Who are the best ball-retaining/conduit/metronomic central midfielders in the world?

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Fortitude, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Dec 12, 2017
    #1

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    Players that others can rely on to pass the ball to and either get it back from as many times as required to escape a tricky situation or completely calm a game down and restore order from i.e. make aggressive pressing pointless because it will just lead to burnout?

    The generation just gone had the best player of all-time at this, whose name I'll leave blank as it should be obvious who it is. It also had at least 5 more players of absolutely world class calibre who did the same for their respective teams.

    So, who is out there that can do that in the here and now?

    Kroos, Modric and Thiago are hard to argue against as the top 3, the order in which you put them is immaterial, I guess, but after them, does that type of player at that level of quality fall off a cliff? Who else is there? Are there even enough to make a top 10?
  2. Dec 12, 2017
    #2

    Ecstatic Full Member

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    Thiago Motta and Verratti
  3. Dec 12, 2017
    #3

    Invictus Poster of the Year 2015 & 2018 Staff

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  4. Dec 12, 2017
    #4

    KirkDuyt Full Member

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  5. Dec 12, 2017
    #5

    Craig Ward Full Member

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    Kroos is the master, Verratti also in a different league to most in the world
  6. Dec 12, 2017
    #6

    Culero New Member

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    Iniesta and Busquets. Although not a metronomic passer but Isco is incredible when it comes to press resistance.
  7. Dec 12, 2017
    #7

    Righteous Steps Full Member

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    No because Veratti is better than Kroos in what you described. After Jorginho Modric Verrati Thiago, the rest will be AM/CM hybrids like Isco Silva and Coutinho.
  8. Dec 12, 2017
    #8

    Infordin Full Member

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    Kroos, Modric, Isco, Kovacic. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of Madrid’s midfield.

    Busquets never loses the ball, and Iniesta’s dribbling this season has been on point.

    Pjanic is another good one who often gets overlooked in these conversations.
  9. Dec 12, 2017
    #9

    Jeffthered Full Member

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    Modric is a magnificent 'ball-playing' midfielder.

    Adrian Rabiot at PSG is also a joy to watch. Decision making is great. Only 22 yrs young....
  10. Dec 12, 2017
    #10

    MyOnlySolskjaer Creator of Player Performance threads

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    David Silva, Modric, Thiago and Isco.
  11. Dec 12, 2017
    #11

    notcool New Member

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    De Bruyne and Silva are very good at keep the ball so the other team can't attack. They love retaining the ball for defensive purposes. Sad!
  12. Dec 12, 2017
    #12

    Welbeckham Full Member

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    Modric
    Kroos
    Isco
    David Silva
    De Bruyne
    Thiago
    Verratti
    Motta
    Rabiot
    Busquets
  13. Dec 12, 2017
    #13

    Charles Miller Full Member

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    Arthur in in the next seasons.
  14. Dec 12, 2017
    #14

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    I've seen his name pop up a lot of late, but haven't watched him play. Is he a system player or would he be a good fit for us as a third CM alongside Matic and Pogba? What are his other attributes like? Have to say I'm intrigued.
  15. Dec 12, 2017
    #15

    roonster09 Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018 Scout

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    Apart from the names mentioned, Ever Banega is very good one too. His ability on the ball is superb.
  16. Dec 12, 2017
    #16

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    Is that because you think the standard drops and those in the positions you're mentioning are the logical leap to counter that?

    @Ecstatic mentioned Verratti, I should have put him in the OP, tbh.
  17. Dec 12, 2017
    #17

    totaalvoetbal Full Member

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    In terms of ball retention ability and utilising either feints and body contact in culdesacs and are press resistant

    Modric
    Pogba
    Jorghinho
    Verratti
    Busquets
    Julian Weigl
    Milinkovic Savic
    Thiago Alcantara
    Thiago Motta
    David Silva
    Frenkie de Jong (Ajax)
    Mousa Dembele (Tottenham)
    Roque Mesa
    Kovacic
    Pjanic
    Wilshere
    Kroos
    Gundogan (pre injury)

    As for the best of all time, that honour solely belongs to one Xavi Hernandez.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  18. Dec 12, 2017
    #18

    Needham Full Member

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    Silva may be but De Bruyne has given the ball away more than any other player in the EPL this season. Statistical fact. That said, he is obviously brilliant at lubricating third field transition and bridging the front ended wedge.
  19. Dec 12, 2017
    #19

    Twins "Everybody loves a golden shower"

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    Tom Cleverley, there's no doubt about it.
  20. Dec 12, 2017
    #20

    Skubah Full Member

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    Nainggolan is a shout. Although more of a workhorse his ball retention is fantastic whenever I have seen him. Also a very decent dribbler and got a cracking shot and pass. I would take him here.
  21. Dec 12, 2017
    #21

    Welsh Wonder A dribbling mess on the sauce

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  22. Dec 12, 2017
    #22

    Saad138 New Member

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    I think Matic deserves a shout too if people are naming Naingolan and Pjanic. Utd's midfield has improved two folds since he's arrived here. I remember pundits were salivating over him when he came back to Chelsea. But I do think he's gone a bit mellow since his impressive start at Utd.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2017
  23. Dec 12, 2017
    #23

    Bwuk Full Member

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    Jorginho.
  24. Dec 12, 2017
    #24

    Green_Red Full Member

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    Theres absolutely loads of them out there.

