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Five Premier League players who could be about to have their breakthrough season

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It is always exciting to see young stars breakthrough in the Premier League, just as the likes of Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Bukayo Saka have done in recent years.

Here is a list of five young players who could make a name for themselves in the forthcoming 2023-24 Premier League season.

Kobbie Mainoo:

Midfielder Kobbie Mainoo has caught the attention of many people. After a positive pre-season so far against Arsenal, Olympique Lyon and Leeds United, Erik ten Hag has spoken out to dismiss rumours of the midfielder going on loan, as the United manager wants to keep him at the club and control his development.

A really strong performance against Arsenal’s midfield of Declan Rice, Martin Ødegaard and Kai Havertz has shown Mainoo’s quality, but will he be able to replicate his recent form over a season? He did pick up an injury in United’s 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid and was forced off, however the extent of his injury is yet to be seen.

Carlos Borges:

Manchester City forward Carlos Borges tore up the Premier League 2 last season. The Portuguese player scored 22 goals and registered 11 assists in just 24 appearances. The forward has been heavily linked with a move to West Ham United for a fee of £15m.

The 19-year-old could feature in the Premier League next season, with him potentially joining the Hammers as an understudy to or replacement for Michail Antonio. Borges clearly knows where the back of the net is, and with it seeming like he finds the under 23s too easy, the next step is senior first-team football.

Andrey Santos:

Brazilian defensive midfielder Andrey Santos arrived at Chelsea for a fee of £13m. The 19-year-old signed for the Blues on January 1st and spent the rest of the season at Vasco da Gama on loan. Santos has featured in Chelsea’s three fixtures against Newcastle United, Brighton and Wrexham.

With an apparent lack of midfield options at Stamford Bridge, Mauricio Pochettino could turn to the youngster to try and bolster their defensive midfield play ahead of the new season. The South American has played well when he has featured, showing that he does have what it takes to play at the top level.

Santos scored one goal in his last 10 appearances for Vasco da Gama, whilst for Brazil he was able to net two goals and register one assist in five games for the U20s. A senior cap for the Brazilian national team against Morocco shows the progress being made by the youngster from Rio.

Angelo Gabriel:

Another Chelsea youngster on this list is Angelo Gabriel. The right winger, who can also play on the left and as an attacking midfielder, has joined the Blues from Brazilian side Santos for £13m.

Gabriel has featured twice in preseason since joining Chelsea at the start of the window, registering one assist across both games. At only 18 years-old the sky’s the limit for him, and making a move at such a young age to the Premier League could either make or break him.

Unless Chelsea send him out on loan he could feature for the Blues off the bench early in the Premier League season, but it would be hard to see him as a starter, considering the £88m Mykhailo Mudryk still has to prove himself at the club.

James Trafford:

The hero of the Euro U21s final for England James Trafford has made a £19m move to Burnley. The former Manchester City goalkeeper was playing for League One Bolton Wanderers last season, where he was able to record 26 clean sheets in 52 appearances.

Trafford heroically saved a penalty in the 98th minute of the Euro U21s final against Spain, to prevent the game from going to extra-time and to give the Three Lions success in the tournament. That last-gasp penalty save also meant that Burnley’s new goalkeeper did not concede a single goal in the competition.

Trafford has already featured for Burnley, which came in a 2-0 defeat to Genk. Arijanet Muric played Burnley’s following game against Benfica, which Vincent Kompany’s side did win 2-0. It’s still unclear if Trafford will be Burnley’s number one, however he will almost certainly feature in domestic cup competitions, such as the FA Cup and the League Cup.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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