Though many like to think the Premier League is the most competitive league in Europe, the reality is somewhat different.

The ‘Big Four’ of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool has expanded to become a ‘Big Six’ with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur joining the party.

But these six teams are often a level above everyone else in the Premier League and, understandably, boast the best players in the division. As such, there will rarely be a discussion for the PFA’s Team of the Year or Player of the Year which doesn’t include the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, David De Gea or Mesut Ozil.

But who is the best of the rest? The best player currently outside the top six, and what makes them stand out? Read on to find out what some of our writers think.

Harry Edwards

Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)

Bournemouth have been a surprise package in the Premier League this season, currently disrupting the top six, and it is fully deserved.

Callum Wilson has received a lot of the plaudits for his goals, but one man who is also finally getting the recognition he deserves is Ryan Fraser. The Scot has been impressive for Bournemouth since becoming a big part of their first team in 2016, contributing with goals and assists to help the Cherries slowly move up the table.

This year it is all coming to fruition. Fraser has taken his game to another level, hauling Bournemouth up with him. So far this season, only Willian (35) and David Silva (34) have created more chances in the Premier League than Fraser (32) but the Scot is clear ahead with his six assists to the pair’s two each.

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Fraser has also chipped in with three league goals so far, which is bettered only at Bournemouth by Wilson (six) and Josh King (four).

Key stat: Ryan Fraser (6) has recorded more assists than any other player in the Premier League this season.

Jack Sear

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

This guy is one hell of a talent. He’s such a handful for opposing defenders. Trent Alexander-Arnold recently said that Zaha is the toughest player he’s faced and that’s some statement considering who the Liverpool defender has come up against in the last 12 months or so.

It didn’t work out for Zaha at United, but I certainly don’t think he’d be out of place at a top-six club now. He’s had a bit of a tough time of it so far this season, but Palace rely on him so much and there’s really not a lot of creativity in their side. He’s also playing in a position that isn’t his best. I’d love to see him play in a fluent attacking side like Manchester City or Liverpool.

You only have to look at Zaha’s goal against Huddersfield earlier this season to see what he’s capable of. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a big move sooner rather than later, but I’m sure he won’t come cheap.

Key stat: Wilfried Zaha (29) has completed more take-ons than any other player in the Premier League this season.

Sam Long 

Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)

If Tottenham Hotspur had managed to get their house in order a little quicker, then the Iceland international would still be at a top-six club.

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Mauricio Pochettino openly admitted Sigurdsson would have been the “perfect player” for him to work with, but the midfielder joined Swansea City in search of finally being afforded a fair crack of the whip.

He became a star in South Wales, with nine goals and 13 assists a key factor in the Swans’ survival in 2017/18.

Had Swansea’s asking price not been so high that summer, Sigurdsson surely would have been inundated with offers from those plying their trade at the top of the division.

His technique, set-piece delivery and passing ability are all of the highest order.

Would any top-six side reject the chance to incorporate Sigurdsson into their squad? Bar Manchester City, the answer is no.

Key stat: Gylfi Sigurdsson has created 31 chances in the Premier League this season, bettered only by Ryan Fraser (33) outside the Big Six.

James Richards 

Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

If you don’t play for a top six side it, you can often get overlooked with the likes of Matt Le Tissier and Kevin Phillips just a couple of names that come to mind when thinking of underrated players of the past.

This season Bournemouth have been excellent and Callum Wilson has really impressed. A call-up to the England squad is well deserved and for a player who can still improve, his six goals this season in the Premier League could just be the tip of the iceberg. If he can grab his chance with the national team, he can offer England an excellent alternative option and prove that the best talent sometimes comes out of the Football League and not Premier League academies.

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Key stat: No player outside the Premier League’s ‘big six’ has scored more goals than Callum Wilson (6) this season.

Honourable mentions: Richarlison (Everton), Marko Arnautovic (West Ham), Felipe Anderson (West Ham), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester).

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