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Ranking the top 5 midfielders in Serie A (August 2021)

Kessie and Locatelli are excellent midfielders
Kessie and Locatelli are excellent midfielders
Ameya Gorkhe
ANALYST

Serie A is blessed with technical midfielders. Therefore, a midfielder who has developed in this league is usually intelligent at reading the game and proves to be a valuable asset to any side.

The forward's role is clearly defined - score goals. The defender's role, too, is self-explanatory - preventing the opposition from scoring goals. However, the job of midfielders in football is complex.

The midfielders are expected to provide a link between defense and attack, while chipping in with tackles as well as goals.

Is Serie A the ideal grooming ground for midfielders?

Serie A has produced some legendary midfielders over the years. The Italians' emphasis on technical ability is one of the prime factors for this. This was evident at Euro 2020 as Italy's midfield trio of Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Nicolo Barella dominated just about everyone.

While Jorginho and Verratti do not play in Serie A, this list looks at the best midfielders currently in Italy, with relevant statistics provided to justify their respective ranks.


#5 Franck Kessie (AC Milan)

Atalanta BC v AC Milan - Serie A
Atalanta BC v AC Milan - Serie A

Franck Kessie enjoyed a fruitful 2020-21 season with AC Milan, helping them finish second in Serie A. His output in terms of goal contributions is pretty high for a defensive midfielder, scoring 13 goals and further assisting four. However, 11 of the 13 goals came from the penalty spot.

Kessie is not a player to be judged by his goal contributions though. The 24-year-old is a midfield powerhouse. He was everpresent in Milan's midfield, featuring in 37 of the 38 games. Kessie's main role in the side was breaking opposition attacks, and his physical nature certainly aided him.

Kessie is ranked sixth in Serie A for opposition dribblers tackled, with a 61.9% success rate. He also ranks fourth in the league for blocks made, with 75. The Ivorian midfielder can be rash at times though, committing 65 fouls last season, which ranks him eighth in Italy.

Kessie's role in possession cannot be undermined either, as he had the 10th highest touches in Serie A. Stefano Pioli will continue to expect such performances from the midfielder in the upcoming season too, as Milan continue their quest for the Scudetto.


#4 Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio)

SS Lazio v AC Milan - Serie A
SS Lazio v AC Milan - Serie A

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is one of Lazio's most important players alongside Ciro Immobile. The 26-year-old midfielder is the definition of a complete player. He ranks among the best in tackles, aerial duels and progressive passes, while also chipping in with goals and assists.

Having been a part of the title race for the 2019-20 season, a sixth-placed finish was disappointing for Lazio last time around. Regardless, Milinkovic-Savic had an excellent season, raking up eight goals and nine assists in 32 appearances.

Although his ball progression metrics are impressive, he did not break into the top 10 for midfielders in Serie A 2020-21. The Serbian, however, ranks seventh for passes into the penalty area.

Milinkovic-Savic's defensive contributions are also integral, which is why he is labeled as one of the most complete midfielders. He was ranked ninth for tackles in Serie A in the 2020-21 season. His 191cm frame also enabled him to be an aerial threat, as he ranked eighth for aerial duel wins.

Under new boss Maurizio Sarri, Milinkovic-Savic will be looking to elevate his game to an even higher level next season.

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Edited by Nived Zenith
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