I understand your desires. I’m going to make your fantasies come true. I know exactly why you’re here.
YouTube highlight videos with bad EDM. Twenty of them.
Oh hell yeah, it’s that time of year when we’re excited that the Premier League is back, but we haven’t seen enough of most players to have informed opinions. For that reason, we watch mixtapes and convince ourselves that our favorite team’s new signing is going to be a game-changing superstar.
That’s usually not what happens. Nevertheless, these are the players I’m excited to watch and see if they end up being Actually Good.
Arsenal — Dani Ceballos
Imagine if Mesut Özil liked running as much as he likes Fortnite. He’d be ... Dani Ceballos! The Gunners are trying their best to ship their gaming trequartista off to D.C. United and they’ve replaced him with a Real Madrid loanee who’s got plenty of flicks and tricks. Time will tell if Ceballos has the consistent passing vision and physicality to hang in the Premier League, but he’s certainly got the skills.
Aston Villa — Jack Grealish
A lot of people wrote off Grealish when he got into trouble for partying. As it turns out, we shouldn’t base our opinions of people on the stupid things they do when they’re 19. Grealish has grown into a leader, and he looks very ready for his second stint in the Premier League.
AFC Bournemouth — Harry Wilson
I’m not sure if Wilson has enough skills other than finishing to make it as a top Premier League player. Neither is Jürgen Klopp, or else Wilson wouldn’t be on loan at Bournemouth. But Wilson is 22 now and he scored 15 goals in the Championship last season, so it’s time to see what he’s capable of.
Brighton & Hove Albion — Neal Maupay
The stats nerds at Brentford unearthed a Ligue 2 gem in Maupay, then flipped him for a 10-times profit. Thanks to those brainiacs, we’ll get to see Maupay play in the Prem. He’s a little tank of a man who seems impossible to knock off the ball, and he likes assisting as much as scoring.
Burnley — James Tarkowski
OK, this one is a stretch. I’m sure Burnley supporters are very proud of their solid team that comfortably stayed in the Premier League, and Sean Dyche seems like a good guy, but ... it’s Burnley. There’s not much to get excited about on Burnley. Y’all are boring as hell.
James Tarkowski might find his way onto a top-six team at some point, though, if he keeps running down his contract. He makes some excellent last-ditch tackles and is a much better passer than a Burnley center back has any business being.
Chelsea — Christian Pulisic
Oh come on, were you expecting something else? Replacing Eden Hazard is a tall task, but Pulisic clearly has the same level of talent. We’ll find out soon if he can do the stuff in these highlights consistently, instead of once every three or four games.
Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha
Zaha is the most established Premier League player on this list, mostly because Palace didn’t make do much in the transfer market and don’t have any promising kids playing more time this year. We’re not going to learn anything new about his game, but he still kicks ass and I love watching him play.
Everton — Moise Kean
After getting told off by his captain at Juventus for complaining about racial abuse, Kean decided to move to a country that at least cares to pretend to not tolerate that kind of shit. He only has about 1,600 Serie A minutes under his belt, so he’s a gamble for Everton at €30 million, but he’s universally regarded as one of the world’s top teenage talents. There’s nothing lacking in Kean’s skillset, he just has to put all of his skills together and translate them into goals and assists.
Leicester City — Filip Benkovic
If you’re wondering why Leicester sold Harry Maguire and didn’t buy a replacement, the reason is Benkovic. The Foxes bought him in anticipation of Maguire’s departure and loaned him out to Celtic, where he played well. How good he is in the mental aspect of the game is very much TBD, but he’s got outrageous physical tools and he’s a solid passer.
Also, holy crap — does this song nail the YouTube highlights music genre or what?
Liverpool — Naby Keita
Keita was fine for Liverpool last season. Perhaps even mildly disappointing. But in case you need a reminder of what he can do, here’s a video of his goals and assists at RB Leipzig. Liverpool are counting on Keita to take a big leap forward in his second Premier League season.
Manchester City — Phil Foden
Pep Guardiola said this summer that Foden’s biggest problem is his manager not playing him enough. It’s not easy for a 19-year-old to get into the Manchester City lineup, but he’ll be eased in as David Silva starts his inevitable decline. We don’t have a big enough sample to know if Foden is Actually Good, but if you squint at this video you’ll swear you’re watching Andres Iniesta.
Manchester United — Marcus Rashford
United selling Romelu Lukaku and not signing another senior attacker was an extremely questionable move, but it’s also a signal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s faith in Rashford. The selection dilemmas are over: Rashford is the guy. He’s also not going to have excuses made for him anymore, not at 21 years old with three seasons in the first team behind him. This is supposed to be the year that Rashford makes a massive leap.
Newcastle United — Joelinton
I really question spending £40 million on a guy with average stats when you have extremely limited transfer resources. But it’s not my money, and I don’t really care if Newcastle wins games or not. What I do care about is watching fun soccer games, and yooooo this dude is FUN. Joelinton is a giant brick house of a striker who wishes he was Neymar, and I hope he ends up being really good.
Norwich City — Max Aarons
Really looking forward to watching the future Tottenham Hotspur right back grow during his first season in the Premier League.
Sheffield United — Oliver McBurnie
McBurnie comes with some red flags. He didn’t really do anything until his age-22 season, when he massively over-performed expected goals and didn’t get that many shots off. But he’s a big dude who gets on the end of balls in the six-yard box a lot, so maybe he’ll keep scoring? I have no idea!
Southampton — Che Adams
The Saints have a clear transfer philosophy again. Ralph Hasenhüttl and his staff are betting on themselves to turn elite physical talents with incomplete skillsets into stars. Moussa Djenepo, Kevin Danso, and Che Adams all fall into that category, but Adams is the one most expected to make an immediate contribution.
There isn’t much to his game other than hitting the truck stick and scoring bangers, but he has flashed the ability to dribble past people, set up teammates, and pressure defenders. Hopefully the Southampton staff can make him a more well-rounded player.
Tottenham Hotspur — Tanguy Ndombele
We haven’t seen Ndombele play in the Premier League yet, so it’s possible his skills don’t translate and he becomes an average player. But I’m pretty confident that he’s actually Clarence Seedorf and Arturo Vidal fused together to make one SuperMidfielder.
Watford FC — Ismaila Sarr
Damn, has this dude got the jets or what? Sarr is one of the best players I’ve ever seen at almost coming to a dead stop, then getting back to top speed in about two steps. Ligue 1 fullbacks look dumbfounded.
West Ham United — Pablo Fornals
I’m not sure why a better team didn’t sign Fornals, and for more than £25 million. He’s a modern, balanced attacking midfielder with no holes in his game. The goals and assists look nice, but he also completes forward passes that consistently beat defenders, and does more defensive work than most creative No. 10s. He can play in any midfield alignment, and doesn’t need the team to be structured around him like a lot of players in his role. I like him a lot.
Wolverhampton Wanderers — Morgan Gibbs-White
Video game players know. Gibbs-White wasn’t a regular starter for Wolves last season, but still made 26 appearances and flashed some real brilliance. Expect him to get a lot more starts and provide assists this campaign.