There’s a “growing problem” for Premier League clubs, according to Athletic journalist David Ornstein, and it comes from an unlikely source – the official Fantasy Premier League game.
Players and staff at clubs have been flagged up for transferring players out of their sides ahead of any official team news.
Jack Grealish was missing from his side’s game against Leicester on Sunday but rumours came out about his injury 24 hours before.
Writing on The Athletic, Ornstein said, “Matt Targett, Conor Hourihane and Neil Taylor all transferred him out of their Fantasy Premier League sides. So did Scott Adey-Linforth, Villa’s first-team performance analyst, and physio Rob Marshall.”
Leeds United star Liam Cooper was also named in the story.
“Leeds captain Liam Cooper transferred Gjanni Alioski out of his side ahead of Friday’s game against Wolves,” Ornstein wrote.
“Alioski had started the previous 17 games in all competitions for Leeds, a run stretching back to November 7 last year, but he was absent from the start at Molineux.
“Leeds’ player and staff league was discovered by users of website Reddit earlier in February, making this information easily accessible.”
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said of the Grealish leak, “I’ve been made aware that on social media there were some rumours that he wasn’t going to play. If it’s coming out of our training ground, then I find out where it is coming from and reprimand where it’s coming from.”
Talking about the leaks on the Breakfast show on talkSPORT (Monday, 8am), Ally McCoist said they were “despicable”.
“It’s an utterly despicable act for something to come out of the dressing room that could affect the team,” McCoist said. “That’s how serious I take it.”
How bothered will Marcelo Bielsa be by all of this?
We doubt it will even register on his radar. Bielsa actually used to give his starting XI out ahead of the game but has stopped that since promotion to the Premier League.
The FPL leaks are going to get bigger, though, with strategy pages posting the leaks on Twitter and fans desperate for any inside info that could help them in the game.
⚠️🔻 [AVL] Multiple insiders transferred OUT Grealish!
— FPL Insider (@insider_fpl) February 19, 2021
The only way to avoid it is for clubs to tell players not to include teammates in their FPL sides, or to stop them playing the game altogether.
As much as we think it’s all rather amusing, it’s obvious that Dean Smith and Ally McCoist don’t see it the same way.
And we think these leaks might dry up pretty soon.
In other Leeds United news, View: Bielsa to hand Leeds ace just 2nd-ever start as attacker axed – Predicted Leeds XI v Soton