Wingers may seem a bit old-fashioned in today’s football, but they still bring significant value to the game.
Their combination of speed and attacking mindset in wide positions remains a potent asset.
With their pace and determination, they can outwit defenders and reach the byline to deliver dangerous crosses.
Being skillful is key for wingers because speed alone isn’t enough to overcome top wing-backs.
Despite the evolving tactics in soccer, wingers continue to play a big impact. The wing position is gaining increased prominence, with modern wingers frequently finding the back of the net, sometimes even more than the strikers.
Their adaptability and ability to contribute both offensively and defensively make them valuable assets on the pitch.
1. Kylian Mbappe
The France international is incredibly fast, among the fastest in football history. He started his career at Monaco, where his exceptional talents were evident from the start.
However, during his time at PSG, they sometimes deployed him as a makeshift striker due to his effectiveness, dribbling skills, and goal-scoring ability.
Nonetheless, it’s always a spectacle to watch him engage in sprinting duels with wing-backs along the sidelines.
As a winger, Mbappe uses his right foot to cut inside from the left wing.
His vision allows him to create opportunities and provide assists for his teammates from the right side of the field.
Mbappe is renowned for his outstanding dribbling, explosive speed, agility, quick footwork, precise first touch, ability to link up with teammates, and creativity when in possession of the ball.
He exhibits remarkable control and pace when dribbling at high speeds.
His tactical intelligence, movement, and capability to make attacking runs, both with and without the ball, to outmaneuver defensive lines solidify his status as one of the greatest wingers of his generation.
2. Vinicius Jnr.
The Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior, is often touted as Real Madrid’s future star. In the last three or four seasons, he’s adapted to his role and really stood out.
He’s had two seasons in a row with double-digit goals and double-digit assists for Real.
He also tasted success with silverware in the Champions League and La Liga two seasons ago and gained experience in the World Cup last year.
Now, without experienced veterans leading the attack, Vinicius Junior has a lot more to display to the world and La Liga.
His decision-making, positional awareness, movement, and close ball control have improved significantly, making him one of the top wingers globally at this moment.
3. Bukayo Saka
The Arsenal talisman clinched the title of PFA Young Player of the Season in late August, sharing the spotlight with Erling Haaland, who was honored as PFA Player of the Season.
Saka’s nomination and subsequent triumph came as no surprise, given his impact on Arsenal’s failed title bid last season. He impressively tallied fourteen goals and provided eleven assists in 38 appearances.
This English winger has integrated precision and end product into his playing style. Saka stands out as an exceptionally creative right-winger, skilled at locating dangerous positions and delivering decisive passes.
He shows comfort on either flank but truly shines when afforded the freedom to drift towards the center and position himself intelligently between the lines, ready to receive passes.
He has a unique ability to collect the ball while pivoting swiftly between the lines, accelerating the flow of play.
His close control and dribbling proficiency are exceptional, solidifying his status as one of the world’s elite wingers.
4. Mohammed Salah
The Egyptian consistently vies with the Premier League’s most formidable strikers for the Golden Boot, season in and season out.
He consistently achieves double-digit goals and assists with apparent ease. Remarkably, in the past six years, his lowest goal tally has been 19 goals, a feat he achieved twice.
Salah is an agile winger who relishes the challenge of taking on defenders, cutting inside, and unleashing powerful shots.
His dribbling skills are notably impressive, and he possesses a lethal scoring touch.
While it is somewhat difficult to admit it, it’s undeniably difficult to argue he is not the preeminent wide player in England.
He once again proved his worth in the 2022-23 season, where his goals played a pivotal role for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
5. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
The Napoli winger stunned the Italian soccer community throughout the entire 2022/23 campaign and was awarded the Serie A Most Valuable Player.
At the age of 22, the Georgia international was one of the key players in Napoli’s pursuit of their first league title in 33 years, inevitably drawing attention from Europe’s wealthiest soccer teams.
