Who Will Be This Year's Breakout Players In the Premier League?
There are a bevy of players in the Premier League who could follow in the footsteps of Riyad Mahrez and Dimitri Payet and be this season's breakout stars.
Even with the transfer window still open and limited preseason play, there are some players making some noise as clubs prepare for the coming year. There are other players who showed flashes of brilliance last year and may be able to make the most of increased playing time.
There is a youth movement in the Premier League, with many young players close to cracking the first team.
Chelsea's Nathaniel Chalobah is competing for a defensive midfielder role for a side with title aspirations. Demarai Gray did not have much to do with Leicester City's memorable championship run last season, but he will be hard to ignore this campaign as he will likely see more action. Middlesbrough's Viktor Fischer could be a key cog if he can escape the injury bug. Jordan Pickford is in a battle to be the first-team keeper for Sunderland at the age of 22.
With ample talent to choose from, here are several players that could burst onto the scene this season.
Isaac Success, Watford
Watford signed the Nigerian forward for a club record fee early in July. Success came over from Spanish side Granada after winning the club's Player of the Year award. He scored six goals in La Liga last season to help his club avoid relegation. Success also created 25 chances last year, according to Squawka.com.
VIDEO | #ThankYouSuccess ¡Gracias @successisaac4! https://t.co/4VJ1OK66Fu
— Granada C.F. (@GranadaCdeF) June 30, 2016
It is unclear where Success will fit into the Watford lineup, but he played in virtually every advanced position for Granada last year. The 20-year old forward has no fear in going at defenders, which is evident in how often he drew fouls in dangerous locations. Success averaged close to three fouls drawn per game in 30 appearances in La Liga last season.
With a headline-ready last name, Success may be able to help Watford challenge for a coveted spot in European play this season.
Alex Iwobi, Arsenal
Iwobi, also a 20-year old Nigerian, made an impact for the Gunners in the last half of the 2015-'16 season. He started eight games, netting a goal in his first two starts, and is versatile enough to play in multiple positions.
Iwobi played in Arsenal's first preseason match and generated the team's first chance on goal. Arsene Wenger praised the youngster after the match against Lens. He will likely start again as the team takes on the MLS All-Star team on Thursday. If Iwobi locks down a spot in the starting XI, he's poised for a breakout campaign.
Lys Mousset, Bournemouth
Mousset came from Le Havre, which is a team with a pedigree for developing players. They have seen world-class stars such as Payet, Mahrez and Paul Pogba pass through their ranks. Now, it is Mousset's chance to prove he has matured enough to run the Premier League gauntlet after scoring 14 goals at Ligue 2 level.
[#Ligue2] Le superbe but de Lys Mousset avec le Havre ce soir ! pic.twitter.com/Xw46JdRMUa
— Total Football (@TotalFoot_) July 31, 2015
Le Havre is known for building up the technical ability of its players, and Mousset may prove to be another player who fits that mold. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said Mousset is a little raw, hinting that the new signing may not start right away, but the gaffer also said Mousset's future is very bright.
Bournemouth has been surprisingly active this transfer window. The Cherries have signed five players -- Nathan Ake, Emerson Hyndman, Mousset, Lewis Cook and Jordon Ibe -- who are all 22 or younger, so Bournemouth, as a whole, could be a breakout side this season.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Burnley
Iceland took out England in this year's European Championships, so one may understand any reluctance by Burnley fans to embrace Gudmundsson. However, he was in good form this summer and will be looking to continue his good play with the Clarets.
The Icelandic midfielder had a move to Hamburg fall through in 2008, but he went on to make a name for himself at AZ Alkmaar. In 172 appearances, he had 25 goals and 15 assists.
His goal-scoring touch improved at Charlton, in England's second tier, and Gudmundsson became a mainstay on the upstart Iceland squad. He played in all five games for his country at the Euros this summer.
Gudmundsson led the English Championship in assists last year, and he figures to pull the strings for the Burnley attack under manager Sean Dyche. Gudmundsson is expected to nail down a starting position, most likely as an attacking midfielder. At 25 years old Gudmundsson is the oldest player on this list, but his pairing with another mid-20s attacker, Andre Gray, could make Burnley an exciting attacking team.