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Midfielders have been our go-to for top performing players and enablers in recent seasons. So who are the best options ahead of the 2022/23 campaign?
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The best premium midfielders
Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) has to be the first name on our fantasy team sheets, after finishing as the Premier League top goalscorer in three of his five seasons with Liverpool. His underlying numbers from 2021/22 were also very impressive: he was top for both shots and shots on target.
He’s going to be a key player when it comes to captaincy, particularly since Liverpool have favourable fixtures over their first six games. He faces Fulham in Gameweek 1 and Bournemouth in Gameweek 4, where he’s likely to be the most captained.
Heung-Min Son (£12.0m) has seen a significant price hike following his 23 goals last campaign, but he should still be considered as one of our premium attackers. He has scored the most fantasy points of any player in this calendar year.
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) is another premium player to consider: he was the top goalscorer at Manchester City last season with 15 goals. He’s the creative force at the Etihad, dominating set pieces and he collected more bonus points than any other player last campaign.
Further down the midfield price list we have Raheem Sterling (£10.0m) and Bruno Fernandes (£10.0m). Sterling could flourish with regular minutes at Chelsea: a lack of game time at Manchester City was his biggest hurdle to fantasy points last season.
Should Cristiano Ronaldo depart Old Trafford this season, then Bruno Fernandes (£10.0m) could become fantasy gold once more: in 2020/21 he accumulated 32 attacking returns, dominating set-pieces including penalties.
However, we could see a different role for him with Christian Eriksen (£6.5m) joining the club: we may need to bide our time before deciding which of these playmakers is worthy of fantasy investment.
The best mid-priced midfielders
Jarrod Bowen (£8.5m) comes in a fraction higher than the bulk of our favourite fantasy assets from the traditional top six clubs. He was among the top five players last campaign, accumulating 12 goals and 17 assists.
He managed to maintain a high level of output despite a gruelling season for the Hammers in their journey to the Europa League semi-finals. He’s a young player chasing an England call-up for the World Cup and will be one to watch once again.
Among the £8.0m midfielders we have Luis Diaz, Riyad Mahrez and Dejan Kulusevski, who all provide a significant saving on the premium players from their respective sides.
Diaz will likely play the most minutes of this trio, but could struggle to keep pace with the output of Liverpool’s defenders. He managed seven attacking returns in the Premier League since joining last January.
Mahrez and Kulusevski both have potential to be fantasy gems: Mahrez provided the best fantasy points per 90 minutes in 2021/22, with Kulusevski posting the most assists per 90 minutes. However, they both play in teams where there is heavy competition for minutes.
At Manchester City, we could see increased minutes for Mahrez with Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling both departing. This could also help Phil Foden (£8.0m) and Jack Grealish (£7.0m): keep an eye on who is selected in the front three for the Community Shield.
Bukayo Saka (£8.0m) sees a significant price rise this season after registering 20 attacking returns last campaign. His creativity and dead-ball delivery make him an intriguing option, especially with a kind run of opening fixtures for the Gunners.
Martin Odegaard (£6.5m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£6.0m) should also be considered: Odegaard carries a significant assist threat, while Martinelli is a natural goalscorer. We saw Martinelli take penalties ahead of Saka at the end of last season, but that could change with Gabriel Jesus now in the picture too.
Mason Mount (£8.0m) leads the charge for the mid-priced midfielders at Chelsea, since Kai Havertz (£8.0m) has now been reclassified as a forward. Mount finished last season on double digits for goals and assists: he generally avoids Tuchel rotation when fit.
Leicester City finished last season on a high, scoring 13 goals in their final four games. Without European football to manage this campaign, we could see improvements for their players.
James Maddison (£8.0m) accumulated 23 attacking returns for the season and could be worth the extra outlay over Harvey Barnes (£7.0m) who generally plays fewer minutes. Barnes registered six goals and 12 assists last campaign.
We also have Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) at the same price point. The Crystal Palace talisman has avoided transfer speculation this pre-season and finished 2021/22 on 150 points, his best ever return, scoring 14 goals.
Over at Manchester United, Jadon Sancho (£7.5m) and Marcus Rashford (£6.5m) could be bargains at some point this season, if Erik ten Hag succeeds in breathing new life into the Manchester United attack. If we see some consistent form in pre-season then they could be worth the risk from the start.
As we move further down the fantasy price list, the viable options become more scarce. Philippe Coutinho (£7.0m) could take advantage of a kind early schedule for Aston Villa, although the infrequency of his returns last season does raise concern.
Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.5m) has the ability to provide a significant output at Newcastle United, having been reclassified as a midfielder this season. The Magpies need to capitalise on the investment of their new owners, with Saint-Maximin their top fantasy scorer last season.
Perhaps not the most exciting fantasy pick, James Ward-Prowse (£6.5m) provides reliability that few others can. He is the main man in the Southampton attack and a specialist on set-pieces.
His tally of ten goals and 159 points last season was his best ever.
The best budget midfielders
Ward-Prowse’s team-mate Stuart Armstrong (£5.0m) has seen a significant price drop for this season and could provide value should he return to his form of 2020/21, where he returned four goals and seven assists.
Pedro Neto (£5.5m) also dropped in price by one million ahead of this campaign, as his journey back from a significant knee injury continues. He provided five goals and eight assists back in 2020/21, and could make a mockery of his price tag should he reach those levels again.
When it comes to the cheapest midfielders in the game, Andreas Pereira (£4.5m) has benefited from a transfer after the game launched. Priced to be a bench option at Manchester United, he could have a crucial attacking role to play as part of Fulham’s forward line.