The presence of Yaya Toure, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Marco Reus in the top positions in Euro Fantasy League’s midfielder rankings suggests that you generally get what you pay for when it comes to players in the middle of the park.
Bale was the most expensive of the group, with the general consensus being that Real Madrid paid Tottenham Hotspur £86m for the Wales winger. Then comes Eden Hazard, who cost Chelsea £32m from Lille. Yaya Toure’s price-tag puts him third at £24m, leaving Reus in fourth at a bargain £14.5m. That’s a combined fee for four players of £156.5m. You could buy entire clubs for that.
The top 10 Euro Fantasy League midfielders is generally a mix of expensive purchases and home grown talents. Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid’s Koke fall into the latter category as, technically, does Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona, although La Blaugrana did pay £35m to repatriate the former Arsenal captain from England.
Raffael is the closest thing to cheap in the list and his 15 goals in 32 games have helped Gladbach to a decent position in the Bundesliga, having cost a reported €5m. But the Brazilian is very much the exception that proves the rule.
Goal-scoring midfielders are at a premium and tend to move for fees usually reserved for strikers. But when Toure is netting 19 times, Bale and Hazard 14 and Reus 16, not to mention the best part of 40 assists between them, it’s clear to see why clubs with cash are willing to splash it on midfielders.
A midfielder who reaches double-figures in both categories is akin to having two players for the price of one. They ease the burden on the front man – usually a lone striker with 4-2-3-1 still a fashionable formation – and create chances for their colleagues. In the case of Hazard, he is Chelsea’s top scorer this season, and without the Belgian the Blues’ Premier League title challenge would never have got started.
They’re each accordingly expensive to have in your Euro Fantasy League team, too, although James Rodriguez offered far more value here than in the real world. A €45m signing for Monaco cost €7.5m in Euro Fantasy League; nine goals, 12 assists and 435 points suggests the Colombian would have been money well spent.
But it is Toure who boats the best points-to-value ratio. The Ivory Coast powerhouse cost only €8.5m in Euro Fantasy League and would have delivered 560 points. His 19 goals and 6 assists have put Manchester City in third in the Premier League and while they might yet overhaul Liverpool with the help of their game in hand, if Toure had been fit all season the title could have been wrapped up already.
Indeed, none of the top four players represent teams at the top of their domestic league. Toure, Hazard and Bale could all still claim winners’ medals and it appears clear that to stand a chance of lifting silverware, a goal-scoring midfielder is a must. If you can afford it.