In earlier times, the only statistics that were given precedence were goals, assists and saves and not chance created. These were essential metrics that were collected in order to compare the players and rank them accordingly.
But with time came progress. The technological advancements this century have helped the sport record all the factors taking place during a match to the smallest detail. Shots on/off target, blocked shots, chance conversion, big chances, second assists, duels, interceptions and a whole truckload of them. The list is vast.
Chances created are one such factor that indicates a player's impact on his respective team. The chances produced by the players need not necessarily find the back of the net all the time. However, they are important in increasing the probability of the same to transpire. On that note, let us take a look at the five players who have created the most chances in Europe for 2021:
Note: The list consists of stats from Europe's top five leagues and the European Club Competitions only.
#5 Lorenzo Insigne - 85
Lorenzo Insigne is a skilled winger whose greatest strength is his right-foot and pace. Usually deployed on the left-wing, Insigne has a knack for cutting inside and curling the ball to the far side of the post. That is a sight worth watching.
The 30-year-old Italian joined Napoli as a kid in 2006 and has become part of the club's history. With 414 appearances as a Gli Azurri, Insigne has helped the club add two Copa Italia and a Supercopa Italiana trophy to the club's cabinet.
Last season, Napoli missed out on the Champions League spot by a point despite Insigne contributing 19 goals and 11 assists.
Despite the outcome, his contribution could be ratified as a reason for them to finish fifth in the 2020-21 Serie A season. Lorenzo Insigne created 85 chances in 2021 which he has maintained in the current season as well. If it wasn't for the persistent calf problems, he could have added more by the end of this year.
#4 Joshua Kimmich - 86
One of the most versatile players of this generation, Joshua Kimmich has been a prominent addition to Bayern Munich, who signed him in 2015. Pep Guardiola made him one of the best right-backs after describing him as a great defensive midfielder.
His aggression and playmaking ability has allowed him to excel at both positions. Besides this, the German has even played as a make-shift centre-back. Along with these duties, the 26-year-old has a fine record of attacking. It was his assist in the 2019-20 Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain that Kingsley Coman converted to win them the title.
With the likes of world-class strikers up ahead, Kimmich confidently delivers the ball. This is why he always ranks high on the list of chances created every year. In 2021, he created 86 such opportunities with 12 of them finding the back of the net.
His input was thwarted after he contracted the Covid-19 virus on November 9. Kimmich is not expected to mark his return before the new year.
#3 Trent Alexander-Arnold - 88
Trent Alexander-Arnold has turned into one of the most vicious full-backs thanks to the trust put on him by Jurgen Klopp. Since making his debut in 2016, he has played a crucial role in the club's rise to glory.
Alexander-Arnold has been one of the club's top assist providers since making his professional start. He holds the record for most assists by a single defender in the Premier League. He made 13 assists in the 2019-20 season.
His contributions have helped Liverpool win Champions League and Premier League titles in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons respectively.
The presence of one of the highest-scoring trios in the attack has given the 23-year-old defender more freedom to do his part as a modern full-back. As a result of which, his output keeps skyrocketing.
He created 88 chances in 2021 and is already in contention to top the assists chart for the 2021-22 season.
#2 Filip Kostic - 92
The Serbian winger might be the least-known name on this list, but has proven to be one of the most threatening creators this year. Despite playing for mid-table Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, Filip Kostic has managed to rank himself amongst the top.
His Bundesliga journey started in 2014 with VfB Stuttgart. Kostic joined Frankfurt in 2018, two years after he signed for Hamburger SV. He was an unknown face at his first two clubs in Germany as he struggled to contribute to goals. However, the move to Die Adler changed his fortunes.
No other player at the club has registered more assists since his move. The only thing stopping him from breaking records is the inefficient conversion rate. Kostic has created 92 chances this year, ranking him above players who have higher probability of conversion.
#1 Bruno Fernandes - 99
Bruno Fernandes' addition to Manchester United has been a huge relief for the club who have solely survived on him since his arrival. Critics, however, started pouring in this season after his goals and assists saw a huge dip.
Fernandes has been doing his part and it is clearly evident from the chances created by him. It is astonishing how low his goals and assist numbers have been this season. But the inefficiency of United's forwards are what has made his 99 chances look sub-par.
Despite their star-studded presence in the attack, United have scored only 26 goals in the Premier League. This is considerably lower when compared to their opponents.
Although the Premier League form is dull, he has the Champions League ablaze. With six assists to his name, he leads the chart at the end of the group stages. Hopefully the front line, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, can help give him the recognition he deserves by converting the chances created by him.