    In the prem alone theres at least 10
  25. Dec 12, 2017
    #25

    MadMike Full Member

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    I've watched him a fair amount and I'm a bit of a fan, so I'll oblige with a short summary.

    His passing generally is great. Long or short. He has great vision and plays incisive forward passes, mostly along the ground, but also comfortable with some over the top balls. Very capable of unlocking defences. That's not the reason his numbers are high though, it's because when he's in possession he likes to keep shifting the defenders around by playing simple close range passes until space opens up or one of his forward players make a move. So a bit like Mata does some times, he just plays the ball to a teammate 5m away, move himself 2m, receive the ball back, do the same with another teammate etc. So a lot of the time he's not moving the ball forward but he's moving it around until he gets an opportunity to pass it forward. That's why he clocks so many passes.

    This might sound underwhelming but it's necessary to his play because (and this is why people have major doubts about him in the EPL) he's not physical at all. He's got a Lingard body type, albeit slightly taller, but he's neither fast nor does he have great stamina. You often see him huffing and puffing from 70' onward in games and get replaced by Diawara. And because like Lingard, he doesn't do well under physical pressure it's necessary that he moves the ball around constantly so that he's never really physically pressed and have to shrug players off. To be fair to him, whenever he receives the ball he nearly always has a short option in mind, so if a player tries to rush him he will simply pass and move, so he doesn't get dispossessed much at all despite his lack of strength or pace. However, the fact the all Napoli midfielders and defenders are very comfortable with the ball at their feet is also conducive to this play. He doesn't have to worry that a teammate receiving the ball will panic and hoof it or lose it.

    So yeah, he's a great midfielder for Napoli in Italy and a highly intelligent and skilled player. But unfortunately he has some physical limitations that I think prevent him from being great. He will often get omitted from the starting XI if Sarri feels the team will require the strength, agility and aggression of Diawara more in that particular fixture. Both of them play at the base of a midfield 3, but Diawara is more of defensive destroyer and Jorginho more of the passing metronome. So they are used depending on the situation.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  26. Dec 12, 2017
    #26

    Invictus Poster of the Year 2015 & 2018 Staff

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    Jorginho has a few flaws - not the most athletic midfielder, nor the strongest - and he's admittedly a bit languid and doesn't have great precision on tackles when he does attempt them - which might hamper him in the Premier League. You could say he is a system player, yes, Sarri has done well to mask a lot of those flaws in Napoli's scheme. But he's remarkable at distributing the ball while maintaining a decent tempo and being fairly press resistant. Not the most adventurous passer, but he's perfectly capable of releasing players around him and functioning as the possession hub of the team given his ability to read the game and anticipate spaces to intercept the ball or free up team-mates in Busquets-esque fashion - and like Busquets, he's also adept at moving into deeper spaces and providing an option for the defensive line.



    Wrt. United, I dunno, Pogba + Matić + Jorginho seems a bit off in terms of balance, and too conservative - I think a fairly complete and high energy box-to-box player (Saúl or even Milinković-Savić) would be a better complement to Pogba + Jorginho; whereas someone like Modrić (in an ideal world) or Pjanić (who's more advanced and complete and creative than Jorginho) would be a better fit with Pogba and Matić:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The one with Jorginho as the DLP is a bit like Pogba + Vidal + Pirlo at Juventus in terms of the overall mechanics - though Jorginho is obviously not as good or flamboyant of an architect as Pirlo, more like PSG's version of Thiago Motta.
  27. Dec 12, 2017
    #27

    Rawls You'll never find, that microfilm of mine

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    I don't think Jorginho and Matic in the same midfield-three would work, considering that both of them can only really play the deepest-lying role; IMO, it would have to be one or the other. I don't think Mourinho would really appreciate the type of player that Jorginho is either; Jorginho needs to be the conductor in a quick, structured, possession-oriented side, something which Mourinho has never really emphasised throughout his managerial career.


    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  28. Dec 12, 2017
    #28

    DannyCAFC Full Member

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    This video explains him pretty well. Essentially he's a midfielder pretty much in the Carrick mould IMO. Defensively he won't close down heavily flying in to tackles and such, but he'll win the ball back via interceptions a fair bit by sitting and reading the game whilst more robust and energetic midfielders around him press - that could work great with two physical players like Pogba and Matic next to him.

    Offensively he'll move the ball short-to-medium retaining possession all day and is pretty press-resistant (all of Napoli's side have the ability to move the ball around brilliantly playing one/two-touch like that video shows, stunningly good at doing so at times), but with the passing range and vision to be more damaging and pick more positive passes when he has the opportunity to do so. Simply doesn't lose the ball from what I've seen when he's on it and his passing accuracy is >90%.

