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FIFA 17 Ultimate Team winter player upgrades just went live, and these are the best ten

EA has sought to breathe fresh life into FIFA 17 (opens in new tab)’s Ultimate Team mode with winter upgrades to this season’s best performers – and, to that end, a whole batch of new Premier League cards went live at 6pm this evening. Serie A is due next, presumably over the weekend.

In total 50 players from the English top flight have been ‘enhanced’, with their old cards no longer available in packs. Below I’ve picked out the ten most tempting upgrades, from the predictable – Hazard, Kane, Sanchez – to the unexpected but very very welcome. Beginning with a colossal boost for perhaps the Premier League’s most underrated midfielder…

 1. Idrissa Gueye (Everton) – 76 to 82 

Don’t worry, I'll get to the million-coin megastars shortly – but none of that lot get as impressive a boost as that awarded to Goodison favourite Gueye. His overall leaps a whole six ratings points to 82, and instantly transforms him into a viable alternative to (or partner for) Ngolo Kante in thousands of all-Prem World League sides. 

 Ngolo Kante (Chelsea) – 81 to 83 

And yes, the man already forming the anchor of a million online sides (with Vardy in front and Smalling and Butland behind – zzzzzzz) gets an upgrade which, if not needed in-game, is definitely merited in reality. Pace 80, defending 81, physicality 84, overall 83: you’ll have to break the bank to grab this base card, but are unlikely to feel short-changed. 

 3. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 88 to 89 

The man FIFA ranks as the Premier League’s most dangerous left-midfielder gets another small-yet-critical boost, leaping to an overall rating of 89. Also up by a percentage point are his dribbling (82), shooting (92), passing (83) and physicality (65) ratings – although his new standard card is still no match for his 93-rated third in-form. 

 4. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – 84 to 85 

I’ve used Kane’s standard card throughout this season, and for the Premier League’s top scorer last term it’s felt frustratingly underpowered. This small yet perfectly formed boost should fix that. Physicality rises to 82 – and is worth enhancing further with an Finisher chemistry card – with shooting at 85 and dribbling at 79, for a tidy 85 overall.  

 5. Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) – 79 to 82 

The Southampton stopper received a shockingly low overall rating in the summer despite an accomplished 2015-16 campaign at St Mary's. Now, with Liverpool sniffing at his muscular calves like a randy dachshund, VVD finally gets some TLC from the FIFA brain trust. Defending leaps from 79 to 82, and pace from 67 to 75 – a vital jump given that it’s still the most keenly sought-after attribute in the game. 

6. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – 80 to 82 7. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – 79 to 82 8. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – 87 to 88 9. Diego Costa (Chelsea) – 85 to 85 10. Joel Matip (Liverpool) – 82 to 83 

Anyone who’s spent Friday evening agonising over their Fantasy Premier League line-up – and Saturday afternoon castigating its inevitable non-performance – will know that numbers 6-9 here are no surprise: elite attackers always likely to deliver the points in both virtual and real settings. Matip is more of an outlier, but a solid campaign amid a defence leakier than the Mersey deserves some recognition. His defending rating catapults to 85, with physicality bumped to 78, and passing to 70. 

There's also this little lot, who didn't quite crack the top ten…

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – 85 to 86
Chrstian Eriksen (Tottenham) – 84 to 85
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – 82 to 83
Ander Herrera (Man Utd) – 82 to 83
Roberto Firminho (Liverpool) – 82 to 83
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – 80 to 82
Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) – 81 to 82
Antonio Valencia (Man Utd) – 80 to 82
Kyle Walker (Tottenham) – 81 to 82
Danny Rose (Tottenham) – 80 to 81
Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) – 80 to 81

For the full list of updates, check EA Sports' official news post (opens in new tab).

FIFA 17 is out now on every format imaginable, other than Sega Genesis.

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I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.