Introducing YOUR Premier League club’s breakout star for 2016/17
Liverpool – Divock Origi
Origi is lightning fast, accomplished on the ball and capable of a range of finishes
Origi's last season at Lille was not a success and his arrival at Liverpool appeared to suffer from that loss of momentum. Initially unfavoured by Brendan Rodgers, he was jolted by Jurgen Klopp's appointment and the young Belgian – albeit partly because of Daniel Sturridge's prolonged injury difficulties – was given just enough opportunity to show that the hype is real.
He remains a patchy, unpredictable forward without a compartmentalising definition, but – crucially – his strengths complement his manager's fast-breaking, turnover-based approach. Origi is lightning fast, accomplished on the ball and capable of a range of finishes, and it would be a surprise to no one if he flourishes.
There's competition at Anfield and Origi will have to win a place ahead of Adam Lallana or Sadio Mane, but he's theoretically perfect for both his current club and the division in which they play.
Manchester City – Kelechi Iheanacho
In a few years' time, Brahim Diaz will begin his climb into the professional game and that really will be exciting. For now, though, Iheanacho is Pep Guardiola's brightest young thing.
There's currently almost an indifference to him, which is odd. Perhaps of less interest because he is of no concern to the English national team or maybe a reflection on City being a less popular team, Iheanacho has been allowed to grow in the shadows. Healthy, certainly, but as a consequence there seems to be minimal appreciation for just how good a player he could be.
There are weaknesses to his game: his pass selection can sometimes let him down and he must become more economic with his touches, but those are flaws borne from naivety. He's already a startlingly good finisher, but is also a creative presence who processes the game quickly and can drop off the frontline and influence the play with a broad passing range – indeed, he averaged a Premier League goal or assist every 84 minutes last season, a league high.
It's too early to know for sure, but he will probably grow into something between the traditional No.9 and 10 roles and, not incidentally, become the sort of malleable attacking component which Guardiola has historically favoured.
Manchester United – Er, nobody
Though it may seem contrived or accusatory, the chances of Jose Mourinho allowing emerging talent to grow are remote. In his introductory press conference, the Portuguese spoke of the need for specialists in key positions and in conjunction with Manchester United's completed and intended transfer business, that would seem to represent diminishing opportunities for anyone not already established at first-team level.
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) July 6, 2016
Mourinho doesn't tolerate imperfection and his tactical approach can't accommodate players who are still learning the game. Given United's current position and the resources they are committing in pursuit of a Champions League return, don't expect that to change.
Middlesbrough – Viktor Fischer
The young Dane was very much in wunderkid territory a few years ago, but a succession of injuries saw him stagnate at Ajax and his current reputation is still too reliant on dated YouTube highlights. If he can stay fit in England, though, he could well become one of the signings of the summer.
At his best he's a highly watchable, free-spirited player who finishes with cultured calm and, consequently, it's far too early to reclassify his talent.
The worry, of course, is that his apparent fragility and the Premier League's attritional nature will make for a bad combination, but it would be football's great gain if he matured into the player he was projected to be several years ago. If all goes well, he may again become one of the game's hottest properties.
Catherine Wilson (the club's ESPN FC blogger) also speaks highly of twenty-three year-old centre-half Ben Gibson, the nephew of popular chairman, Steve. He will be entering his fourth full season in the Boro first-team (following loan spells at York, Plymouth Argyle, and Tranmere), has represented England at U17, U18, U20, and U21 level, and was an integral part of the meanest defence in last season's Championship.