5 Defensive Midfielders with Rising Stocks in World Football
Which under-the-radar performers have been impressing you, and who's making gargantuan strides in their careers already this year?
We pull the focus away from the star names and check on those quietly putting together top quality seasons, picking out five individuals who have shone on a consistent basis.
There were plenty of names to choose from, and the likes of Luca Marrone just missed the cut.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton
Fans of Arsenal and Liverpool, among others, were desperate to see their club finance a bid for the Frenchman, while many believe he set his level last season. The truth is, he's already upped it.
Schneiderlin is an integral part of a Southampton side who sit third in the Premier League after 11 games, just two points off the top. His statistics may have dropped slightly, but that's no marker of his play; his goal on Saturday was a just reward for his superb play this year.
Grzegorz Krychowiak, Reims
Ligue 1 is the source of many bargains, and while eyes will be cast toward Blaise Matuidi and his contract situation, Reims' Grzegorz Krychowiak may continue to fly under the radar.
He's a top midfielder, and at just 23 years of age has a fair chunk of time to fine-tune his game. He's chipped in with two goals and an assist domestically this season already and boasts both technical and physical ability.
He's extremely clean in executing tackles, possesses great reach, great awareness and can pick a wonderful pass.
Jorginho is one of the finest young regista-esque playmakers in Serie A.
He's shown immense confidence in his own abilities and an absolute fearlessness when given his chance, quickly becoming a key cog in a Verona side who have already won seven games this season.
The Express have reported interest from the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, and manager Andrea Mandorlini has admitted it will be near-impossible to keep hold of this young talent.
Jorginho is averaging 62.8 passes per game and an 86.7 percent completion rate, essentially making him the heartbeat for this newly promoted team.
Sergi Darder, Malaga
Malaga had a clear out this summer (again) and lost numerous key assets. With very little money spent on quality replacements, the door was thrown wide open for youngsters to enter the side and impress.
Los Boquerones have been relying on 19-year-old Sergi Darder in defensive midfield to anchor an XI fraught with tinkerings and changes, and he's doing a very reasonable job in a tense atmosphere.
Malaga will be fighting to keep themselves out of La Liga's relegation zone this season, and Darder's combative presence will be key should they scrape clear.
Cruzeiro are waltzing toward the Brasileiro Serie A title on the back of some consistently excellent performances in key areas.
They've conceded just 29 goals in 33 matches—the second-best record in the league—and have scored the most with 69. Nilton, in defensive midfield, has been a key contributor at both ends as he puts together one of his best-ever seasons.
He's strong in every area, tackles cleanly and chips in with his fair share of goals, too. The focus will be on the likes of Dede as he returns to form, but few have been more integral to this side than Nilton.