    I think personally he'd provide a great balance to United's midfield. I do think in a midfield three that Pogba should be clearly instructed with being the most advanced and attacking of the 3 and Jorginho is happy to sit deep which would allow him more freedom. It also probably always Matic the ability to put himself about a bit more defensively and be more physical in winning the ball back which can only be a good thing, whilst having somebody who can run a possession-based game in a way that sometimes those two have struggled to do.
  29. Dec 12, 2017
    #29

    MrPooni Full Member

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    Kinky.
  30. Dec 12, 2017
    #30

    groovyalbert Full Member

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    Wilshere can't be included, he hasn't played anywhere near to that level for years.

    Dembele's an excellent shout, although he's dropped off a fair bit this season.
  31. Dec 12, 2017
    #31

    MadMike Full Member

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    @Fortitude the redcafe scouts have blessed you with their reports :D
  32. Dec 12, 2017
    #32

    ivaldo Mediocre Horse Whisperer, s'up wid chew?

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    Has anyone said Jordy Hendo yet? Hes up there with Allen.
  33. Dec 12, 2017
    #33

    Bestietom Full Member

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    Well we certainly need a couple of these in our team right now. We just cannot break down defences and need a Kroos or Modric type player. Mata and Mkhitaryan have had enough chances and need to be replaced.
  34. Dec 12, 2017
    #34

    Fortitude TV/Monitor Expert Scout

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    I know! Wasn't expecting all that!

    @MadMike
    @Invictus
    @Rawls
    @DannyCAFC

    Thanks all, great stuff. Very comprehensive.

    From the descriptions of the player, he'll be off to Barcelona or Real in the next few years, or a Pep team?
  35. Dec 12, 2017
    #35

    Rawls You'll never find, that microfilm of mine

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    I still think he is generally under-rated and is somewhat of an unknown among the general football community, so it's not really a case of there being red-hot competition for him compared with the clamour you see for someone like Goretzka (Not saying Goretzka is a bad player because he's anything but, but casual fans are much more likely to talk of him transferring to their club than Jorginho IMO). Moreover, I'd go as far to say that most teams these days don't play a proper 4-3-3; the problem here being that Jorginho can only really be effective in a proper 4-3-3. Also, he's not the only option as a regista for the big clubs; Weigl (Very poor this season, but should come right under a good manager), Paredes, Torreira are all possible options to name a few. Barca may also elect to replace Busquets with Samper, although I don't know as much about him.
  36. Dec 12, 2017
    #36

    Z2United New Member

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    This, especially as a pairing. They have had some wonderful interactions amongst them.
    Motta getting old tho, seems like rabiot is taking over tho he brings different qualities and not as great a pairing in this regard imo.
  37. Dec 12, 2017
    #37

    MadMike Full Member

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    He's definitely not an unknown within the football community. The fans maybe, but not the people that matter in these affairs the managers/scouts/DoFs etc. A team that has been performing so impressively over a number of seasons, is challenging for the Serie A title and featuring heavily in the CL (including playing ties against Real Madrid) does not fly under the radar and escape the eye of the scouts. If you can get extensive reports from 3 caftards, it's silly to suggest that teams with full-time scout personnel don't have pages on this fella.

    Not sure if Jorginho is underrated. Like @Invictus said the way Napoli play under Sarri and the Italian league style mask his deficiencies. My guess would be that many teams took a look at him but none of the top dogs felt he could make a step up or they felt they have better options in that position. Spain would suit him better as a league but both Busquets and Kroos are better players than him and Simeone's Atleti play 4-4-2 which would expose his weaknesses. It's hard for him to move "up" to Spanish giant.

    I severely doubt that any EPL team would contemplate a featherweight player in DM position, nevermind one that would struggle with the up & down tempo of the EPL. Even Pep's team has Fern who is a strong tackler and very athletic and the other players in his midfield cover massive distances. The rest of the teams have Matic, Kante, Xhaka, Wanyama/Dier, Henderson (Keita soon) at DM... all very physical players. And the players who play next to them are usually very skilled at moving with the ball and driving forward in a box-to-box or AM style. The Pogbas, Dembeles, KDBs, Ramsays etc. need to have lungs, pace, shooting and so on. It's hard to think of a team building a midfield 3 around him to suit his style, in the EPL.

    He would suit the way Juventus played when they had Vidal-Pirlo-Pogba and the physicality of Vidal and Pogba masked the deficiencies of a 35yo Pirlo, allowing him to simply dictate tempo. But like a 35yo Pirlo, Jorginho is not very versatile so big teams are naturally reluctant.
  38. Dec 12, 2017
    #38

    ash_86 Full Member

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    CM with this trait is the need of the hour for United. More necessary than RW
  39. Dec 12, 2017
    #39

    SER19 Full Member

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    So metronome is happening then?
  40. Dec 12, 2017
    #40

    whatwha Sniffs Erricksson’s diarrhea

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    :lol: