The 10 most exciting Premier League players under the age of 23
Yves Bissouma (21, Brighton)
Bissouma is interesting because his move to Brighton will, you suspect, either go very well or very badly. He’s a new signing at the Amex Stadium, a £15m arrival from Lille, and – although the French club struggled badly in 2017/18 –it was hard not to be seduced by Bissouma’s flashes of skill.
He’s a bowling ball of a midfielder, physically equipped for Premier League life, but it’s the technique which really makes him look like a smart addition. Imagine a younger, more vertical version of Tottenham’s Moussa Dembele: that’s what Chris Hughton appears to have bought.
Ryan Sessegnon (18, Fulham)
Well, obviously. For those not familiar with Ryan Sessegnon, don’t be expecting a rampaging winger purely with skill and pace to burn. Instead, he provides a more plotted threat: he finishes well, arrives in the right positions at the right time, and seems to be improving each year under Slavisa Jokanovic.
Will that translate to the higher level? Well, it should do. Traditionally, players who are overly reliant on physical attributes tend to struggle with that jump, but Sessegnon isn’t that and his intelligence should allow him to make a real impression on the top flight.
James Maddison (21, Leicester)
Leicester parted with a lot of money for Maddison (the fee could rise to £24m) and did so on the basis of performances in the Football League. That’s always a risk and it naturally creates a fair amount of pressure too.
But Maddison should be able to shoulder that burden. He’s not the sort of attacking midfielder to be a constant influence within games – even in the Championship he had a habit of drifting to the periphery – but the higher standard around him should complement his abilities.
His free-kicks have been on steady YouTube rotation for some time now, but his broader creativity is perhaps more relevant. Where he fits in at the King Power remains to be seen, but his general finesse should make him popular and his delivery will help fill the post-Mahrez void.
Davinson Sanchez (22, Tottenham)
At time of writing, Toby Alderweireld is still a Tottenham player. Regardless of whether he leaves, though, Sanchez now appears to be Mauricio Pochettino’s first-choice partner for Jan Vertonghen in central defence.
His first season in England was broadly a success, but it wasn’t without its hiccups. Sanchez was capable of looking immovable for 89 minutes, but then allowing lapses in concentration to invite opposition chances. Wilfried Zaha gave him a torrid time at Wembley in 2017/18 and a stoppage-time misjudgement very nearly threw away a north London derby win.
For now, that can be attributed to inexperience. A year on though and with a World Cup to his name, Pochettino and Spurs can expect an evolution from their newest centre-half - one which, perhaps, might lead to him becoming one of the finest defenders in Europe one day.
Lewis Cook (21, Bournemouth)
Nobody really talks about Cook, perhaps because he plays for Bournemouth, but they really should. His smart possession play fits so neatly into the house style at Dean Court, it’s very easy to miss just how composed the midfielder is and how efficiently he cuts the lines with his passing.
There’s work to do: defensively he’s still not the most secure and he made little impression on the best teams in the division last season. But Bournemouth have improved – David Brooks has been added to the midfield, while Diego Rico has arrived to strengthen Eddie Howe’s full-back options – and bright young thing Cook should benefit by proxy.