We pick out 10 players who have a point to prove ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United
Sanchez was a target for both Manchester clubs in January and it was seen as a major coup when United persuaded him to head to Old Trafford, but he did not have the anticipated impact upon his arrival. Supporters expected more than three goals in 18 games and while the Chilean’s pedigree is proven, bigger things will be expected in his first full season.
Alvaro Morata – Chelsea
With six Premier League goals before the end of September, Morata made a fast start to his Chelsea career before fading so badly that he did not even make Spain’s World Cup squad. He scored only once in 14 Premier League appearances after Boxing Day, raising doubts about his ability to lead the line for a top team. Now 25, this could be a defining season.
Paul Pogba – Manchester United
Pogba is used to big expectations and his key role in France’s World Cup win only underlines the fact that he is a player who can propel his team to big things. He has shown glimpses of his class since returning to Old Trafford but such is his ability that there remains a belief that there is more to come. Will this be the year that Pogba really steps up for his side?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
Only Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane boasted a better minutes-per-goal record in the Premier League than Aubameyang last season. Even so, having been cup-tied for Arsenal’s Europa League campaign, it was still a relatively low-key start to his career at the club. The hope now will be that he can really come to the fore in his first full season.
Dele Alli – Tottenham
Alli failed to reach double figures for goals for the first time in his Tottenham career last season, scoring half as many as the previous campaign. It was still a significant contribution for a player who is still only 22 but there is a fear that Alli could plateau and he did not have things his own way at the World Cup either. Now is the time to go to the next level.
John Stones – Manchester City
Stones looked imperious at times during England’s World Cup run but the campaign still ended with him responsible for Croatia’s winning goal. It did little to alter the view that he is a defender of real talent who is prone to lapses of concentration. Stones needs to change that perception but firstly he must force his way back into Pep Guardiola’s first-choice team.
Jack Wilshere – West Ham
Wilshere held talks with Arsenal coach Unai Emery and was not encouraged that he would be seeing much first-team action. He was also omitted from Gareth Southgate’s England squad. It has been a summer of setbacks for the midfielder but his move to West Ham offers the promise of a fresh start. At 26, there is time to start anew. But can he seize this chance?
Adam Lallana – Liverpool
There has been some suggestion that England missed Lallana’s creativity in Russia and he is certainly a player who offers something different to Liverpool. Sadly, he was only able to start one game for the Reds in the Premier League last season due to injury. Now fit again, this is a big season for the 30-year-old midfielder. Will he get back to his best?
Ryan Sessegnon – Fulham
The Fulham teenager enjoyed a hugely impressive season in the Championship, fully justifying his decision to hold fire on a transfer to the Premier League. He has made it to the top flight anyway now and there will be a lot of eyes on how easily he can step up. Still only 18, Sessegnon’s potential is huge but so is the test that is ahead of him.
Loris Karius – Liverpool
It was a nightmare finish to the season for Karius as his errors in the Champions League final cost Liverpool their chance of glory. Those mistakes will never be forgotten but he is a 25-year-old goalkeeper – time is still on his side and everyone loves a redemption story. Will Karius recover from the setback and will he get the chance to do so at Anfield after the signing of Alisson from Roma?