Dream Team kicks off for real tomorrow night when Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace.
For those who have left their selections to the last minute, and those still tinkering, we’ve assembled five bargain midfielders we believe are capable of mixing it with the expensive superstars this season.
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Jadon Sancho (£3m)
There’s no denying the England international has endured an underwhelming start to life as an Old Trafford resident.
The 22-year-old mustered just five goals and three assists in all competitions last season having registered 36 goal involvements for Borussia Dortmund in 2020/21.
However, there is a sense Sancho was hindered by Man United’s rudderless tactics under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, something Erik ten Hag hopes to rectify.
If the Red Devils are improved under the Dutchman’s watch then Sancho should tick along nicely and his starting price of £3m will soon look very generous.
Philippe Coutinho (£3m)
Only five midfielders currently feature in more teams than Aston Villa’s playmaker-in-chief.
Plenty of gaffers are backing the Brazilian to build upon his tally of five goals and three assists achieved following his high-profile return to English football in January.
Coutinho is one of the best long-range shooters in Europe and was once among the very best assets in his position in the realm of Dream Team during his time with Liverpool – though obviously he doesn’t have European fixtures to bolster his schedule these days.
The only concern here is how his returns dropped away after his impressive initial burst although a goal at the Etihad on the final day of the Premier League campaign will have made his summer break a fraction more enjoyable.
Pedro Neto (£3m)
Injury troubles restricted the Portuguese youngster to just 463 minutes of action last term so it may be the case that Dream Team managers need reminding of his talent.
In 2020/21 he registered five goals and six assists in the Premier League and made a habit out of scooping regular Star Man awards.
Back then he was categorised as a forward but this season he’s classed as a midfielder, boosting his viability considerably.
Raul Jimenez (£3m) will be absent for the first few weeks of the campaign so the onus is likely to be on Neto to provide the finishing touch for Bruno Lage’s side.
Christian Eriksen (£3m)
Another player proving to be a popular selection ahead of Game Week 1.
The Denmark’s international’s ownership of 12.2% eclipses that of Jarrod Bowen (£4.5m), Phil Foden (£5m), Mason Mount (£5m) and several other top-tier performers.
Eriksen’s talismanic efforts helped steer Brentford to a comfortable finish last term after a worrying free fall prior to his involvement.
The 30-year-old’s ability is undoubted as he’s one of a select few active players with 50+ goals and 50+ assists to their name in the Premier League.
If he’s a regular starter for Man United then he should tick along well enough but it remains to be seen how he will be utilised by Ten Hag – is there space for Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes (£5.5m) in the same XI?
Martin Odegaard (£3m)
Speaking of Scandinavian playmakers, Arsenal’s No8 will hope to build upon his encouraging 2021/22, during which he scored seven goals and provided five assists.
The Gunners have impressed during pre-season with many pundits tipping them for a top-four finish.
Emile Smith Rowe (£3m) and Fabio Vieira (£3m) represent formidable friendly rivals but as it stands, the role of attacking midfielder in Mikel Arteta’s line-up is Odegaard’s to lose.
Will the presence of Gabriel Jesus (£5m) up top help boost the Norwegian’s numbers?
That’s your five but we’ll also offer up Brennan Johnson (£2.5m) as a bonus.
The Nottingham Forest man is categorised as a midfielder but will predominantly play as a second striker – he scored 19 goals in all competitions last term.
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