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A perennial obsession of every Fantasy Premier League (FPL) manager is the search for a £4.5m midfielder who will emerge as a serviceable player on our teams. Last season we were blessed with cult heroes Todd Cantwell and Leander Dendoncker, both of whom managed to score 100+ points despite their budget price tag. Could there be another legend waiting in the wings?

Every manager has different purposes for that fifth midfielder spot. Some will want a reliable supply of two and three points to come off their bench when needed. Others will take a gamble on a player in the hope of uncovering a diamond in the rough. This article will address both needs as we look at five £4.5m midfielders, evaluating each candidate based on their risk factor (Low – Medium – High) and probability of a breakout season (Impossible – Unlikely – Possible).

Anthony Gordon (£4.5m) | Everton

Risk: High
Breakout Probability: Possible

Gordon broke into Everton’s starting squad late last season appearing in eight of their nine games after the restart, collecting one assist in the process. The 19-year old winger is the most attack-minded player in this list and therefore has the most potential for some attacking returns. If he manages to get consistent minutes, Gordon has the potential to be this season’s Todd Cantwell. But a lot depends on whether Carlo Ancelotti believes the youngster is ready for the big stage or if the club will make any moves during this transfer window. If you bring Gordon into your team, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£4.5m) | Fulham

Risk: Low
Breakout Probability: Unlikely

If you spend enough time on FPL Reddit or Twitter you will undoubtedly come across someone singing the praises of Zambo Anguissa. The Cameroon international has already proven his worth in France’s Ligue 1 and Spain’s La Liga, and now he has his sights set on a starting role for Fulham’s return to the Premier League. While Anguissa is a quality player, this will likely prove to be another classic case of real-life quality failing to translate into Fantasy relevance. The central midfielder tends to play in a deeper defensive role and has only bagged two goals and an assist in his club career. But some speculate that manager Scott Parker could transition Anguissa to a box-to-box midfielder role, which would give him more opportunities for attacking returns. Fulham reportedly rejected a £22.5m bid from Villareal where he spent last season on loan, so it appears that the club has big plans for him this season.

Dale Stephens (£4.5m) | Brighton and Hove Albion

Risk: Low
Breakout Probability: Impossible

The best option for those looking for the low-risk, low-reward placeholder on your bench. At time of writing, Stephens is far and away the highest owned player among the budget midfielders (15.3%). It appears many managers are counting on the Brighton defensive midfielder to replicate his consistent (if not drab) output that we have seen from him over his last three seasons in the Premier League. If Stephens holds down his starting role in the squad, you can expect a goal and an assist or two. However, some fear that Stephens may lose out on some starts this season due to the anticipated ascendance of Yves Bissouma (£4.5m), who is mentioned in more detail below.

Yves Bissouma (£4.5m) | Brighton and Hove Albion

Risk: Medium
Breakout Probability: Unlikely

Brighton’s big summer signing of the 18/19 season has been frustratingly inconsistent since his arrival, but had a praiseworthy finish to the season after the restart. Bissouma scored his first goal for the club on the final day of the 19/20 season with a stunning strike from distance. The Malian international most often plays as a central or defensive midfielder and poses little threat on goal, with all but two of his 16 shots coming from outside the box last season. The big question is whether he will lock down a regular starting role in the squad. However, at 23-years old Bissouma has the potential to develop into a quality player.

Oriol Romeu (£4.5m) | Southampton

Risk: Medium
Breakout Probability: Impossible

Once an ever-present rock in the Southampton midfield, Romeu found himself left out of the starting lineup during stretches of the 19/20 season. However, he did enjoy a nice run of seven straight starts after the restart. With the departure of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£5.0m) to Tottenham Hotspur, it appears Romeu’s old spot is free for the taking. However, there is little upside to owning Romeu. He collects yellow cards like they are 1st-edition holographic Pokémon cards, and has three goals and zero assists over the last four seasons for an average of 63 points.  If Dale Stephens happens to lose his starting role, you could consider pivoting to Romeu for a safe two-pointer off the bench. Otherwise, it might be best to avoid him.

Which player from this list are you choosing for your team? Or is there another player we left out that you think is worth consideration?

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