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Ranking the eight best attacking midfielders in Premier League history

Premier League fans have been fortunate enough to witness some sublime attacking midfielders in the division’s history, from goalscoring greats who gallop forward from midfield, to nimble artists who flitter between lines.

The perfect attacking midfielder is perhaps a blend of athleticism, awareness, goals and invention, capable of changing – or winning – a game in an instant.

Such has been the calibre of stars to have shone in England’s top division across the last three decades, ranking our eight favourites was an almost impossible task.

Ranking the eight best attacking midfielders in Premier League history.

8. Bernardo Silva

Those whose careers have not concluded are perhaps at a disadvantage in this sort of ranking, but it’s difficult to overlook the body of work Bernardo Silva has already created in English football.

The Portuguese playmaker arrived in the Premier League in 2017 after Monaco’s exciting team was cherrypicked by Europe’s elite and signed for Manchester City in a £43.5m deal.

He has proven to be worth every penny.

Silva is fascinating concoction of work-ethic and wizardry, a footballer who leaves every ounce of energy out on the pitch. He’s capable of doing the hard things and willing to do the hard yards, often outworking and outplaying opposition midfielders.

His first season saw Manchester City crowned as champions with a record-breaking 100 points in 2017/18, before Silva was named as the club’s Player of the Season as Pep Guardiola’s side claimed an unprecedented domestic treble the following campaign.

Since then his honours have risen to five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and the Champions League, with the midfielder integral to each triumph and often the man for the big occasion for his side.

7. Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas starred at the capital’s most successful sides to cement his reputation as one of the Premier League’s great creators.

Signed from Barcelona’s academy, Fabregas broke into the Arsenal team as a teenager and soon became the symbol of optimism for a new era post-Invincibles. The Spanish schemer demonstrated that technique and awareness can thrive in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, helping to transform perceptions with performances of classy creativity.


He was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year and twice in the PFA Team of the Season at Arsenal, before crossing the capital to sign for Chelsea, via a spell at Barcelona, and winning major honours at Stamford Bridge.

Fabregas won two league titles at Chelsea and starred in each triumph, while he topped the Premier League for assists in three different seasons. Only Ryan Giggs (162) has more Premier League assists than the Spanish schemer, who is one of just six players to have provided four assists in a single fixture.

Remembering just how special a 22-year-old Cesc Fabregas was in 2009/10

6. Yaya Toure

The early successes of Manchester City’s new era were built on a formidable spine, with Yaya Toure at the centre of the side’s rise.

The Ivorian was a powerhouse performer in the club’s midfield, at his best a rampaging force of nature capable of winning games singlehandedly.

Toure scored the decisive goal as the Citizens’ ended a 35-year wait for a major trophy with FA Cup success in 2011 and was a pivotal part of the club’s Premier League triumphs in 2011/12 and 2013/14.

The second of those title wins saw the midfielder produce an extraordinary individual campaign, as he scored 20 goals, laid on nine assists and recorded a pass accuracy of 90% for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

Technically brilliant and powerful, Toure often left opposition players in his wake when marauding into the final third. Such was his quality in an advanced position, it’s easy to forget that he formerly played at centre-back on occasion.

Midfield Magicians: Yaya Toure – Man City’s marauding monster

5. David Silva

The twinkle-toed trequartista who might just be the best player to have adorned a Manchester City shirt.

Silva arrived at the Etihad with all-too-common scepticism over his suitability to the English game, with widespread reservations over how the slight Spaniard would adapt to the demands of the division. He departed a decade later as one of the league’s most celebrated imports, a four-time title winner and key cog in a number of brilliant City sides.

Silva was an exquisite footballer whose immaculate close control and timing of pass cemented his place the pantheon of Premier League greats. So often one step ahead, few got close enough to shutdown the Spanish star, who drifted between lines and split defences with passes of perfect weight.

