Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year award last season, ending a streak of three straight Spurs winners. The north London club have still won it in five of the last seven years, however, starting with Kyle Walker in 2011/12.
It’s wide open this season. Top clubs have invested heavily in players on the up in recent years – like Sane – meaning several big names are still eligible for Young Player of the Year. Whether they should still be able to win it is a discussion for another time.
Here are a few of the main contenders for the award…
After last summer’s saga, Naby Keita has finally arrived in the Premier League. Keita slots into Liverpool’s midfield alongside fellow new signing Fabinho. The Guinean lit up the Bundesliga with Leipzig for two seasons with his ability to create from deep.
Big things are expected from the 23-year-old. His sharp through balls to Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are a mouthwatering prospect, his ability on the ball – both to shoot and pass – forces opponents to press him. That’s a dangerous game, though, as he can glide past opponents at will.
Jurgen Klopp will give Keita the freedom to be a success in the Premier League. Liverpool’s fearsome attack of last season will only improve with his arrival. He’s well deserving of his 6/1 second favourite price.
Raheem Sterling took another step towards his lofty potential last season. Quick one-twos and intelligent runs in behind saw the Manchester City winger rank in the top seven in the league for expected goals per 90 (players over 1000 league minutes).
He lost out on this award to Leroy Sane, but is a strong contender again this season. Manchester City are going to be much the same as last term, Sterling is a huge part of how they play and could well pass the 20-goal mark after netting 18 last season.
Sterling is at 8/1. Given that teammate Gabriel Jesus is 13/2, that’s a great price. The arrival of Riyad Mahrez might impact his playing time, but Pep Guardiola isn’t going to be benching the England international much if he replicates his 2017/18 form.
Ryan Sessegnon, in case you haven’t heard every time plays, is just 18-years-old. The left-back turned left-winger was the first Championship player to be nominated for this award last season, as he carried Fulham to playoff glory with 15 goals.
Fulham have made significant reinforcements this season, but all eyes will still be on Sessegnon. He is one of the most exciting young players around, how he adapts to the Premier League will be fascinating. Premier League right-backs will not be looking forward to dealing with him.
Sessegnon is a longshot for Young Player of the Year at 14/1. Fulham will need to overachieve significantly, and others underachieve, for the teenager to stand a realistic chance.
Last season’s winner is unsurprisingly in the running again. Leroy Sane is unstoppable at times and is only going to improve under Pep Guardiola. His 10 goals and 15 assists last season only tell half the story.
He’s devastatingly quick, strong enough to hold off any defender that dares get near him and has the technical ability to deliver a killer pass or driven shot.
Unlike several others in contention, Sane had the benefit of a summer to rest. He might have been left out of Jogi Loew’s Germany squad, but he will be starting for Pep Guardiola on opening day.
Last season felt like just a taster of what Sane can become. He has World Player of the Year potential. His 5/1 to become the fifth player to win Young Player of the Year back-to-back is good value.
Tottenham, through necessity, changed Dele Alli’s role last season. Mauricio Pochettino took Alli away from playing as a second striker that shot him to stardom, instead using the England international as a more conventional midfielder.
Alli’s creativity flew up as a result, his 10 assists were only bettered by Manchester City players.
Criticism followed as Alli scored half as many league goals (9) as he did in the season prior. His importance to Tottenham barely waned, however. Spurs’ weakness in midfield has required something different from Alli, and he adapted to that well.
Unfortunately, the two-time Young Player of the Year is unlikely to contend for the award again unless he produces more in the final third. More final third production is unlikely unless Spurs add a midfielder or two before the window shuts. Alli is not good value at 13/2.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*