The transfer season has begun and players are already moving to new teams. Soon enough the Premier League season will begin. It’s time to choose sides and sift through the rosters to find our favorite players to keep an eye on this year. It’s always difficult to pick out players who could make an impact. Whether they’re young, new, or experienced these players should have some impact on their teams this year. Here are ten players you need to keep an eye on as the EPL season gets underway.
10) Thomas Ince — Hull City
Ince seemed bound for Inter Milan – his father having ties to both the club and Milan’s coach, but to the shock of many he turned down that opportunity to continue his career in the Premier League. The 22-year-old Blackpool product got a taste of top English competition while on loan to Crystal Palace last year. Crystal Palace expressed interest in Ince, as did Liverpool, and many thought Stoke might sign him, but he spurned those clubs to sign with Hull City. Ince is the second winger (along with Robert Snodgrass) to sign with Hull City in recent weeks. Ince might have had the advantage of playing for his father for many of years, but he earned his playing time and still managed to net 33 goals in 113 games for Blackpool. His future appears bright and it will be exciting to see what he can accomplish on a new team while playing against better competition.
9) Alexis Sanchez — Arsenal
Sanchez will ply his trade at Arsenal this year after Barcelona acquired Luis Suarez and made Sanchez expendable. The Chilean winger is only 25 and his thrilling skill set should be encouraging to Arsenal fans. While Sanchez might not be the biggest signing in the EPL this year, he does a lot of things very well and should prove to be a valuable asset. Sanchez is unbelievably quick, shifty, and unpredictable. He can deliver the ball with touch and pace and slip through defenses to score. Combining Sanchez with Ozil and Wilshere should make for some entertaining football. And yet, there’s still a great deal unknown about how these players will mesh on the field. Arsenal has been rumored to be interested in Mario Balotelli – a move that would provide Sanchez with a big striker to feed balls to. Either way it should be an exciting year for Arsenal fans.
8) Stevan Jovetic — Manchester City
Jovetic came to Man City last year after spending most of his time at Fiorentina. The relatively young forward came with high expectations and a lot of talent, but he was mostly used off the bench as a substitute and netted only 3 goals. He’s only 24 years old and there isn’t much worry that he can’t be a competent everyday player. With Negredo set to miss up to three months with a broken foot and Yaya Toure wanting out, Jovetic could find himself playing more frequently. If he can put up similar numbers to those he enjoyed in Italy he could make it very difficult to remove him from the pitch. That being said, Manchester City is incredibly deep and Jovetic could easily find himself sitting on the bench. It could be a make or break year for him.
7) Adnan Januzaj — Manchester United
Manchester United fans have fallen in love with Januzaj despite his rather sporadic appearances. Januzaj represents the future of Manchester United and there’s no telling how much playing time he’s actually going to get this year. When on the pitch Januzaj has been good, and often spectacular. He’s very balanced, creative, and good at handling and distributing the ball to his teammates. Plus he’s only 19 years old. With regular playing time and a bit of experience he could blossom into one of the premier mid-fielders in the EPL in the next few years. It will be interesting to see if he can carve out more time for himself on the pitch. Manchester must believe in him because they signed him to a five-year deal in 2013.
6) Christian Benteke — Aston Villa
Benteke will begin the season hurt, which is a real shame for this obscenely talented Belgian. Benteke made a bit of name for himself last year with several impressive performances, but then he blew out his Achilles tendon in April and missed the World Cup. Prior to the injury there were whispers that Tottenham was interested in luring him away from Aston Villa – which isn’t surprising considering the chaos that currently surrounds Villa. Benteke is going to miss the start of the season but it’ll be interesting to see how he rebounds from his Achilles injury and if he’s made available in the winter transfer season. He should have a bright future, but Villa is likely to finish mid-table this year and their budget is rumored to be rather sparse – making one wonder how long Benteke will remain with this club.
5) Ross Barkley — Everton
Barkley emerged at Everton after a lot of hype. While it’s true that sometimes the media in England can get a bit crazy over young and talented players, the hype for Barkley might actually be well-deserved. The young midfielder has excelled at every level and now has World Cup experience to add to his resume. There were whispers that Manchester City might make a run at Barkley but for the time being it looks like he’s going to stay at Everton – which is good news for a club that should finish in the top ten of the EPL. Barkley is young and very talented and Everton should enjoy him while they have him because it’s only a matter of time before he moves on to one of the larger clubs.
4) Luke Shaw — Manchester United
Like Januzaj, Shaw represents the future on Manchester United, but Shaw also represents the present. Shaw should play immediately and he should play a lot. He’s considered one of the brightest young prospects in the EPL and has cost Manchester United a lot of money to bring him in – like 27 million pounds, which is sort of what Manchester United does; spend lots of money. You don’t spend that type of money to let a young player rot on the bench. Well, Manchester United might, but no one else would. United suffered a turbulent season last year and it needs its aging veterans to round back into form so they can compete for a title. If not, guys like Januzaj and Shaw will be pushing for regular playing time.
3) Raheem Sterling — Liverpool
Raheem Sterling continues the trend of exciting young players to keep an eye on. Sterling moved from Queens Park Rangers to Liverpool in 2010. He didn’t play much until last year, and when given his opportunity he’s made the most of it. Sterling is slight, but fast and good on the ball. He pairs well with some of Liverpool’s more established strikers and he’s shown enough growth that he should be a good indication that the future of the club is in good hands going forward. How much playing time Sterling is going to get is something of a mystery. Sterling can play both wing positions and in the middle. With the loss of Luis Suarez, Liverpool is going to need someone to score and Sterling might just help fill that void.
2) Thibaut Courtois — Chelsea
Thibaut will compete with Petr Cech for keeper at Chlesea this year – where they’ve decided to keep both on the roster, creating a potential headache if this situation is mismanaged. Cech brings experience to the position, but Coutois is one of the best young keepers in the world. He’s only 22 and has a ton of international experience under his belt. Coutois should be the favorite to start in net and play the majority of time, but it’ll be interesting to see how Chelsea manages the two keepers, whether Cech gets the playing time he might deserve, and what sort of attitudes the players themselves have towards this situation. Either way Chelsea should be in good hands in net and ready to compete for the EPL title this year.
1) Loic Remy — Liverpool
Remy just transferred from QPR to Liverpool. It’s the sixth signing for Liverpool and the striker should help fill the gap created when Luis Suarez moved to Barcelona. Remy still has a lot to offer. He’s only 27 and scored 14 goals in only 26 games while on loan to Newcastle last year. He should bolster a reformatted Liverpool attack and bring a bit of stability to the front. Liverpool is trying to make a real push into the top five this year and they’re hoping Remy can bring some experience, goals and stability to a team that was often overshadowed by the antics of its former star.