Where Will Schweinsteiger Rank Among the 15 Best Box-to-Box Midfielders in Premier League History?

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MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 03:  Bastian Schweinsteiger of Muenchen runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and FC Schalke 04 at Allianz Arena on February 3, 2015 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

With Bastian Schweinsteiger's proposed move to Manchester United, the Premier League welcomes one of the best box-to-box midfielders to grace the beautiful game. 


As a breed, box-to-box midfielders are renown for their defensive prowess coupled with the ability to burst forward and provide an attacking threat, be it a goal or assist. 


Since the League's inception in 1992, fans of England's top flight have been lucky enough to be blessed with some of the best midfielders in the world, but where does Schweinsteiger rank amongst the league's best? 

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15. Gareth Barry

​Probably not the player most people would expect see head up this list, but Gareth Barry's longevity in the Premier League makes it hard to omit him from the top 15. 


Currently the Premier League's highest active appearance holder, Barry's career has spanned an impressive 562 league games, topped only by Ryan Giggs, Frank Lampard and David James. 


50 goals is a decent return for a player who operates mainly deep in midfield. His defensive grit is evident with his disciplinary record having become the first player to reach 100 yellow cards in the Premier League. 

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14. Michael Carrick

​Another evergreen player of the Premier League era, Michael Carrick doesn't appear to show any signs of slowing down. 


Having impressed for both West Ham and Tottenham, Carrick was seen as a natural replacement for Roy Keane by Sir Alex Ferguson. Nine years and 263 appearances later, it seems the Scotsman's eye for talent was once again proved to be correct. 


Carrick has been somewhat goal-shy in his Premier League career, netting just 23 times in 428 appearances but like Barry, his defensive contributions have been second to none.  

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13. Ramires

Having been nicknamed "Queniano Azul" ​or "Blue Kenyan" during his time with Brazilian side Cruzeiro, in part due to their blue strip and his phenomenal endurance, Ramires has gone on to prove himself as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the Premier League.


His pace and stamina both seem to be everlasting, whilst his eye for goal has certainly not gone unnoticed during his time for Chelsea despite only netting 15 times in 147 games in the league. 


The opening goal in the 2012 FA Cup final just weeks after his chip in the Camp Nou in the infamous Champions League semi final against Barcelona mean Ramires will forever remain a Chelsea cult hero. 

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12. Emmanuel Petit

The World Cup winner was one of the key components in Arsenal's double winning side of 1997/98, attributing flair and skill to a classy Gunners side.


The ponytailed ​Frenchman was bought by Arsene Wenger, reuniting the pair from their time at Monaco. Wenger switched Petit into a defensive midfield powerhouse where he formed an imposing partnership with Patrick Vieira. 


Petit had a less impressive second spell back in England with Chelsea, but he will be forever remembered by Arsenal fans for his contribution over three trophy laden seasons. 

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11. Michael Essien

​With constant struggles overcoming a cruciate knee ligament injury, it's easy to forget how good Michael Essien was during his time at Chelsea. 


Nicknamed the Bison due to his speed and strength, Essien finally joined Chelsea in 2005 after a long protracted transfer saga. He became a linchpin of Jose Mourinho's title winning side during the 2005/06 season, forming an unstoppable midfield trio alongside Claude Makelele and Frank Lampard.


His goalscoring capabilities are not to go unmentioned, with the Ghanaian often opting for the spectacular including memorable strikes against Barcelona and a late equaliser against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. 

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10. Luka Modric

​The Croatian midfield dynamo joined Spurs in the summer of 2008 and quickly became known for his vision, passing range and creativity. 


Initially used as a deep lying playmaker by Juande Ramos, Modric struggled being called lightweight. With the appointment of Harry Redknapp came a more advanced role for the Croat, seeing him flourish all throughout midfield both defensive and offensively. 


His work ethic both on and off the ball earned Modric a move to Real Madrid after just four years at Spurs, but it was enough to earn the little playmaker a place in our top 10. 

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9. Xabi Alonso

​Style, class and vision, Xabi Alonso helped revolutionise the style of play for Rafa Benitez' Liverpool side.


Joining in 2004 from Real Sociedad, Alonso became a pivotal part of the Champions League winning side who overcame a 3-0 deficit against AC Milan in Istanbul. It was the Spaniard who scored the equalising goal helping the Merseysiders on their way to their fifth European Cup.


