Ranking the 10 best young Premier League players: Man City dominate, Wolves and Chelsea get in, Arsenal star No. 1

Ranking the 10 best young Premier League players: Man City dominate, Wolves and Chelsea get in, Arsenal star No. 1

The Premier League captures the world’s attention like no other club footballing competition. Throughout the season, the English top flight provides fans with nonstop drama, surprises, and breakout performances. There are so many quality young ballers in this league that it’s difficult to focus our attention on everyone.

But we will do our best to rank the top 10 young players in the Premier League based on their 2023/24 performance thus far. Only players 23 years of age and younger are considered.

10. Tottenham RW Dejan Kulusevski

Dejan Kulusevski was actually named the best young player in Serie A back in the 2019/20 season when he played for Parma. The Swedish international made it to the Juventus first team after his loan ended, and while the former Atalanta man had his moments in Turin, he never quite fit in Andrea Pirlo’s 4-4-2. Playing as right midfielder took the left-footed Kulusevski away from goal and away from making a profound impact on matches.

Former Juventus executive Fabio Paratici brought Kulusevski to Tottenham, and, like former Juve teammate Rodrigo Bentancur, the 23-year-old right winger has been quite the hit in North London.

Kulusevski is off to another great start in the 2023/24 season, creating a bevy of chances for his teammates and functioning as a key outlet alongside Son Heung-min. His explosiveness relieves so much pressure off the South Korean and new attacking midfielder James Maddison, who may very well be the Premier League Player of the Season frontrunner.

9. Chelsea CM Conor Gallagher

There’s still not much for Chelsea fans to be excited about in the short-term, but the future really does look bright for the Blues. It’s baffling that some fans and analysts wrote off Conor Gallagher last season when he wasn’t even bad.

Gallagher was legitimately one of the best players in the Premier League in the previous season for Crystal Palace, and even last season on a dysfunctional Chelsea side, he stood out for his willingness to work harder than anyone else.

That work ethic has been ever-present to start the 2023/24 season. Gallagher is averaging nearly five combined tackles and interceptions per match while completing just over 90 percent of his pass attempts.

He is doing everything you want to see a midfielder do. Gallagher wins the ball, creates chances, keeps play ticking, and progresses play. Chelsea need a player like him in the middle of the park to do the dirty work while still having the requisite technical quality.

8. Manchester City RW Phil Foden

Although some people are acting as if Phil Foden is disappointing or that his star has faded, he is still clearly one of the best young players in the Premier League and doing very well in a Manchester City that can get crowded.

Pep Guardiola and City still want to figure out the best long-term position for Foden so that he can be even better while focusing on just one position to develop in, but, for now, his versatility is in itself an asset.

See, there are a lot of players who get praised for their versatility, but they aren’t actually all that good in those other three positions they sometimes play in. Foden is great pretty much everywhere, and that’s because he’s so good off the ball and can match well with the strengths of any attacking teammate.

7. Wolves RW Pedro Neto

There are so many young players in the Premier League who could end up being on the Player of the Season list by the end of the season, and one of the most overlooked stars in that respect is Wolves’ right-sided wide man Pedro Neto.

While Neto is no stranger to being a dangerous Premier League player, the 23-year-old looks like he’s putting together his best season yet. After recording five goals with six assists a couple of seasons ago as one of the most promising players on a solid Wolves side, Neto has already matched that total with six assists in 2023/24 through just nine Premier League matches.

The underlying numbers are even more impressive. Neto is averaging 2.2 dribbles completed and 2.7 key passes per game. He is legitimately one of the best wingers in the Premier League right now.

6. Manchester City AM Julián Álvarez

Kevin De Bruyne’s injury has clearly hurt Manchester City, but his absence has led to an opportunity for Julián Álvarez in the 10 role behind Erling Haaland.

A striker by trade, Álvarez’s signing was overshadowed by Haaland’s last summer, but he is also one of the most talented young strikers in world football with the finishing chops to prove it. Whenever he started for Man City last season, the Argentinian international impressed.

Álvarez has been even more complete this season, creating a bevy of chances and showing that same sharpshooting that made him one of the most acclaimed prospects in the world while at River Plate.

