We turn our attention to the best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) budget midfielders as we continue to survey the price list.
We will cover the £6.0m-£7.5m options in our forthcoming look at mid-price midfielders, so the focus here is on anyone £5.5m or under.
With unlimited transfers allowed during the World Cup downtime and a Wildcard to use before then, we’re mostly focusing on Gameweeks 1-8 in this series.
Opta stats on the players featured in these articles are available in our Premium Members Area, where you can now get a full year’s subscription for just £2.49 a month.
Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Pedro Neto (£5.5m) is proving a popular pick among FPL managers, sitting in 20.8% of squads at the time of writing.
The Portuguese made his comeback from a serious knee injury in February and was limited to just five Premier League starts in 2021/22, but still managed to register an assist against Manchester City and find the net at Anfield in Gameweek 38.
Looking back further, Neto made 31 Premier League appearances under Nuno Espirito Santo in 2020/21, topping the goal-scoring and assist charts at Wolves with 13 (five goals, eight assists) attacking returns. If he can recapture that kind of form, he’ll offer real value at just £5.5m.
However, for a club that has just finished in the top half of the Premier League, some caution is still required when assessing Wolves’ attacking assets: Bruno Lage’s side finished among the division’s lowest scorers last season and ended the campaign on the slide, with just one win in their final nine matches.
In an attempt to get more from his misfiring attack, Lage has been experimenting with a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 formation in pre-season, which could potentially boost their attacking output.
The fixture list has been pretty kind, too, with just one of Wolves’ first six matches coming against a traditional ‘big six’ opponent.
READ MORE: FPL 2022/23 ‘sleeper’ picks: Pedro Neto
ANTHONY GORDON/DEMARAI GRAY
Anthony Gordon (£5.5m) has been handed Everton’s number 10 shirt for the forthcoming campaign after a string of impressive displays.
Since the turn of the year, the youngster has bagged four goals and two assists in 18 Premier League starts, averaging 4.1 points per match.
Now, the winger has set his sights on improving those numbers in 2022/23:
“I think for me, I’ve always said I want to be a top player, I don’t just want to be a good player. So, I want to score more goals and get more assists. I’ve said it plenty of times, that’s what’s going to take my game to the next level and ultimately where I want to get to. That’s what I’m looking to add to my game and I’m working day in, day out on little details with the manager and Joe [Edwards] on how I can do that. So, I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s going to go.” – Anthony Gordon
Notably, the youngster was already bossing a lot of the underlying stats at Goodison Park, leading his team-mates for final-third touches, crosses, chances created and big chances created in 2022, while only the now departed Richarlison (£8.5m) could trump him for shots and efforts in the box.
Demarai Gray (£5.5m), meanwhile, enjoyed a solid debut season at Goodison Park, although consistency was an issue: The winger registered five goals and five assists in 2021/22, but three of those goals arrived in his first five outings under Rafa Benitez.
Everton are coming off the back of a disappointing season where they barely managed to escape relegation after a 3-2 win against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 37, and they do meet four of last season’s top seven from Gameweeks 1-8.
However, there is certainly potential for one of Gordon or Gray to step up in the coming season and help fill the void left by Richarlison.
Despite a stop-start debut season at Brentford, Yoane Wissa (£5.5m) finished strongly, bagging six attacking returns in the final nine Gameweeks of 2021/22.
That coincided with Thomas Frank mostly using a 4-3-3 formation, a system that allows Wissa more starting opportunities, rather than the 3-5-2 which relies on two central strikers.
With 0.47 goals per 90 minutes last season, there is clearly potential for Wissa to shine, but it remains to be seen just how Brentford will set up following the arrival of Keane Lewis-Potter (£5.5m), a £16m signing from Hull City. The versatile forward can operate on either flank, which suggests he’ll be competing with Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo (£6.0m) for a spot in the starting XI.
The loss of Christian Eriksen (£6.5m) should also be factored in, given how much they improved when he was involved last term.
That is perhaps enough to hold off investing in Wissa, but Brentford did finish the 2021/22 season very strongly and don’t meet one of last season’s top four until Gameweek 12.
With his ownership already sitting at 21.6%, Andreas Pereira (£4.5m) is currently the fourth-most popular midfielder in FPL.
