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Premier League 2013/14: Five to Watch – Chelsea’s Kevin De Bruyne and more

Although the transfer window still lingers on, the majority of players in the Premier League will remain where they are. Last season introduced some relatively unexpected stars, notably Michu, Christian Benteke, Chico Flores, et al. The coming season will too bring a flurry of players previously unknown or not rated that will rise to prominence. Here are five that I have tipped for success in the coming season:

1. Nicklas Helenius – Although 6ft5, the Dane isn’t typical for someone of his size. Instead of play the role of a long-ball target man, Helenius, capped by Denmark, prefers to drop deep, linking up with those around him as well as passing defenders with his deceptively long legs. He scored 16 goals in 33 games for Aalborg last season in the Danish Superliga, a record that will allow Paul Lambert to offload Darren Bent without too much concern. With the fee reported to begin at 1.2m (rising to 2m), Helenius is a low risk yet potentially high rewarding purchase. Villa’s striking options appear increasingly promising, with Andreas Weimann likely to build on last year’s goal tally of 12.

2. Gerard Deulofeu – In all likelihood the Spaniard will only grace the Premier League with his talents for a season, yet that is likely to be enough for the U21 international to become known to the Premier League’s worldwide fan base. Had Neymar not joined Barcelona back in May, it may have been Deulofeu who joined Barca’s attack. Last season he scored 18 goals in 34 games in Spain’s second league, twice as good as his total the season before. Should his growth continue at that rate, then the 19 year old should have no problem reaching double figures for Everton this season. Standing at 5ft11, Deulofeu is taller than most of those who have come through La Masia, especially for a winger. This is likely to help him adapt to the more physical Premier League, where Barcelona forwards have failed previously (Giovani Dos Santos). He will be in competition with Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas for a starting place but undoubtedly has the talent to displace both.

3. Jonjo Shelvey – I know, Shelvey’s hardly unknown. However, he is under-rated. Swansea haven’t overspent with this £5m signing, rather they’ve made another shrewd signing. Shelvey’s an all-action midfielder, and perhaps in the Steven Gerrard & Bryan Robson mould of player that England should known for producing, i.e. all action yet technically able, not Scott Parker. Shelvey will add mobility to Swansea’s midfield and is someone capable of playing deeply or in a more advanced position. He’s also only 21, and in my eyes can progress from being an U21 regular to a full England starter in coming years. While his finishing is something that must be improved, Shelvey’s passing range can be an asset to the Swans if utilised correctly. His temper might also be a liability.

4. Kevin De Bruyne – Many Chelsea fans were disappointed last season when the Belgian was loaned out to Werder Bremen, but his performances whilst away in Germany will have whet their appetite’s to see him in blue further. From an advanced midfield position the recently turned 22 year old scored 10 goals and produced as many assists in 33 games. The returning Mourinho described him as a “key player”, and if Dortmund’s supposed interest is anything to go by then you can deduce that the Belgium international is talented. He will have difficulty competing with Lampard and new signing van Ginkel for opportunities in the centre of midfield, although his goal on Sunday won’t have harmed his chances. 

5. Adnan Januzaj – Last Summer the departing Sir Alex Ferguson lost starlet Paul Pogba. His replacement David Moyes won’t want to suffer the same fate with Adnan Januzaj, who reportedly seeks assurances about first team football before committing himself to a new contract – much like Pogba. Yet another Belgian wonder kid, Januzaj has been involved in United’s pre-season tour, particularly impressing in the 1-0 defeat to the Singha all stars. He spent the 2011-12 season in United’s under 18s, before impressing in the reserves last season. His transition between the two levels was particularly impressive, playing as if there was virtually no difference between the two. He would have been Sir Alex’s last substitute had Jonny Evans not been injured in the 5-5 draw at West Brom. Januzaj is capable of playing in any of the advanced midfield positions, though perhaps will be used only sparingly given the depth in Moyes’ squad. Januzaj appears to have a determination to succeed as well as having the talents required, something that should help him materialise into the player that he could potentially become.

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