Fede Valverde

Central midfielders are the heart & soul of any club in world football, purely due to their heavy involvement in matches. They dictate their team’s style of play, the pace of the game and can prove to be difference makers on their day.

Their importance to their teams largely justifies why their value in the transfer market is often inflated. They hold an irreplaceable position on the pitch, with some midfielders also possessing the versatility to play multiple roles.

On that note, let’s take a look at the five most valuable central midfielders in the world right now (September 2022).

#5 Nicolo Barella – €70 million

Nicolo Barella has been full of clever runs, boundless energy and silky talent since joining Inter Milan on a permanent deal in 2020.

The Italian had a fantastic UEFA Euro 2020 as his country lifted the title after defeating England on penalties in the final. His progress has been spectacular at the domestic level, as he also played a key role in the Nerazzurri’s Serie A triumph in the 2020-21 campaign.

While Antonio Conte developed Barella into a bustling box-to-box player, current Inter boss Simone Inzaghi has honed him into the complete product. This saw him drive Inter Milan to challenge for Serie A last year as well. While they eventually ceded their title to rivals AC Milan, the Italian midfielder impressed once again.

Barella has also started the 2022-23 season brightly, with four goal involvements in eight games across all competitions for Inter. His current market value of €70 million could easily rise in the coming months, given the consistent nature of his performances for club and country.

#4 Gavi – €70 million

Pablo Gavi, who joined the La Masia academy in 2015, broke into Barcelona’s senior team last season.

The 18-year-old recorded 48 appearances across all competitions last season, as he scored twice & provided six assists. He quickly won the trust of Blaugrana manager Xavi Hernandez and repaid his manager’s faith in him with some superb displays.

One of Gavi’s strengths has been his doggedness on and off the ball and this has gone a long way in sealing his place in the team. He is also incredible in reading spaces to find the right pass and his movement off the ball has been superb.

With Gavi already being capped 12 times by the Spanish national team well before his peak, his market value of €70 million could rise substantially in the near future.

#3 Federico Valverde – €80 million

Federico Valverde is turning into a very special player under Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid fans are seeing the same unfold in front of their eyes.

The Uruguayan international boasts plenty of raw energy, meaningful runs from one box to the other and a seemingly unquenchable thirst to win games. All of this came to the fore as he helped Real Madrid win the UEFA Champions League trophy & La Liga title last season.

Los Blancos have also started the 2022-23 season on the right foot, with Valverde playing an active role. He has started in all of the club’s nine games this season and has already registered four goals & three assists.

The goals have also been of a touch of class, but the importance of his work on the defensive end cannot be understated. Valverde often presses from the front while also intercepting key passes at the back.

An incredible force in Real Madrid’s midfield, Valverde currently has a market value of €80 million.

#2 Jude Bellingham – €90 million

Jude Bellingham is arguably the best young English midfielder at the moment and looks set to start for his country in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The Birmingham City academy product joined Borussia Dortmund in 2020 and has not looked back since. His development in Germany has been scintillating, with the player quickly becoming a fan favorite at Signal Iduna Park.

Bellingham recorded six goals and 14 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions last season, earning him laurels from across the football community.

His best quality so far has been his ability to move with the ball like a gazelle across the pitch. Bellingham’s ball progression, key passes and tenacity going forward have caught the eye as well. The Englishman also puts in a relentless shift defensively in addition to helping his side transition into counter-attacks.

He has also started the current campaign in fine form with three goals in 10 games across all competitions for Dortmund while performing admirably for England. Bellingham’s €90 million market value right now feels like an understatement, given the number of clubs keen on signing him next summer (via Daily Mail).

#1 Pedri – €90 million

It is rather surprising that Pedri Gonzalez joined Barcelona from UD Las Palmas only a couple of years ago. What has followed since then has been quite the story, with the Spaniard now arguably the best midfielder at the Nou Camp.

A generational talent, Pedri has all the qualities to stay at the top for a very long time to come. The youngster is ridiculously good at passing and moving the ball around opponents. Always looking over his shoulder, the 19-year-old always takes calculated risks and it often pays off.

His ability to run the midfield single-handedly is mesmerizing and has made him a starter for not only his club, but also for the national team. The youngster has already won 14 caps for Spain and looks certain to start for La Roja at this winter’s FIFA World Cup.

Pedri’s statistics might not be the best way to measure his worth to his team, but a detailed performance analysis will certainly spell out what he brings to the table. Despite being so young, the Spaniard is already a well-rounded midfielder, and it would not come as a surprise if his €90 million market value increases soon.

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