Feature

Five hidden gems who will turn heads in the Premier League

Part of the fun in any season is not only seeing the big guns do their thing, but spying a new talent that arrives on the scene with a bang. This year’s crop of newcomers to the Premier League bring a variety of talent you may not be familiar with at first glance. Yet by May 2018, some of them will be household names around the world.

Sandro Ramirez Dominic Solanke

Sandro Ramirez, left, and Dominic Solanke are set to star in the Premier League this season Source: Getty Images

Trying to pick exactly which rough diamonds will shine above all others is a task fraught with difficulty, but The World Game have sifted through the ranks of each club to find five players we think you’ll know by heart a year from now.

Our selection has found five players who all played last season outside of the Premier League, but are ready to make themselves known in 2017-2018.

Sandro Ramirez (Everton)

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Nationality: Spanish

Age: 22

Position: Striker

2016-2017 La Liga season: 30 games, 14 goals (Malaga)

There’s a quiet buzz around Merseyside about this new striker, even if his acquisition hasn’t generated too much international news.

The Barcelona-trained product never had a major impact at the Nou Camp, but in his first season away, he was a sensation for Malaga.

 

Everton snapped him up for just £5.2 million (A$8.55 million), thanks to a unusually low release clause in his contract.

While the Toffees were among the league’s biggest spenders during the off-season, the Spaniard may prove to be something of a real bargain.

As always, the adjustment to English football may take time, but with Romelu Lukaku gone, Sandro will get plenty of opportunity to learn the ways of the Premiership.

Dominic Solanke (Liverpool)

Nationality: English

Age: 19

Position: Striker

2016-2017 Eredivisie season: 25 games, 7 goals (Vitesse Arnhem)

Long heralded as one of the brightest young talents in English football – albeit never having played a professional game in England – it came as something of a shock to see Solanke move from Chelsea to Liverpool when his contract expired recently.



Liverpool are expected to pay about a £3 million (A$5 million) fee in compensation but for a player whose value must be three times that, this looms as a bargain.

We know what happens when youngsters get a go in Liverpool’s attack – think Raheem Sterling, Jordan Ibe and Divock Origi recently – and Solanke looks like another who could be fast-tracked.

How much he plays is unknown but expect him to get involved sooner rather than later. 

Will Hughes (Watford)

Nationality: English

Age: 22

Position: Midfielder

2016-2017 Championship season: 38 games, 2 goals (Derby County) 

Those who know the Championship will probably rave about Hughes. Those who don’t will be asking "Will who?"

But for such a young player, Hughes is remarkably experienced, making 170 appearances in the second tier.

The question worth asking is why we haven’t seen him in the Premier League already, given the hype around him a few years back, when he was valued by some at £15 million (A$24.7 million).

He ended up being sold for a little more than half that, which could represent a serious bargain for Watford.

You may not know Hughes now, but with his shock of blonde hair, you won’t miss him when the season begins. 

Tammy Abraham (loan to Swansea)

Nationality: English

Age: 19

Position: Striker

2016-2017 Championship season: 41 games, 23 goals (Bristol City) 

See Dominic Solanke – except Chelsea have kept a hold of this one. But with 23 goals in 41 games for Bristol City last year, Abraham has perhaps an even more impressive CV than Solanke (though he also hasn’t played a professional game for Chelsea).

There was talk of some Premier League clubs trying to bid for Abraham outright but in the end, the Blues thought it safer to loan Abraham out for another year.

Except this time, he’s going to an Premier League club, so another big campaign will put him firmly in contention to be part of Antonio Conte’s squad going forward.

But is he good enough to help the Swans avoid another relegation scrap?

For what it’s worth, Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah could have been another Chelsea ex-pat to add to this list. 

Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)

Nationality: English

Age: 23

Position: Defender

2016-2017 Championship season: 43 games, 3 goals

Lascelles is the only player on this list with Premier League experience – though if you haven’t heard of him, don’t worry.

After joining from Nottingham Forest, he made his debut for Newcastle in a 6-1 thumping in October 2015, a season in which the Magpies were relegated from the top flight.

But while all the headlines as the season went on lamented another north-east calamity, those on the inside saw the silver lining: they’d found a player.

So much so that Lascelles was given armband for last season’s Championship season.

He’s only 23, but his partnership with the rock-solid Ciaran Clark was critical to Newcastle winning the title.

Although not the quickest defender, Lascelles is tough: he played most of the season with a groin injury, which hampered his best form.

He’ll relish the chance to step up and prove what he can do when fully fit.


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5 min read
Published 7 August 2017 at 10:22am
By Sebastian Hassett