Silva was a star who shunned the spotlight, a joy to watch at his magical best. City’s success came alongside triumphs on the international stage, as he formed part of Spain’s Golden Generation of midfield gems, a collection of creators who inspired La Roja to three consecutive major tournament wins.

Midfield Magicians: David Silva – El Mago

4. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is perhaps the greatest goalscoring midfielder of his generation, a footballer whose relentless work-ethic and steely determination saw him reach the very top.

Lampard emerged as part of a talented crop of prospects at West Ham, but faced accusations of nepotism as he broke into the team under his uncle, Harry Redknapp. He dug in, worked hard, and earned an £11m move to Chelsea, where he went on to become one of the club’s all-time greats.

Despite an influx of new arrival after Roman Abramovich’s takeover, Lampard was the driving force of the club’s most successful era. He scored a club-record 211 goals in all competitions and incredibly scored 20+ goals in all competitions in five straight seasons at his peak.

Lampard won the FWA Footballer of the Year during Chelsea’s 2004/05 title win and won two further titles and the Champions League among 10 major honours in west London, while he is one of just three players – and the only midfielder – to have recorded 100+ goals and 100+ assists in the Premier League.

Perhaps not the most natural talent on this list, but a player whose repetition on the training ground and hard work ensured he left an indelible mark on the division.

3. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne has dominated the Premier League when it comes to goals created in recent seasons, producing outstanding numbers and moments of creative genius.

De Bruyne signed for Manchester City amid doubts after a disappointing previous spell at Chelsea, but has since evolved into one of the most complete players in world football.

The Belgium international has provided the creative spark and cutting edge to arguably the Premier League’s greatest ever team, with his time at the Etihad having seen him take a central role in the club’s centurion side, domestic, and continental treble winners.

De Bruyne has topped the Premier League for assists on four occasions and is one of just five players to have reached a century of assists in the division, achieving the feat far faster than any of the names before him.

Full of drive, guile and an ability to thunder in goals off either foot, the Belgian at his best can often appear unstoppable. With time still remaining to add honours to his already vast collection, De Bruyne can continue to add weight to his argument as one of the Premier League’s all-time greats.

2. Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes spent an entire one-club career at the top level of the game, progressing from Manchester United’s academy before enjoying almost two decades of unbroken success.

Scholes was a forward during his initial emergence and the goalscoring instinct never left as he later settled in a deeper role, with the midfielder scoring 155 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils.

Several of those goals were spectacular including unforgettable strikes against Bradford, Aston Villa and Barcelona, but his record in the final third was only a small facet of Scholes’ game, a footballer who has proven to be a magnet for praise from his peers.

He won 11 Premier League titles – a record for an English player – and 25 trophies during a glittering career at Manchester United, with Scholes boasting a technique more often associated with continental stars.

Capable of thunderous efforts from distance or near inter-changes on the edge of the box to find an opening, he later reverted to a deep-lying midfield role where his vision and passing range thrived in his latter career.

1. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard might famously not have the title medals that other names on this list own, but it can be argued that the former Liverpool captain was the most complete midfielder of his time.

Gerrard could defend, dominate, score and create, but was perhaps never better when freed from defensive responsibilities. His best saw Gerrard drag mediocre Liverpool teams to trophy success, often at the heart of those successes with man-of-the-match performances in Champions League and FA Cup final wins under Rafael Benitez.

The arrival of Fernando Torres on Merseyside later saw the duo form a formidable understanding, with Gerrard a devastating presence when unleashed to roam beyond the Spanish striker.

Few players in Premier League history boast as an impressive collection of goals, with blasted efforts from distance becoming a trademark for Gerrard at Anfield. At his best, he could do it all and often produced when it mattered most.

He was recognised with a multitude of individual awards, including the PFA Young Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and a record eight inclusions in the PFA Team of the Year.

Read – Iconic Duos: Gerrard and Torres – Liverpool’s lethal pairing

Read Also – Golazo Merchants: Man United’s midfield maestro, Paul Scholes

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