10) Kylian Mbappe
The young Frenchman was sensational for the Principality club last season, prompting interest from Europe’s top clubs. He eventually ended up in Paris, with PSG set to sign him for a massive 180 million in the summer, having initially signed him on loan. At Parc De Paris, Mbappe has truly set the world alight, eclipsing the likes of Julian Draxler and Di Maria to become a fixture in the starting XI. It is only a matter of time before the Frenchman gets his hands on the Ballon D’Or.
9) Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane has shut his critics ever since making the jump from Southampton to Liverpool. While his quality is unimpeachable, there were several qualms about his attitude. However, under Klopp, Mane has taken his game to a whole new level. He was undoubtedly Liverpool’s biggest threat last season. His absence was dearly felt last season as the Reds failed to step up their game in the absence of their star man. This season, with Mo Salah’s arrival though has been a different story, with Mane out of form. However, the Senegalese keeps popping up with a goal every now and then and remains a key part of Liverpool’s attack.
Defensive midfielders are often underappreciated. Casemiro easily sums that up. While the likes of Ronaldo and Asensio gained immense praise, Casemiro was the unsung hero. Diego Simeone identified Casemiro as key cog of Real Madrid and rightly so, the midfielder’s defensive abilities allow the likes of Kroos and Modric to flourish going forward. He summed up a fine season for Real last season scoring a goal in the Champions league final against Juve, a game Real won by 4-1.
Keita was the quintessential figure in Leipzig’s run to the top of the Bundesliga, below Bayern of course. The box to box midfielder created havoc in the opposition half regularly breaking up attacks and scoring crucial goals every now and then. His fine form earned him rave reviews and a move to Liverpool, which he will complete at the beginning of the next season. The 22-year old has yet to find his consistent form this season but will surely be an asset for Klopp’s side next season.
6) Kasper Dolberg
Ajax’s best player by a country mile last season, it is strange that Dolberg is still 20 years old. The young striker showed great maturity scoring and creating goals. His ability to play deep as well is a huge asset. He finished the last season with 16 goals, an impressive figure for a youngster for a major club like Ajax. Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United were reportedly interested in his services, and it remains only a matter of time before Dolberg moves to such big clubs.
AdrienRabiot has been on the books of Europe’s top clubs ever since he broke into PSG’s first team. The former Manchester City youth player is a very smart player, comfortable on the ball and an equally good tactician. The midfielder had a remarkable performance against Barca last season in the 4-0 rout in Paris alongside Verratti. Rabiot has Xavi’s approval, with the majestic Spaniard claiming Rabiot is good enough to play for Barca. Perhaps we should believe him given how good a midfielder he was back in the day.
4) Benjamin Mendy
Another Frenchman in our list, Mendy was a pivotal figure of Monaco’s title winning side last season. Putting in dangerous crosses from the left, Mendy’s game is a lot reminiscent of Patrice Evra. Mendy’s fine performances earned him a blockbuster move to the Etihad stadium. While his season was cut short by a cruciate ligament injury, Mendy already showed his talents in the games he played for the Citizens, and is a player for the future.
Arsene Wenger deserves praise for sealing the Bosnian defender’s signature for free in a hyper inflated market. Easily worth 40 million in the current scenario, Kolasinac is a real presence on the pitch with his strong work ethic and tenacious tackling. Moreover, going forward too Kolasinac is a threat given his fine technical abilities. A long-term replacement for Monreal, Kolasinac has had an immediate impact at the Emirates since moving from Schalke.
The Lazio midfielder had a major season in Italy last season, scoring four goals and assiting a further nine in his debut campaign. The 22-year old’s fine run earned him accolades while a possible move to Chelsea or Manchester United were also rumoured. The move did not really materialise given Lazio’s 100 million evaluation for their star midfielder. Nevertheless, the midfielder’s physical presence and quality makes him a perfect match for English football, and surely we will see him there in a couple of years’ time.
City’s leading frontman Sergio Aguero’s position is more precarious than ever since Jesus’ arrival. The Brazilian is just that good. Having joined City midway last season, Jesus had an immediate impact with his work-rate and nose for goal. While an injury prematurely ended his campaign, this season Jesus has continued from where he left off last season. The striker’s biggest asset is his ability to run the channels and pop in the right place. A BallonD’or contender for the future, Jesus will be key to City’s quadruple hopes this season. a