Despite the ever-changing nature of football, a team's reliance on an intelligent defensive midfielder has always shone through. The deepest-lying midfielder is generally responsible for screening his defence while also keeping the game ticking in the middle.
Sergio Busquets, for instance, is widely regarded as the most successful defensive midfielder of this era, having anchored the great Spain and Barcelona midfield that went on to win every possible trophy in their sight. Along with Busquets, this generation has been blessed with several other uber-talented defensive midfielders such as the likes of Xabi Alonso, Gennaro Gattuso, and several others.
Here, we take a look at the most valuable defensive midfielders in the world at the moment.
#5 Jorginho | Chelsea | £46.8m
Chelsea's Italian maestro Jorginho kicks off this list in fifth place after a relatively successful season with the Blues. The 28-year-old isn't the quickest or most athletic names on this list, but he makes up for it with his excellent positioning and reading of the game. Jorginho made his name as a regista in Maurizio Sarri's Napoli side.
Last year, Jorginho appeared 31 times in the Premier League for Frank Lampard's Chelsea and was an essential player in the Englishman's debut campaign. He also participated in seven UEFA Champions League games, and racked up a total of 44 appearances for Chelsea scoring seven goals in this period. His passing range, ability to control the tempo of a game and leadership on the pitch make him a valuable asset for Lampard on the pitch.
#4 Fabinho | Liverpool | £50.4m
Liverpool destroyer Fabinho comes in next on this list as arguably the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League. The Brazilian was one of the most impactful signings made by Jurgen Klopp at Anfield and brought in a much-needed layer of protection and steel to the Reds' midfield. The 26-year-old is a dominant figure at the base of Liverpool's midfield who is impressive in the air, tidy with his passing and a superb ball winner.
Fabinho endured an injury-laden 2019/20 campaign which saw him start just over half the games available to him. However, he was available for the first half of the season, a period that saw Liverpool obliterate any opposition that stood in their path. Overall, Fabinho still managed 39 appearances across all competitions for Klopp's men and is set to remain a mainstay in the side.