Seven must-have players for your fantasy team: Salah, Shaw, Iheanacho...

With the new Premier League season just around the corner, it’s time for the head-scratching process of building our fantasy teams. Thankfully, these seven players will get you off to a good start.

Sneaky schemes, tactical plans and clever mind-games - we'll all do whatever it takes to top our fantasy leagues and triumph over family, friends and workmates.

But possibly the hardest and most mind-boggling task is picking your team at the start of the Premier League season. 4-3-3? 3-5-2? The possibilities are endless yet you still somehow end up with Aaron Ramsdale in goal.

So, in an effort to guide your team-building tactics, Planet Sport runs through seven must-have players for your fantasy team ahead of the 2021/22 season…

Mohammed Salah - £12.5million

An obvious first addition to the list, Mohammed Salah is a proven points machine, providing goals and assists for Liverpool regardless of their form.

Even in a disappointing campaign for Liverpool in 2020/21, the Egyptian managed 22 goals and five assists in 37 appearances. It equated to an impressive 231 points in FPL, making him the second highest-scoring midfielder behind Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes.

While his £12.5million price tag is the highest of the midfielders, we're not discouraged by his hefty fee, and are once again backing him to be among the highest point-scorers for 2021/22.

Furthermore, Liverpool have been handed a desirable start to the season, with fixtures against Norwich City and Burnley first up. With Norwich failing to beat Liverpool since 1994, it's a prime opportunity for Salah to open his goalscoring account.

Luke Shaw - £5.5million

After a thrilling season for both club and country, Luke Shaw is a vital creative threat for any fantasy team heading into the new season.

Finally seeming to be over his injury-plagued youth, Shaw is now reaching his potential as a world-class left-back for Manchester United.

In 32 appearances last season, Shaw racked up a goal and five assists for United, on top of ten clean sheets - taking his points total up to 124.

And after racking up a further three assists at Euro 2020 and a goal in the final, Shaw looks a serious prospect for the 2021/22 season.

With United also close to securing the signature of Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane, clean sheets will be even more prevalent for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in the forthcoming campaign.

A feisty first fixture against Leeds United will prove a tough defensive task for Shaw, but subsequent games against Southampton, WolvesNewcastle United and West Ham give Shaw ample opportunity to boost his points tally.

Ollie Watkins - £7.5million

At £7.5million, Ollie Watkins is a bargain for any fantasy team manager looking for a consistent points-scorer.

With 14 goals and five assists in 37 appearances for the Villains last season, Watkins ended as the fourth-highest points scoring forward with 168.

And, with Dean Smith bolstering his Aston Villa outfit with summer signing Emiliano Buendia, his strike force, including Jack Grealish, looks a serious threat to any Premier League side.

With two creative forces either side of him, Watkins should improve on his scoring record from last season, and has a great chance to open his scoring account in Villa's opening clash against newly promoted Watford.

Further fixtures against Newcastle and Brentford only add to Watkins' chances of filling his boots early on.

Raphinha - £6.5million

The Brazilian winger was a surprise package last season following his £17million move to Leeds United from Rennes.

But thankfully for FPL players, Raphinha will only cost £6.5million to join your squad - a bargain for a player that was so often among the goals in Marcelo Bielsa's side.

With six goals and nine assists to his name, Raphinha tallied 133 points last season. And, with a full season under his belt, he looks likely to improve on that figure in 2021/22.

Leeds have strengthened this summer with the acquisition of full-back Junior Firpo, and are bound to enter the campaign with the same fearless style that won over so many fans last season.

They face Manchester United first, before games against Everton and Burnley, and with a full pre-season under their belts, will be full of energy and raring to go.

Aaron Cresswell - £5.5million

After setting the league alight with some superb performances last season, it's a surprise to see Aaron Cresswell available for just £5.5million.

The West Ham left-back finished with a bronze medal on the points chart for defenders, with his 153 points only bettered by Liverpool duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.

With 11 clean sheets and eight assists, Cresswell was a huge factor in West Ham's hugely successful Premier League campaign, and looks likely to retain his spot in David Moyes' defence.

An opening game against Newcastle United is a promising encounter for Cresswell and co as they kick off the 2021/22 campaign, and we're backing him to score high early on.

Emiliano Martinez - £5.5million

Arsenal must be kicking themselves.

After making a £20million move from the Emirates to Aston Villa, Martinez has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.

Despite being pipped to the Golden Glove by Manchester City's Ederson, Martinez topped the points-scoring charts for goalkeepers in FPL last season with 186.

The Argentine shot-stopper racked up 15 clean sheets, making 142 saves in the process.

With Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa completing the heart of the defence, Villa's backline look set to be a formidable unit again. Therefore we're more than happy for Martinez to take our No. 1 shirt.

Kelechi Iheanacho - £7.5million

Leicester's Kelechi Iheanacho rounds off our list, leaving you with £49.5 million to complete your 15-man squad.

The Nigerian striker came into his own last season, despite initially failing to hold down a place in Brendan Rodgers' side.

In just 25 league appearances, Iheanacho netted 12 goals, while also providing two assists. His form towards the end of the season made him undroppable. Indeed, he started the final 13 matches.

With the £27million summer addition of Patson Daka, Rodgers has other options at his disposal but with Jamie Vardy not getting any younger, Iheanacho will still fancy his chances of leading the line for the Foxes.

If Iheanacho is able to start this season as he left off, he looks a bargain addition at just £7.5million.

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