We turn our attention to budget midfielders as we continue to trawl through the Fantasy Premier League price list and pick out the names to consider.
There is the usual mix of defensive midfielders, deep-lying playmakers, assets from the newly promoted clubs and the odd attack-minded player to consider in this tier.
We will cover £5.5m options in our look at mid-price midfielders.
From goal threat to bonus point potential, you can find Opta data on the players listed below in our Premium Members Area.
THE £4.5M BENCH FODDER OPTIONS
The primary function of a £4.5m midfielder is to be an emergency option on our benches, to be ready to come in for a two-point (or better) return when rotation, injury and/or suspension bites hard.
The first requirement of such a player is that he is a semi-reliable starter. Yves Bissouma (£4.5m) was named in Graham Potter’s starting XI on 35 occasions last season, a rarity among both bargain-bin midfielders and Brighton assets.
The Mali international fired off 42 shots in 2020/21. Seven of those were inside the box and Bissouma ended the season with one goal and no assists. Just three of his total efforts found the target.
Despite having far fewer attempts on goal, Oriol Romeu (£4.5m) had more shots on target (four) than his £4.5m counterpart Bissouma. The ex-Chelsea man only made his return from injury off the bench in Gameweek 38, so any investors will need to keep an eye on Romeu’s fitness.
Everton enforcer Allan (£4.5m) has been brought into the budget bracket from a lofty £5.5m price tag last year. The midfielder has a negligible goal threat but could be expected to feature heavily under whoever takes the reins at Goodison Park.
Morgan Gibbs-White (£4.5m) is on the opposite end of the spectrum to Allan, having ended the season in Nuno Espirito Santo’s experimental starting line-ups. He racked up 10 shots in the final four Gameweeks but the Wolves midfielder is now under the tutelage of Bruno Lage, so his pitch time will be a real case of wait and see.
When fit, Jack Cork (£4.5m) has traditionally been Sean Dyche’s preferred partner in central midfield for Ashley Westwood (£5.5m). Burnley’s trim squad also adds to Cork’s appeal in terms of minutes.
Another one for the wait-and-see list is Aston Villa starlet Jacob Ramsey (£4.5m). Appearing mainly as a substitute in the latter half of the season, the midfielder racked up 11 goal attempts – eight of which were taken inside the area. Ramsey also created six chances in his 617 minutes of pitch time. The arrival of Emi Buendia (£6.5m) could stifle Ramsey’s development, though he longer has Ross Barkley to compete with.
Bissouma’s team-mate Jakub Moder could be the pick of the £4.5m bunch but is much more likely to succumb to Potter’s rotation wizardry. After arriving back from Lech Poznan in February, Moder made seven league starts – including the final three games of the season. From a left wing-back berth in Potter’s favoured 3-4-2-1 formation, the Poland international has much more licence to get forward than Bissouma.
The metronomic Billy Gilmour has also been placed in the £4.5m category. However, the Scotland international has a tough task on his hands to break into Chelsea’s starting XI ahead of senior midfielders N’Golo Kante (£5.0m), Mateo Kovacic (£5.0m) and Jorginho (£6.0m).
Of the promoted assets priced at £4.5m, only Norwich City winger Lukas Rupp might be of interest. The German made 23 appearances (15 starts) for the Canaries over the last campaign before a hamstring injury curtailed his season in March.
NEWLY-PROMOTED £5.0M OPTIONS
In the next tier up, we begin our £5.0m midfielder search with promoted sides Norwich City, Brentford and Watford.
With 30 starts and eight sub appearances last season, Kenny McLean (£5.0m) easily played the most minutes of any Canary in this bracket. The Scotland international managed two goals and six assists in that time.
Brentford’s Mathias Jensen (£5.0m), who has a share of dead-ball duties, had the same goal tally and one more assist across 38 Championship starts. Team-mate Vitaly Janelt (£5.0m) started one game more, scoring four goals and creating a further three.
Ex-Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley (£5.0m) racked up 32 starts for Watford last season, scoring on four occasions and assisting twice. That’s the best goal-contribution record among Hornets midfielders in this price range.
BIG SIX BACK-UPS AND POTENTIAL STARTERS
Kante is priced at £5.0m for the seventh season in a row. The France destroyer managed just 10 goal attempts in the entirety of last season, which underscores his limitations as a Fantasy asset.
Jordan Henderson (£5.0m) should be a regular Liverpool starter once fit, though would block FPL bosses from a triple-up on Jurgen Klopp’s more attack-minded assets. The luckless Naby Keita, James Milner and Curtis Jones all join their captain Henderson at £5.0m.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£5.0m) is yet another player without a club manager at the time of writing. Whether or not the Denmark man could bring his more assist-filled game for his country to his club may depend on who gets appointed at Spurs.
With 26 goal attempts last season, Thomas Partey (£5.0m) just about outshot fellow defensive midfielders Granit Xhaka (£5.0m) and Fred (£5.0m).
Wilfred Ndidi (£5.0m) is an assured starter at Leicester City but as with many of the options in this article, cannot be relied upon for attacking returns.
While Kalvin Phillips (£5.0m) excelled further forward against Croatia in England’s opening EURO 2020 group game, we can expect him in a more familiar ‘quarterback’ role under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.
His England midfield partner Declan Rice (£5.0m) is another player who guarantees minutes but could also be on penalty-taking duties for David Moyes. If that proves to be the case, the ‘Basmati Busquets’ might be worthy of serious consideration. Rice did miss West Ham’s last spot-kick of the season, however, hitting the post against West Brom in Gameweek 37.
BEST OF THE REST
Southampton attacker Nathan Tella (£5.0m), when used, is deployed as either a No 10 or a forward by Ralph Hasenhuttl in the manager’s favoured 4-2-2-2 system. Tella only made seven starts in 2020/21, however. Those 742 minutes did yield eight shots on target and two big chances created.
Newcastle United midfielder Jacob Murphy (£5.0m) started each of the club’s last nine Premier League games. From a right wing-back role, Murphy managed two goals and three assists over the campaign. Of the 19 opportunities he created, seven were rated as big chances. Quite why he’s listed as a midfielder, when Matt Ritchie (£5.0m) has been reclassified as a defender on the opposite flank, is another question.
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