Fantasy Premier League: Impact of Gonzalo Higuain to Chelsea

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We don't typically see many big moves during the January transfer window, but we got one on Wednesday -- Gonzalo Higuain going to Chelsea.

So, what does this mean for us Premier League fantasy players?

First, a little background on Higuain. The 31-year-old Argentina international has been a big-time goal-scorer in Europe for several years now. His best season came back in 2015-16, when he broke the Serie A record by scoring 36 goals for Napoli.

And who was his manager at the time? Maurizio Sarri, who's now in charge at Chelsea.

However, Higuain's numbers have fallen since that season. He moved to Juventus the following summer, still finishing with an impressive haul of 24 goals in 2016-17. But his total dropped to 16 goals in 2017-18, and when Juve acquired Cristiano Ronaldo this past summer, Higuain was shipped out on loan to AC Milan. So far this season, Higuain has just six goals in 15 league games.

What's more, Higuain's goal against SPAL on Dec. 29, in Milan's final game before the Serie A winter break, was his first since Oct. 28.

So, Higuain appears to be somewhat in decline -- which is natural, given his age. But his expected goals per 90 minutes has actually jumped back up this season, from 0.41 to 0.53. He's only scored six goals, but has an expected goals total of 7.56. And being reunited with Sarri should only help.

Higuain will likely be an upgrade on Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, the two center forwards Sarri has used so far this year.

Morata's expected goals per 90 minutes this season is actually pretty good (0.62, putting him ahead of the likes of Harry Kane and Callum Wilson). But Morata hasn't scored a league goal since Nov. 4, only has five on the season, and Sarri has clearly lost confidence in him, leaving him out of the squad entirely in recent games.

Giroud is only at 0.36 expected goals per 90 minutes, with only one league goal on the season.

Chelsea are currently fourth in the table on 47 points, and sixth in goals scored with 40. But they're second in chances created with 289 -- only Manchester City have more (311), and Liverpool are a distant third (251).

Eden Hazard (59) and Willian (55) are first and third in the league, respectively, in chances created. What Chelsea have been missing is a finisher up front, and Higuain could make a big difference there.

A few words of caution, though. Higuain's not a great fantasy player at this point, because he doesn't do a lot besides score goals. He would be 29th in Serie A at 10.6 points per game -- barely half of Ronaldo's average (20.4), and with several other forwards ahead of him as well.

But Higuain's average would place him in the same ballpark as the likes of Marcus Rashford, Raul Jimenez and Richarlison in the Premier League. And his numbers will likely improve at Chelsea. He'll probably be a Tier 1 forward, and a good choice when Chelsea are big favorites.

The happiest man of all about the Higuain move might be Hazard, who will presumably move back to his preferred left-wing position. As I mentioned earlier this week, Hazard has seen his production dip in recent weeks, with Sarri giving up on Morata and Giroud, and deploying Hazard as a "false nine."

The arrival of Higuain should boost Hazard's fantasy value, if nothing else.