As a whole, we FPL players are a greedy bunch – we want to have our proverbial cake and eat it too. We want the points explosions from Sterling, we want Salah’s scary consistency and who doesn’t want the likes of Mane and Son in their team? We know these players are expensive, but they’re worth it, and we want as many in our team as possible.
But these players come at a price – a significant one at that – and if your team is going to be full of them, you’ll need some budget options to maintain some balance. Before we get into that, though, it’s probably best to explain just what a budget midfielder is.
What is an FPL budget midfielder?
We’ve already established that everyone wants the Sterlings and the Salahs of the FPL world, but with a budget of just £100m, the spaces in your team that aren’t occupied by world-beaters still need to be filled.
In the case of budget midfielders, we’ll set the main criteria as being players valued at £5.5m and under. Any higher and you’re straying into the mid-priced territory and whilst they may look tempting, after splurging on the big hitters, they may be a luxury you can’t afford. These players act as enablers for you to go out and buy the FPL stars.
So, you’re looking at midfielders for under £6m, now you’ve just got to pick them. But how? What should you be looking for in these budget players? Surely they have little to no value, that must be why they’re priced so low in comparison…
What makes a good FPL budget midfielder?
First things first, it’s time to reign in those expectations. These guys aren’t going to haul every week – in fact, you may be seeing a lot of 2 pointers, with the odd 5 in there every so often.
But that’s the point: you want consistency from these budget players. That brings us nicely onto the first and possibly most important facet of what makes a good budget midfielder – playing time.
Stick with me here, because this is complex stuff, but…if a footballer isn’t on the pitch, he isn’t going to be able to return you points. Shocking, I know, but it’s something FPL players forget very quickly when choosing their budget players.
Of course, it’s tempting when a mid-table side signs an Argentine wonder kid who scored 110 goals in 100 games in the Spanish Second Division. He could be the next Messi for all we know. But there’s no guarantee of playing time for this kind of player. He may need three months to settle in. He may realise he hates Leicester’s city centre and wants to go back home. It’s a risk that simply isn’t worth taking.
So alongside playing time, what else is there that could entice you into these cheaper options?
The introduction of VAR may have a significant effect on this for the 19/20 season because if we see the increase in penalties many are expecting, there could well be some hidden gems in the budget midfielder range. If a player is chief penalty taker for his side or takes direct free kicks and corners, his potential for FPL points is greatly increased.
Who are the best budget midfielders in FPL 19/20?
We now know what a budget midfielder is and what separates the good from the bad, so who are the midfielders under £6m that you should be looking at for the 2019/2020 FPL season?
Anwar El Ghazi (AVL) £5.5m
Following an impressive loan spell at Villa Park last season, El Ghazi made his move to the second city permanent this summer. At just £5.5m, he looks to be a potential steal.
Whilst his teammate Jack Grealish may grab most of the headlines, El Ghazi made 31 appearances for Aston Villa last season, scoring five times and contributing six assists.
The tricky winger looks to be sure of game time again this season, so he’s one to keep an eye on as he adapts to the Premier League.
Ruben Neves (WOL) £5.5m
A mainstay in the Wolves starting eleven, Neves fits the bill for what you’d want from a budget midfielder.
The Portuguese is on all direct free kicks for Wolves and has a history of scoring from long range. Add his rotating penalty-taking duties into the equation and for £5.5m Neves is a cheap option for your midfield with some potential for returns.
It’s worth mentioning that Wolves’ Europa League campaign may take a toll on their domestic campaign this season, however. Neves may be slightly more prone to rotation than others on this list.
Demarai Gray (LEI) £5.5m
Four goals and one assist last season don’t exactly tell a compelling story for Gray, but in a Leicester side that looks to be set up in a more attacking fashion under Brendan Rodgers, Gray could be a key benefactor.
Harvey Barnes fought his way into the side last season following his loan spell at West Brom and could provide competition for Gray, but the latter’s versatility on either wing could see him preferred to the out of favour Rachid Ghezzal.
Leicester’s surprise acquisition of Ayoze Perez from Newcastle could well change Rodgers’ plans in the attacking positions though, and it’s worth considering that the Foxes won’t have splashed £30m just for Perez to sit on the bench. Gray’s minutes could well take a hit.
Robbie Brady (BUR) £5.5m
An injury-plagued 2018/19 campaign meant Brady only saw just over 700 minutes of Premier League action. With that said, forget about his wand of a left foot at your peril.
The Irishman’s delivery from set pieces remains of the highest quality, and with Sean Dyche’s…direct…brand of football, a return to the first-team could see Brady outplay his starting price of £5.5m.
Jorginho (CHE) £5.0m
Another asset who will be on penalties for his side, Jorginho offers a solid but basic option for your FPL midfield. The Italian isn’t going to be busting a gut to make late runs into the box, and he’s unlikely to be an assist machine from midfield.
What he does guarantee is minutes, though. It’s unclear how much of an effect VAR will have on the number of penalties given next season, but should we see an increase – as we expect – Jorginho’s modest price could help you to get one or two extra big guns in elsewhere.
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