So the new Premier League season will kick-off tonight between Manchester United and Leicester City. Every Premier League season sees the arrival of new heroes, huge flops and everything in between.
Here are our 7 2018-19 Premier League Players to Watch:
7. Diogo Jota - Wolverhampton Wanderers
The qualities of Ruben Neves may have been well-documented, and quite rightly too, he is an exceptional young footballer and the pick of a talented bunch at Wolves right now, but a player whose name hasn’t been up in lights quite so much is another Portuguese youngster in the form of Jota. Nuno Espirito Santo’s top scorer last season, Jota bagged 17 league goals as the Midlanders cruised to a second tier title. Capable of playing out wide on the left, in behind a centre-forward or even as the side's most advanced central player, Jota is quick, intricate and highly technical. Given that he is still only 21, he was an absolute snip at £12.5 million.
6. Kenedy - Newcastle United
Kenedy poses for photos during a photoshoot at Exhibition Park on April 20, 2018, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
There doesn’t look to be a great deal to get excited about if you’re a Newcastle United fan this season, with a frustrated Rafa Benitez and limited transfer activity seemingly setting them up for a relegation dogfight. Newcomer Yoshinori Muto is a player we like, but Chelsea loanee Kenedy is the Magpie who makes his way into this seven.
Kenedy impressed during his half season loan at St James’ Park last season, and we fancy him to do even better with that experience under his belt and a full season in the North East to prove himself now. A skilful, powerful and unpredictable wide man with a wicked left foot, the Brazilian is great to watch, and he could make a big impression in a mediocre Newcastle side.
5. Adama Traore - Wolverhampton Wanderers
The only team with two players in this seven, Wolves have the most recent Premier League arrival in this seven. Adama Traore made a club record move worth an initial £18 million to Molineux on Wednesday, and we think that’s a reasonable price in this current market. Traore has had an unusual career, always packed full of promise but often lacking that shot or pass in the final third.
That looked to have changed at Middlesbrough last season, with Traore one of the most impressive players in the Championship. He scored 5 goals and made 10 assists from 28 starts, being named as Man of the Match an incredible 14 times. Traore will have tough competition from Jota and Helder Costa, but if he’s at it, Nuno Espirito Santo will make room for him.
4. Tom Cairney - Fulham
Tom Cairney of Fulham is challenged by Stanislav Lobotka of Celta Vigo during a Pre-Season Friendly between Fulham and Celta Vigo at Craven Cottage on August 4, 2018 in London, England.
Whilst all the talk is of Seri, Schurrle and to a certain extent young Ryan Sessegnon at Fulham, one player we’re really excited to see in the Premier League is Tom Cairney. Now aged 27, the Scottish international has previously played in the top flight with Hull City, where he excelled due to the greater time midfield players tend to be afforded in possession at that level.
A technically proficient central midfielder who is a fine passer of the ball and lethal from outside the box, Cairney scored 6 goals and made 5 assists despite a lengthy spell out injured last season, having recorded 13 goals and 10 assists the season before that. He will most likely have two sitters in behind him which should give him plenty of freedom to show his class.
3. Alireza Jahanbakhsh - Brighton
There is a curious history of Eredivisie imports into the Premier League, from inspired success stories like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Luis Suarez and Christian Eriksen, to some pretty dreadful flops like Afonso Alves, Jozy Altidore and Davy Klaassen.
So which category will Jahanbakhsh fall into? Well, we will soon find out. The 24-year-old was the top scorer in the Eredivisie last season with 21 goals in 33 games for AZ Alkmaar, a record made all the more impressive since the Iranian isn’t a centre-forward. Capable of playing on either flank, or in attacking midfield, Jahanbakhsh has plenty of flair with a ball at his feet and a knack of getting in the right areas at the right times. If he can hit double figures this season, Seagulls fans will be delighted.
2. Junior Hoilett - Cardiff City
Junior Hoilett of Cardiff City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Reading at Cardiff City Stadium on May 6, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales.
A player I’m really excited to watch this season, and to see how he handles the step up in class from the Championship, is Cardiff winger Junior Hoilett. The Canadian international does have Premier League experience of course, and he impressed in the division as a youngster with Blackburn, but a little less second time round with QPR.
Now aged 28, it could be third time lucky for the dangerous left winger. Hoilett was excellent for Cardiff in the Championship last season, with 9 goals and 11 assists, and although we think the Bluebirds will struggle this season, Hoilett could be a real bright spark.
1. Cenk Tosun - Everton
Only the second player in this seven who was playing Premier League football last season, Everton forward Cenk Tosun didn’t have a great start to life on Merseyside. He showed glimpses of a player who bagged almost a goal every other game at Besiktas towards the back end of the season, though, and he seems to be favoured by Marco Silva. A clinical front man who likes to ruffle up defences and has an occasional nasty streak in him, with only Oumar Niasse and Sandro Ramirez for competition, we expect Tosun to get plenty of game time, and quite possibly make a big impression.