Our EURO 2020 coverage and partnership with UEFA continues as we scout the best Fantasy midfielders in every price bracket, from premium to bargain-bin.
BEST PREMIUM MIDFIELDERS
- Price bracket: €8.0m to €10.5m
Security of starts is something we Fantasy managers demand as a bare minimum from our premium assets but there are question marks over many of the high-priced midfielders going into Matchday 1.
Kevin De Bruyne (€10.5m) looks set to miss Belgium’s clash with Russia, while Eden Hazard (€10.0m) may well only be a substitute given that fitness issues have dogged his preparation for EURO 2020.
Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane and Jadon Sancho (all €9.5m) are far from ‘nailed’ with their respective countries, with even Raheem Sterling (€9.5m) – a clear favourite of Gareth Southgate’s – now facing some stiff competition in the wide areas for England.
There’s a lot to be said for the slightly less expensive talismen playing for less-fancied nations, then.
If Denmark score, the chances of Christian Eriksen (€9.0m) having something to do with it are very high.
He is the focal point of this team in open play and he takes penalties, free-kicks and corners. His record for the Danes has been stellar over the years, and he hit another purple patch in the October/November 2020 Nations League games, scoring five goals in as many games.
No international strikes this calendar year isn’t ideal preparation but a sensational assist in the June friendly against Germany underscored the fact that the Fantasy points could just as easily arrive from other routes.
Gareth Bale (€9.5m) is another virtual one-man show with Wales but given the Dragons’ ongoing struggle for goals – 10 in their last 13 internationals – there’d be understandable reservations about whether he or Aaron Ramsey (€8.5m) are worth the outlay. And that’s before we contemplate both players’ patchy fitness records.
Some more familiar names to Fantasy Premier League managers are worthy of consideration and look better options than many of their more expensive positional rivals.
Georginio Wijnaldum (€8.0m) could make for a great differential, for instance. Most of us will know him for his deep role at Liverpool where he isn’t a major offensive threat, so this could keep him under the radar.
But he’s deployed in a more advanced position for the Netherlands and eight goals in seven qualification matches illustrates the difference in his roles for club and country.
His form has continued for the Dutch, with seven attacking returns in as many appearances going into this summer’s tournament.
Manchester City pair Ferran Torres and Phil Foden (both €8.0m) are identically priced to Wijnaldum and are also appealing.
Torres has five goals in as many fixtures for Spain, with a hat-trick against Germany a high point. The Manchester City midfielder has made the right wing spot his own and also scored in springtime wins against Georgia and Kosovo, with an impressive treble against Newcastle at club level thrown in towards the end of 2020/21.
Foden similarly starred whenever he was on the pitch for the Citizens this season, coming away with 17 FPL involvements from just 1,607 Premier League minutes. He also has two goals and two assists from his first six England caps, although like Sterling, perhaps the rotation risk is too off-putting.
With no goals and one assist in his nine international appearances before Wednesday’s friendly with Israel, Bruno Fernandes (€10.5m) – who it’s fair to say has shone more at club level than he has for Portugal – hadn’t put in a convincing audition to EURO 2020 Fantasy managers.
But two goals and an assist in that final tournament warm-up game will rekindle interest, with the Manchester United man registering seven shots on goal and five key passes in that rout of Israel.
Diogo Jota (€8.5m) comes with a more tempting price tag and boasts three goals and an assist from his last five competitive matches, playing off the left for the Portuguese.
The reigning champions’ most attractive group stage fixture, against Hungary, is up first, for those looking for short-term Matchday 1 punts before playing a chip thereafter.
Serge Gnabry (€9.5m) and Kai Havertz (€9.0m) don’t face Hungary until Matchday 3, which perhaps explains why their ownerships are sub-5%. Gnabry’s record of 16 goals in 21 starts is the best goalscoring rate of any active international footballer and looks the pick of the bunch from Die Mannschaft.
Goalscoring number 10s Hakan Çalhanoglu (€8.5m) and Marcel Sabitzer (€8.0m) are among the best of the rest, with Paul Pogba (€8.5m) and Luka Modric (€8.5m) probably overpriced given their deeper roles – although the latter does boast penalty-taking responsibilities for Croatia, which is not insignificant given how whistle-happy many international-level referees can be.
BEST MID-PRICE MIDFIELDERS
- Price bracket: €6.0m to €7.5m
The positive news for those wanting further insight into Italy’s starting XI is that we’ll see the teamsheets for their match against Turkey before the EURO 2020 Fantasy deadline passes.
Domenico Berardi (€6.0m) will be a steal if he starts in the tournament curtain-raiser, with Federico Chiesa (€7.0m) – his rival for the right-wing slot in Italy’s front three – also enticingly priced and significantly cheaper than Lorenzo Insigne (€8.5m) on the opposite flank of an attack-minded Azzurri.
Chiesa comes into this tournament off the back of a fine season with Juventus but Berardi, who scored 17 league goals for Sassuolo in 2020/21, has found the net in each of his last four appearances for his country and was given the nod in the final warm-up game against the Czech Republic.
Identically priced to Chiesa, Yannick Carrasco (€7.0m) could be the short-term beneficiary of Eden Hazard’s fight for fitness with Belgium. The winger, who is a million cheaper than wing-back Thorgen Hazard (€8.0m) behind him on the left flank, started both of Roberto Martinez’s side’s June friendlies, claiming the assist in the draw with Greece.
Team-mate Youri Tielemans (€6.5m) is half a million cheaper and more assured of a start in the longer term, with parallels perhaps to be drawn with Foden and Mason Mount (€7.0m) with England. The Chelsea man has become one of Southgate’s preferred men in midfield and already has four goals and an assist in his first 16 caps.
And there are also similarities between Wijnaldum and John McGinn (€7.5m), with the Villa midfielder’s more advanced role with Scotland helping him to seven goals during EURO 2020 qualification.
McGinn isn’t quite ‘out of position’ but that’s a possibility for Piotr Zieliński (€7.0m), who could be up top for Poland and on a share of set-piece duties.
BEST BUDGET MIDFIELDERS
- Price bracket: €4.0m to €5.5m
The two most-popular midfielders in the official EURO 2020 Fantasy game are curiously to be found in this price bracket.
Given that ‘ball recoveries’ are not rewarded with points in the official UEFA Fantasy game (as they are in the Champions League version), it seems a little odd that N’Golo Kante (€5.5m) finds himself as the most-owned midfielder in the entire game; perhaps the Chelsea man’s cut-price availability and his recent real-life heroics are influencing thinking there.
Meanwhile, Loic Nego (€4.0m) sits in around 40% of squads at the time of writing, with his price – he is one of just three midfielders in this bargain-bin bracket – the primary reason for his popularity.
With manual substitutions allowed in the official EURO 2020 game and ‘bench fodder’ perhaps less appealing as a result, his ownership does seem excessive.
He’s not a regular starter, either, have made Rossi’s line-up in just three of the last 11 internationals that Hungary have played.
In truth, you get what you pay for in this price bracket.
Austria’s influential utility man David Alaba (€5.5m) does stand out – he is fond of a shot or two, having had 17 attempts on goal in five EURO 2020 qualification appearances.
Spain’s Marcos Llorente (€5.0m) has also been a gathering interest after a 12-goal season for Atletico Madrid, although it should be said that he featured from right-back (very much a reverse ‘OOP’) in the goalless draw with Portugal last week.
Returning to the first match of the tournament, Turkey’s Yusuf Yazici (€5.5m) warrants attention: he was ranked fourth for goal contributions per minute in Ligue I last season.