His impeccable vision, scope of passing and long-range goalscoring ability earned Alonso a place in Liverpool folklore. 

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8. Michael Ballack

​Singing Michael Ballack on a free transfer from Bayern Munich was seen as a great coop for Chelsea, despite some critics seemingly suggesting he was past his prime. 


His influence during his four-year spell in west London didn't go unnoticed with the Stamford Bridge faithful, with 16 goals and 15 assists in 105 league appearances with the former Germany captain winning the Double in 2010, arguably during his best season for the club. 


Ballack's physical strength and prowess in the middle of the park, along with his shooting ability left many defenders wondering how to stop him. 

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7. Bastian Schweinsteiger

​Coming in at seventh on our list, it's safe to say Bastian Schweinsteiger is a welcome addition to the Premier League. 


The 30-year-old German is set to join Man United this week and is arguably one of the finest box-to-box midfielders of the last decade. 


His influence in the Premier League is obviously yet to be known, but having flourished under Louis van Gaal at Bayern Munich, his midfield capability will be a breathe of fresh air to Manchester United fans worldwide. 

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6. Roy Keane

​Any list complying great midfielders of the Premier League era would certainly be depleted without mention of former Manchester United captain Roy Keane. 


The Irishman was part of a dying breed of cynical and aggressive midfield maestros, who not only dominated the middle of the park but would dominate whole games with panache and technical ability. 


Keane's United trophy haul speaks for itself, having won seven Premier Leagues, four FA Cups and one Champions League. Despite leaving United in disrepute in 2006, Keane will be remembered as one of their best ever acquisitions. 

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5. Yaya Toure

​When he's not sulking about birthday cakes, Yaya Toure is one powerhouse of a midfielder. 


It's safe to say he's one of the best in the business at bursting forward from deep in midfield, providing assists and goals for Man City with apparent ease.


His long strides are a unique attribute that make him visible from most places on the football pitch, and it's very rare to see Toure apprehended once he's galloped past midfielders and defenders alike. It's hard to think of a current box-to-box midfielder better than the Ivorian. 

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4. Patrick Vieira

​It's easy to see why people compare Yaya Toure to Patrick Vieira. During his playing days, the Frenchman possessed the same gazelle-like stride, strength and range of finishing as the Ivorian. 


Vieira was the original midfield dynamo, appearing to burst through from midfield to attack in what seemed like a matter of steps with cumulative ease.  


His time at Arsenal was highly successful, seeing Vieira win four FA Cups and three Premier Leagues, including captaining the unbeaten side of 2004. 

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3. Steven Gerrard

​The oldest and perhaps longest running debate in Premier League history: Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard. Never an easy one to decipher but in terms of box-to-box ability, there was only one winner...


Gerrard's illustrious Liverpool career came to an end this summer after 17 seasons with the Merseyside club and is arguably their greatest ever player. 


His ability as a box-to-box midfielder is second to none and with his reading of the game, incredible range of passing and goalscoring capability, Gerrard is one of the best in English football history.  

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2. Frank Lampard

​You don't get to be a club's all-time record goalscorer as a midfielder without having the capability of being the best in the business as a box-to-box midfielder. 


Many people scoffed at the £11 million Chelsea paid to West Ham in 2001, but 211 goals later, it's funny to think anyone ever doubted him. 


Lampard's knack at finding space, often starting play from deep in midfield to finishing them himself in the opposition box set him apart from the rest. His work rate and professionalism were cited as key factors in his success and three Premier League trophies, four FA Cups, two League Cups as well as captaining Chelsea to both Europa League and Champions League glories speak for themselves. 

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1. Paul Scholes

​Who else could top this list but Paul Scholes?


The Manchester United legend is easily the best there has been in the Premier League era. His goalscoring was usually spectacular, with Scholes known for his long range goals, his ability to pass a ball 70 yards with immaculate ease and his pitbull-like attitude to tackling won Scholes fans countrywide. 


Scholes spent his whole career at United, making 718 appearances for United, the third-highest number of appearances for the club. 


The Englishman's trophy haul is almost unparalleled, winning 11 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and 2 Champions Leagues, He's the second most decorated player in Premier League history behind Ryan Giggs. 


Not bad...

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