The new Serie A season promises plenty of excitement and drama, with the top 20 teams in Italian football set to battle for honors over the next nine months.
Serie A is widely regarded as one of the most tactically astute leagues in the world and despite falling some way off the highs of the 1980s and 1990s, Serie A has mounted a comeback in the last few years.
Some predictions have been made about the upcoming Serie A campaign and fans around the world will be following the league closely to monitor the performance of their favorite clubs and teams.
How well clubs perform in the coming season will depend largely on the performance of their key midfielders, and it is no different in Serie A. The importance of midfield in the dynamics of a team cannot be overemphasized, which is why significant investment is usually made to strengthen this position.
Serie A lags some way behind the Premier League and La Liga in terms of star power but there are still several world-class players playing their trade in Italy.
We shall be taking a look at the
5 most valuable midfielders in Serie A ahead of the new season.
Honorable mention: Luis Alberto (Napoli) - €45m
#5 Fabian Ruiz (Napoli) - €45m
Fabian Ruiz came through at Real Betis and spent four years in Spain before jetting off to Naples to sign with Napoli.
In the last three years, the 25-year-old has boosted his profile with a series of convincing displays in the middle of the pack for the Pertenopei.
Fabian Ruiz is a left-footed midfielder whose versatily helps him play in a variety of positions. He is, however, most comfortable playing through the middle where his technique, vision and dribbling helps him dictate the tempo of matches, although he still has to improve on his output in front of goal.
His rising profile at Estadio San Paolo has helped him become established on the international scene with Spain, with 15 caps won since 2019 for La Furia Roja.
The former Elche man is currently valued at €45m and has made 128 appearances for Napoli in all competitions, scoring 15 goals and providing 10 assists.
#4 Piotr Zielinksi (Napoli) - €50m
Piotr Zielinksi left his native Poland at a tender age to join the Udinese academy in 2012 and since then, he has become established in the Italian top-flight.
The 27-year-old starred with Udinese for four seasons, with the last two spent with Empoli on loan, and his performance was impressive enough to sanction a purchase by Napoli in 2016.
In the last five years, the Poland international has been an ever-present in the Napoli midfield and is one of the first names on the team sheet despite playing under different managers.
Zielinski is one of the few players who is truly comfortable with the ball on either foot and this makes him a nightmare for opposition defenders to mark.
He currently has a valuation of €50m and has made 239 appearances in all competitions for Napoli, scoring 39 goals and providing 28 assists.
#3 Franck Kessie (AC Milan) - €55m
Franck Kessie perhaps best exemplifies AC Milan's remarkable transformation in the last two years.
The 27-year-old initially struggled to make the grade at Atalanta but performed admirably well enough in a two-year loan spell with the Rossoneri between 2017 and 2019.
This convinced AC Milan to make the move permanent and the Ivory Coast international has grown in leaps and bounds over the last two years.
Kessie's ball-carrying abilities are crucial in his position as a box-to-box midfielder and his all-round action style helps AC Milan seize control in the middle of the park.
The former Cesena man has also added goals to his arsenal, with his precision from penalties helping him become one of AC Milan's chief goal threats.
Franck Kessie scored 13 goals and provided six assists last season to help Milan secure a return to the UEFA Champions League and the club will be banking on him to keep them at that level.
#2 Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan) - €65m
Antonio Conte did many wonderful things for Inter Milan during his two-year tenure as manager. However, his most lasting contribution might be the emergence of Nicolo Barella.
The 24-year-old came through as a prodigiously talented youngster at Cagliari but it was at Inter Milan where a new level of performance was unlocked.
Barella's dribbling, pace, and counter-attacking ability makes him a useful component of any team's midfield. His tireless work ethic also means that he is as effective at winning back possession as he is at starting attacks, making him an efficient box-to-box midfielder.
Nicolo Barella is far from the finished article, with there room for improvement in certain aspects of his game, particularly his decision-making. However, he has the requiste dedication and drive to constantly better himself.
He was a key part of the Italian team that conquered the European Championship in July and is currently valued at €65m. That figure is bound to improve if Barella continues his upward trajectory.
#1 Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio) - €70m
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's impressive performance at the heart of the Lazio midfield made him one of the most sought-after players in the world a few years ago.
The Serbia international was rumored to be on the radar of several elite clubs on the continent, including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Chelsea.
The 26-year-old is very much a 'complete' midfielder who possesses all the requisite skillset to succeed in the middle of the park.
He has excellent positional sense, as well as the versatility to play in several different positions. Sergej is adept at shooting from distance with either foot and also has a knack for making late runs into the box to finish off attacking moves.
He is currently valued at €70m and it would not be surprising if a top club decides to make a bid for him in the coming years.