The center midfielder position is becoming a lost art. Players are now designated roles, for instance, a defensive mid. In the Premier League there are still those left tasked with winning the ball, keeping possession and providing support to the attack. A great, or even good, true central mid needs stamina, technique, grit, defensive and offensive prowess, positional awareness and not essential but beneficial, leadership.
The list of quality players with the above, for this season and moving forward, is shorter than you may think. First let me address those left off the list and the reason for it:
Gerrard (with age has become a deep lying playmaker, Although on his day he can still top this list)
Lampard (similar to Gerrard but these days is relied on for specific duties as appose to the whole package)
Michu started a midfielder but has slowly been converted into a traditional number 10
Rooney I think could be a top 5 center mid in the world, but alas Moyes still sees him as a support striker/advanced mid
Cabaye just doesn’t provide enough defensively based on the eye test for me
Let’s have look around the league of the best center mids left;
Best Center Midfielders
Aaron Ramsey – let’s start with the current obvious choice. Stealing all the headlines and in the form of his life, Mr Ramsey is awakening those previously oblivious to his ability with some truly sumptuous performances. Leading the league in tackles from mid as of writing this while chipping in with 6 goals already he is currently the definition of a try centre mid. With Flamini to help defined and Ozil providing offensive spark, Ramsey has found himself contributing on both ends but not having to be the best at either (although currently he is Arsenals most dangerous midfielder). Ironically, despite the dearth of center mids, Arsenal have another in Wiltshire who provides a little bit of everything on both ends of the pitch. But current Aaron is ahead in development and performances.
Moussa Dembele – there are a few Tottenham players you could consider putting on this list, including a favourite of mine Sandro. But with Dembele you have the more in form player, capable of bossing a midfield while having deceptive technique and vision being able to contribute with goals/assists also. It wasn’t long ago he went to Old Trafford and absolutely bossed the midfield on both sides of the ball. A truly gifted player who perhaps doesn’t get his just due.
Marouanne Fellaini – defensively a stalwart but I do question his technique as it’s definitely not on par with the two above. He uses his giant build to boss the midfield and protect his back four while as evidenced last year, he is absolutely more than capable of contributing with goals. He even played some time as a support striker for Everton and I expect this to dip dramatically this year at United. He could form a great middle with Carrick/Kagawa but whether we see it is a another story. He may be off this list next year however as United look like they may begin to employ him more strictly as a defensive mid.
YaYa Toure – impossible to do this list without him. City struggled at times last year and it coincided with the form of the truly dominating Ivory Coast giant. Physically he is able to bully just about any team in the world while he has the technique and attacking know how to rival anyone on this list. He brings drive, power, a deft touch and goalscoring ability. Man City have traditionally liked to push him further up the pitch due to difficulty presented in marking him but time and again he has proven he is more than capable of shielding the back four.
Who do you think is the best from the above and who else should be on the list? Is the true center mid a dying position?