The new Premier League season is drawing closer and this week we are examining which players have a point to prove in 2017/18. In the final part of our series we pick out five men in the spotlight, including Gabriel Jesus.
The former Sunderland goalkeeper was certainly kept busy in the club’s relegation season but a £30m move to Everton puts a different kind of pressure on the youngster.
Pickford’s performances will come under real scrutiny and an early error could bring damaging headlines.
Those in the know praise his handling and his footwork, but the 23-year-old is still a baby in goalkeeping terms and there is much left to prove. An assured start to his career in Everton blue would settle the nerves and raise hopes that he is England’s next No.1 too.
The Brazilian only arrived at Manchester City in January but made a big impression despite an injury-hit half-season in the Premier League. His seven goals in the competition came at a rate of one every 93 minutes, and that included time spent playing on the right flank.
As a result, there are high hopes for Jesus in his first full season in England. With so much quality around him, there will be chances. All the signs so far are that he can take them and go into next year’s World Cup as one of the most highly-rated forwards in the game.
Huddersfield wasted little time in making the midfielder’s loan from Manchester City a permanent move, parting with £8m for the Australian’s services. Perhaps that should be no surprise given that Mooy was the Terriers’ player of the year in their promotion-winning campaign.
Already 26, it has been a circuitous route to the Premier League for Mooy since his decision to leave Bolton for St Mirren in 2010. Now he gets his chance to show he is good enough for the top level. Huddersfield will surely need him to make light of the step up if they are to stay up.
All eyes will be on £75m man Lukaku following his transfer to Manchester United with some critics already criticising his close control and questioning whether he has the qualities to deliver in the biggest games. The Belgian has yet to play Champions League football too.
However, having scored 25 Premier League goals last season, Lukaku is entitled to feel he will be able to flourish with better support around him. At 24, the best years of his career are coming up. A fast start to his United career could be the catalyst for superstardom.
The man they call Ramadona showed glimpses of the quality last season that earned the Egypt international a move to Stoke in the first place. But the 20-year-old winger will be hoping for rather more opportunities to shine than he was given by Mark Hughes last term.
The skilful youngster made only eight Premier League starts in his first season in the Potteries, failing to find the net once. But he is a popular figure with the supporters and will be itching to prove that he can be the team’s creative spark in 2017/18.Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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