The Premier League season has only just finished but we’re counting down the days until the next one begins. As such, we identified one player that each club should build around next season. In this first part we look at Arsenal to Liverpool.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may be the star names in this Arsenal side but, with both approaching 30 and linked with moves away, it is the 23-year-old Uruguayan Torreira who Arsenal should look to build around.
He has enjoyed a fantastic first season at the club and looks as though his partnership with Matteo Guendozi in the heart of the Arsenal midfield could be one of the best in the league in the years to come.
If they can hold onto him, Jack Grealish will be pivotal to Aston Villa’s chances of survival next season. Had they failed to win promotion, he would almost certainly have been off but now looks set to give the Villas at least one more season.
The attacking midfielder will hope to capitalise on his return to the Premier League by winning an England call up and his performances for Villa will be directly related to the success of that ambition, so there will be no lack of motivation. Can he justify the hype?
Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and David Brooks could each have been nominated here after have fantastic seasons and have all been linked with big money moves to clubs at the top end of the division. They won’t sell all three this summer and the most likely to stay seems to be Brooks.
The Welsh midfielder enjoyed a startlingly good breakthrough season at the Vitality Stadium, scoring seven goals in 30 appearances after moving from Sheffield United last summer. Eddie Howe will be relying on his to repeat and better than form if Bournemouth are to continue progressing.
Brighton & Hove Albion
A player who has risen up the divisions with Brighton after joining them in League One, Dunk was rewarded for his assured performances for the Seagulls with a first England cap in November.
Still just 27, he would probably have won more caps if England didn’t weren’t well-stocked in that position. However, he is one of the few Brighton players to have emerged with credit from a season in which they narrowly avoided relegation and will need to be on his game if they are to do the same again.
The 19-year-old made his breakthrough into the Burnley first team this season and his attacking performances have caught the eye of several big clubs, including Arsenal and Man City, who have been linked with moves for the winger.
It makes little sense for either party to sell him now though. For his part, he will gain far more minutes at Burnley than he would elsewhere and, at 19, is in no rush. From Burnley’s perspective, keeping him should improve their chances of survival and hike up his price tag when they do decide to cash in.
With the possible exception of Eden Hazard, no player has been as individually talismanic for their team as Wilfried Zaha over the last few seasons. However, with speculation swirling that the Ivorian is leaving Palace again, Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets the nod.
The youngster only got his chance courtesy of an injury crisis at Palace and boy has he taken it. Wan-Bissaka is now widely considered one of the finest right-backs in the league and seems to be the long term competition to Trent Alexander-Arnold for England. Until he leaves for greener pastures, Palace should cherish him.
The Frenchman made more appearances in his debut season for The Toffees than in two years at Barcelona or three years at PSG. In doing so, he was probably the closest contender to Andrew Robertson for the left back position in the Premier League team of the season.
At a time when Everton’s defence is undergoing a renovation, with former-stalwarts such as Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines gradually being moved on, Digne, Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma gave Everton the fifth meanest defence in the league last season. With Zouma back at Chelsea following his loan spell, Digne is the main man at Goodison.
There were a few contenders for Leicester who were overlooked for different reasons. Jamie Vardy is an obvious candidate but he is the wrong side of 30. James Maddison is another but, with recurring links to Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham, he may not be around much longer. Instead, Leicester should build around the talents of left-back Ben Chilwell.
Chilwell’s performances have earned him six England caps so far as well as links to Manchester City but he has stated that he is going nowhere yet and that’s good enough to make this list. Expect him to be pivotal to Brendan Rodgers’ plans next season and establish himself as first choice for England.
Possibly the toughest decision on the list. Liverpool conceded the fewest goals in the league, kept the most clean sheets and had two players tie for the golden boot, four players in the PFA Team Of The Year and the player of the season. Anybody from Allison to Virgil van Dijk to Andrew Robertson to Mo Salah could have won the decision.
Eventually it boiled down to who will probably be at Liverpool the longest. Though several of their stars may eventually be poached by lucrative offers to the continent, it’s tough to imagine Alexander-Arnold ever playing for another club. He will be a mainstay for Liverpool and England for the next decade and, as such, is impossible to leave out.