The 23-year-old has seven goals and four assists between the Premier League and Champions League, averaging 2.1 and 3.3 key passes per game in both competitions, respectively. Those are outrageous creative statistics for a player whose first position is a 9, not a 10.

5. Manchester City ST Erling Haaland

For a “slow” start to the season, Erling Haaland sure is scoring a ton of goals for Manchester City. Last season’s record-breaking Premier League striker is already at nine goals in nine matches for the Citizens, making him the clear favorite to win the Golden Boot in 2023/24, too.

Haaland is nearly automatic and still finding the back of the net even without primary playmaker KDB. The 23-year-old is more well-rounded than people say, though the City scheme calls for him to stay up top as a 9 and clean up all the chances the wide and central playmakers create for him.

4. Liverpool CM Dominik Szoboszlai

One of the best signings in all of European football this past summer, Dominik Szoboszlai took a significant investment from Liverpool to match his RB Leipzig release clause, but he already looks to be worth every cent Jürgen Klopp and Co. spent. Szoboszlai was tremendous in Leipzig last season, producing a career-best year as an all-around player and creative.

This season, Szoboszlai has completed his transition into being a true midfielder in a 4-3-3, filling a major hole Liverpool had in their XI last season when they were one of the more disappointing teams in European football. Szoboszlai has brought energy, technical quality, and the threat of a goal from thin air.

The Hungarian international has one goal and no assists on paper, but those numbers don’t do justice to his impact. Szoboszlai is averaging 2.3 key passes and 2.5 combined dribbles completed and fouls drawn per match for the Reds. He is even averaging 2.3 combined tackles and interceptions per game while completing nearly 88 percent of his more than 60 pass attempts per contest.

3. Newcastle LW Anthony Gordon

Remember when people thought Anthony Gordon was an overpriced commodity on the transfer market? Well, he is one of the hottest commodities in the Premier League now, offering Newcastle a dynamic and consistent solution on the left flank.

He has been vital to the Magpies’ success, and Newcastle can feel optimistic that their attack has what it takes to be highly competitive in the Champions League despite a recent disappointment against Borussia Dortmund.

Gordon has been especially impressive in the Premier League. The 22-year-old has five total goal contributions with 2.4 fouls drawn, 1.6 dribbles completed, and 1.0 key passes per match.

He works so hard for the team as an attacker, too, averaging nearly two tackles per match. Newcastle know he can offer them even more statistically as the season goes on if the other players around him step up.

2. Manchester City LW Jérémy Doku

If Dominik Szoboszlai has been one of the best signings in European football this season, his rival on the wing at Manchester City may have him beat. Jérémy Doku was an excellent player for Rennes, but even the quality Ligue 1 side seemed to underrate him, failing to give him enough minutes in the 2022/23 season.

The best pure dribbler in world football right now, Doku looks even better for Manchester City than he did at Rennes despite this being a big-time step-up for the Belgian international. Pep Guardiola is rightfully smitten with Doku, already seeing the winger, who can play on either flank, as an indispensible part of his tactical plan.

Doku is averaging well over three dribbles per game in both the Premier League and Champions League. But Doku is so much more than just a dynamic dribbler. He is an incredibly intelligent footballer and one of the best creators on the wings in the English top flight, averaging nearly two key passes per game. The young forward is only scratching the surface.

1. Arsenal RW Bukayo Saka

But as impressive as all these players are, there can only be one best. Bukayo Saka is the clear winner here. It really isn’t close. Saka has a case for being the best overall player in the Premier League when combining his consistency with his ability to impact the final score at any given moment.

Unselfish, industrious, and brimming with technical quality, Saka is the kind of winger who can help stabilize a team’s build-up, score a goal from nothing, and stretch the pitch horizontally to provide another inverted winger with space to maneuver and score goals. Saka works well with everyone.

He has the numbers to back up the hype. Saka is on four goals and three assists in eight Premier League matches, making the difference for Arsenal whenever he plays. The 22-year-old – it’s still hard to believe he is a U23 player – averages 2.8 key passes per game with at least two fouls drawn and dribbles completed per game apiece. Now that’s called production.