The Brazilian has spent the last two seasons on loan at Lazio in Serie A and Flamengo in his native home country, where he produced seven goals and two assists.
He had, of course, been at Manchester United for 11 years prior to his summer move, making 75 appearances for the first-team.
However, with opportunities limited at Old Trafford following the arrival of Erik ten Hag, he has moved onto Fulham for a fee understood to be worth £10m.
Pereira has mainly been used as an attacking midfielder throughout his career and does look like a decent replacement for Fabio Carvalho (£5.5m). He is yet to prove himself consistently in the Premier League, but if handed a midfield role in Marco Silva’s 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 formation, he could potentially offer excellent value at just £4.5m.
“I’m a huge fan. He’s a player with great technique. He’s able to create space on the ball in the midfield for his team-mates. He’s very clever on the pitch, he makes the ball run, and so he doesn’t necessarily need to run too fast to put intensity into the game. His performances were amazing when he played in the position where he is most comfortable. In Brazil, we say it’s the second position of midfield, (where he can) watch the match in front of him, and be able to take the ball to the box. He can make the engine of the team work well.” – Cahe Mota, journalist at Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte
For most, Pereira will be an emergency option from the bench, who can come in for a two-point (or better) return when rotation, injury and/or suspension bites hard. Because of that, it’s easy to see why Pereira features in so many drafts right now.
OTHER CANDIDATES: THE PROS AND CONS
Brenden Aaronson (£5.5m) arrives at Elland Road from RB Salzburg, where he scored 13 times and provided 15 assists in 65 games. And he is somebody manager Jesse Marsch knows well, having worked together in Austria. Naturally, he will need some bedding-in time, but the attacking midfielder impressed in Leeds United’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in Brisbane on Sunday, as he looked to get on the ball and create at every opportunity. Aaronson has a good chance of starting in behind Patrick Bamford (£7.5m) in Gameweek 1 and the opening fixtures are very good too, although the loss of two key players – Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips (£5.0m) – should of course be factored in.
Signed from Bayer Leverkusen for £25m last summer, Leon Bailey (£5.0m) struggled to make much of an impact at Villa Park in 2021/22 due to injury. As a result, he definitely falls into the ‘punt’ category, but he has performed very well in his two friendly run-outs so far, and that could be enough to land him a place in Steven Gerrard’s starting XI for Gameweek 1. Emiliano Buendia (£6.0m) is likely to provide the stiffest competition, which is one to monitor, but it does feel like Bailey is in the driving seat, at least for now. Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn, both £5.5m, are alternative budget midfield options in the Villa ranks, but perhaps don’t carry quite as much upside as Bailey.
Alexis Mac Allister (£5.5m) joined Brighton and Hove Albion in 2019, but sparked into life last season, as he netted five goals and two assists in 22 Premier League starts. Generally deployed as an attacking midfielder, the Argentine does carry some potential given that he featured regularly for Graham Potter in 2022, completing 90 minutes in 17 of Albion’s 20 Premier League matches since the turn of the year. His 6.91 expected goal involvement (xGI) tally from Gameweek 21 onwards actually ranked 15th amongst all midfielders, which is encouraging for a £5.5m midfielder.
Elsewhere, there are a bunch of reasonably appealing alternatives, including Michael Olise (£5.5m), Eberechi Eze (£5.5m), Pablo Fornals (£5.5m), Tomas Soucek (£5.5m), Stuart Armstrong (£5.0m) and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (£5.0m). However, it’s unlikely many FPL bosses will start out with these options, given their opening fixtures, but they may become more appealing around the time we deploy our first Wildcards, which is when their fixtures ease. For example, West Ham United’s schedule improves dramatically from Gameweek 7 onwards.
It’s hard to recommend Anthony Elanga (£5.0m), too, given that we don’t quite know where he stands in the pecking order right now.
Meanwhile, behind Andreas Pereira, Josh DaSilva and Jack Colback could be the pick of the £4.5m category, although further transfers in at Brentford and Nottingham Forest will need to be monitored.
FPL POINTS PROJECTIONS
Our algorithm-generated FPL points projections for the 2022/23 campaign have been refreshed for the first time.
These will be updated as pre-season continues and more team news information becomes apparent.
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