In the 2nd part of our look at players to keep an eye on this season, we look at some of the younger players to have joined Premier League teams, as well as one of two that are already there, but are set to make an impact. Here are our 10 to watch:
1. Nathan Redmond (Norwich) – At £2m, Redmond could prove to be a bargain. An integral part of the Birmingham and England Under 21 teams, he has plied his trade in the Championship for a few seasons, a good move – get experience rather than move to a big team and play under 21 football. In 62 games for Birmingham he has 7 goals – but his pace, prowess and great attitude are worth more than that, and of course numerous assists. He has moved to a club at the right level where he will get first team football and flourish into a full England international sooner rather than later. Great Buy! Definitely one to keep an eye on.
2. Marco Van Ginkel (Chelsea) – After a great season with Vitesse, Van Ginkel has crossed the channel and signed with Chelsea (the two clubs have a partnership) for around £6m – and what worries a lot of people is will he get enough football to develop? Chelsea have around 50 young players on loan around the world, and very few make the first team – so the question is what is the point? Either way Van Ginkel may be loaned out if Mourinho decides he is not good enough yet, possibly back to Vitesse where Van Aanholt and Christian Cuevas have gone as part of the partnership.
3. Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace) – 4 years ago, Gayle was playing non-league football with Stansted after being released by Arsenal. He then signed for Dag & Red and then had spells with non-league sides, and Peterborough. He impressed enough to earn a permanent deal and went on to score 16 goals in 29 games before Palace paid £4.5m for his services. He is definitely one to watch!
4. Gerard Deulofeu (Everton) – in what is a surprise move, The ‘Spanish Messi’ as he is known has joined Everton on a year long loan. Having been a prominent part of the Barca B team, he has struggled to get an opportunity in the first team, and rather than go safe and sign for a 2nd rate Spanish side like Villarreal or Granada, he has had the balls to try himself in England. Will he be bullied out of games? Will his small physique hinder his progress? Either way he is an exciting prospect and one to keep a look out for!
5. Luis Alberto Romero (Liverpool) – Liverpool have taken a risk on this one. Rarely used at Sevilla, just 7 appearances in 2 years, and used mainly in the B team – Alberto is no doubt talented, but £6.8m is a hefty weight to have on a young mans shoulders, and like messr’s Carroll and Downing – it can have a negative affect! He spent the 12/13 season at Barcelona B to get first team football under his belt after becoming frustrated at lack of action – and with several contract disputes, he was a bench warmer with Sevilla. Seen as the next best prospect since Jesus Navas, it comes as a surprise to see him go. An interesting case, only time shall tell.
6. Matej Vydra (West Brom) – With Lukaku leaving, West Brom have a hole to fill. An ageing Nicolas Anelka won’t do it, we are sure of that. Vydra spent 12/13 season on loan at Watford, and scored 20 goals in 41 games. He returned to Udinese a better player, and they felt he was too good to be given to Watford (like many Udinese and Granada players have) so another loan spell was the decision. Vydra does not have the reputation of Lukaku, or the presence, but he may well do a good job at WBA.
7. Adnan Januzaj (Man Utd) – Not a signing, but this young man may well provide competition for the want-a-way Wayne Rooney. Despite being just 18, the Belgian-Albanian was seen by Alex Ferguson as the best of Utd’s world famous youth academy. A £300,000 signing from Anderlecht at 16, he has progressed nicely through the youth system, making his debut against Sevilla in Rio Ferdinands’ Testimonial. He picked up an assist and the man of the match award for a dazzling display. He has spurned the advances of the Belgian national team, insisting he wants to play for his native Albania. We should see more of this talented young man this season. It could be the beginning of something big for this starlet!
8. Marc Muniesa (Stoke City) – A product of the Barcelona youth system, Muniesa was about to break through to the first team last year. Two appearances at the back end of the 11/12 season, there were high hopes for him. However a knee ligament injury meant he missed most of the 12/13 season and looked a shadow of the player he was. Stoke snapped him up on a free transfer. With Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross the first choice pairing, he could get limited chances, but it will be interesting to see how he fares!
9. Jose Campana (Crystal Palace) – Another Spaniard from Sevilla – Campana is the captain of the Spanish Under 20’s – and with 20 appearances last season, it’s a surprise he has moved. At £1.75m, there is no pressure, but should he live up to expectations in Spain the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid could come calling after a year or two. Top prospect, a must watch!
10. Andreas Cornelius (Cardiff) – an £8m signing from Copenhagen, this young man has all the credentials to succeed in the Premier League. At 6ft 4”, he has the physique, and in his first season last year he managed 18 goals in 34 games. At just 20, he has 7 full caps for Denmark, and much like compatriot Nicklas Helenius at Villa – he could be a very astute buy, should he adapt quickly.