He quickly became a fan favorite, so much so that the Partenopei supporters dubbed him “Kvaradona,” with obvious resonance to Napoli’s most iconic player Diego Armando Maradona.
Kvaratskhelia remarkably managed to keep his performance consistent throughout the 2022/23 Serie A season, as shown by his personal statistics.
With one game to spare, he has racked up 12 goals and 10 assists, the most of any player in the league.
6. Kaoru Mitoma
The man who dedicated himself to mastering the art of dribbling, truly practicing what he preached, so to speak.
The Japanese approach has predominantly revolved around dribbling and productivity.
Brighton would have been overjoyed to retain Mitoma, even though he may have tallied a meager seven goals and five assists in 33 games last season.
Brighton, it appears, has once again succeeded. Only a few clubs have excelled as much as the Seagulls in uncovering hidden talents and transforming them into bona fide Premier League stars.
The Japanese winger stands as another prime example of their success.
His debut season in the Premier League showcased one highlight after another, highlighting his technical brilliance when in possession of the ball and his genuine threat both in transition and in the final third.
It’s highly likely that his goal tally will see an increase from last season in 2023-24.
7. Heung-Min Son
Son is considered the Premier League’s top left player and faces a considerable challenge in the 2023-24 season.
While he managed to score 10 goals and provide 7 assists last season, his overall performance experienced a noticeable dip.
With Harry Kane’s departure, the spotlight is firmly on him, as many wonder how he will fare without his partner in crime.
Throughout their partnership, Son consistently achieved double-digit figures in both goals and assists, maintaining this impressive record since his second season at the club.
Now, without Kane’s support, Son must step up and rediscover his top form to maintain his status as one of the league’s elite players.
8. Gabriel Martinelli
The often less-heralded half of Arsenal’s dynamic wing duo remains a formidable force and a player who has thrived under Mikel Arteta’s guidance.
In the 2022/23 season, Martinelli matched Roberto Firmino’s record for the highest number of goals scored by a Brazilian in a single Premier League season (15), while also contributing with five assists, making him Arsenal’s top scorer in their title pursuit.
His ranking in non-penalty xG, final third passes, and expected assists from open play is impressive, signaling another promising season ahead where he might even claim the record for himself.
9. Rafael Leão
Serie A defenders have had a tough time dealing with Rafael Leao, who has been a constant menace since the 2019/2020 season.
However, his last two seasons have been particularly outstanding in terms of productivity.
In the 2021/2022 season, Leao was honored with the Serie A MVP award, concluding the season with 11 goals and 10 assists. In the following 2022/23 season, his performance soared with 15 goals and 8 assists in Serie A.
Currently, he’s regarded as one of the world’s best left-wingers.
Leao is known for his technical prowess and versatility, enabling him to excel on either flank.
With a tall and slender frame, he has remarkable speed and agility, qualities that make him a highly effective forward on the pitch.
10. Solly March
March flourished under Roberto De Zerbi’s tenure at Brighton last season.
He seamlessly adapted to the Italian’s playing style, excelling on the wing and concluding the season with a tally of seven goals and seven assists.
The Englishman consistently ranked in the top 80th-95th percentile for key statistics, including chances created per 90 (2.21), big chances created per 90 (0.56), and passes into the box (6.44), establishing himself as a constant offensive threat for the Seagulls.
March proved to be one of the league’s most well-rounded wide players, not only influencing the attack but also excelling in pressing and defensive duties under Roberto De Zerbi.
With an FBRef profile that mirrors that of Bukayo Saka, it’s entirely plausible to suggest that March could once again emerge as a hidden gem in the Premier League during the 2023-24 season.
Other Notable Wingers In 2023/24
- Armand Laurienté
- Marcus Rashford
- Kingsley Coman
- Ousmane Dembele
- Riyadh Mahrez
- Jeremy Doku
- Luiz Diaz
- Bryan Mbuemo
- Jack Grealish