The rapid rise of the 4-2-3-1 formation over the past decade has seen the importance of the regista or the deep lying playmaker skyrocket. After Makelele‘s arrival in the Premier League and the success of the 4-3-3 formation under Mourinho, it looked like there was no space for a regista, especially in the pacy English league.
“The emphasis, as far as central midfielders are concerned, is all on defensive work”
Yet, he did go on to mention one player who was continuing to shine the beacon of light, Andrea Pirlo. Pirlo has by far been the player looked up by many football experts as the greatest deep playmaker of his era.Unlike Pirlo who initially played further ahead, the Spaniards Xavi and Xabi Alonso were groomed into the role at an early stage of their career, Xavi was seen as the direct replacement for Pep while Xabi was crucial to the Real Sociedad side of the early noughties which, amongst other impressive seasons, came second in the 2002/03 season thus leading to Xabi being awarded the Spanish Player of the year. The increasing preference of the 4-2-3-1 for many European sides has seen the growth of players occupying the deep playmaker position.
This brilliant video chronicles the entire history of the Regista.
Currently in the Premier League among the top teams, Liverpool have Henderson, United have Carrick and Spurs have Dembele(He is not your typical regista,but his style is highly effective). Arsenal desperately need Cazorla back and fit or Xhaka to take up the mantle and Conte has a completely different approach to build up play with the back three formation, so can afford to play Kante and Matic who are both limited on the ball. Pep, someone who believes in the single pivot desperately needs Fernandinho back from his ban. All of Pep’s teams revolved around the single pivot, who drops back into the defence,recycles possession and starts attacking moves from the deep. Guardiola might try his best in the summer to sign Busquets or some other player who can play in that position.