances – despite only three of them being from the start.
CAMERON ARCHER: PLAYING STYLE