Benfica's Enzo Fernandez starred for Argentina during their triumphant World Cup campaign, prompting speculation of a January transfer.

The 21-year-old was rewarded for his efforts by being named as the Young Player of the Tournament.

Fernandez only joined Benfica from River Plate last year, signing on a five-year deal that expires in 2027.


World Cup sensation Enzo Fernandez has agreed to join Chelsea, with the Premier League club's next step to convince Benfica to sell him, claims the Metro.

Fabrizio Romano reports the Blues have opened discussions with the Portuguese club about a transfer, with talk the move could be worth £105million due to a release clause.

Benfica have shown little intention of selling Fernandez and Chelsea already have a back-up plan should the move not materialise in the shape of another Argentinian, Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, according to the Times.


– ESPN claims Real Madrid are willing to splash out more than €100m to land Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, who is also being chased by Liverpool .

Barcelona and Newcastle United are interested in Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, but he wants to re-join Napoli when his Blues contract concludes at the end of this season, claims La Repubblica. Chelsea have also reportedly offered him a new deal.

Manchester City have beaten Newcastle to the signature of Velez Sarsfield's 19-year-old midfielder Maximo Perrone, reports Team Talk.

– Gianluca di Marzio claims Milan are interested in a short-term move for Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy amid ongoing injury issues for number one Mike Maignan.

– The Daily Mail claims Wolves will let Mexican forward Raul Jimenez exit in January if they manage to land another striker.

– Unai Emery's Aston Villa are keen on Udinese forward Gerard Deulofeu, according to 90min.

Frank Lampard tried and failed to bring "amazing" striker Erling Haaland to Chelsea during his time as the Blues' manager.

Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm since signing for Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund in June.

The Norway international became the fastest player to score 20 Premier League goals with his double in City's 3-1 win over Leeds United on Wednesday, doing so in just 14 games, seven less than previous record-holder Kevin Phillips.

A home game against strugglers Everton, who lost 2-1 to Wolves thanks to a late Rayan Ait-Nouri goal on Boxing Day, should provide Haaland with an ideal opportunity to cap 2022 off on a high note.

Now manager of Everton, Lampard recalled trying to sign Haaland for Chelsea during his spell as their boss between 2019 and 2021.

Lampard told reporters: "He is an amazing player and the ultimate top-level players generally can do what he does in a top-level league.

"With a player of that talent, of course at any moment they can hurt you.

"I coached against him in a pre-season game when he was playing for Salzburg. I tried to sign him for Chelsea and it was not to be.

"It was clear in our pre-match preparation what this boy was. Fair play to him.

"We are going against him and I respect those at the top of their game. I watched the World Cup final with [Kylian] Mbappe and [Lionel] Messi, and Haaland has got himself in that bracket at a very young age."

Everton will be hoping to have their own number nine fit to feature at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with Lampard confirming Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be in his squad to take on the champions.

Calvert-Lewin's injury issues from last season have persisted, with the 25-year-old managing just six appearances this term.

"We've gone into a season where we've lost Richarlison and haven't really had Dominic, barring a few games," said Lampard, whose team have scored only 12 league goals this season, 31 fewer than City's tally of 43.

"We haven't had him, but not for the want of trying. It's injury. When you lose that firepower it might not be easy to replace in terms of pure goals and output.

"Having Dominic back in the fold is a great thing for us because players who can make the difference at the top end of the pitch like that mean points. It's as simple as that.

"We'll look and see what we can do in the January window to see what options we can have to start a game, change a game from the bench. We're looking at lots of players."

Bernardo Silva insists there is "no panic" at Manchester City despite Arsenal's five-point lead at the Premier League summit.

Mikel Arteta, who was previously Pep Guardiola's assistant coach at City, has guided the Gunners to 13 wins from 15 top-flight games this term, sparking dreams in the red half of north London of a first title win since the 2003-04 season.  

Reigning champions City have dropped points in four of their 15 games this season and Silva, who was an unused substitute in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Leeds United, knows there is little room for error as they aim to rein in the Gunners.

"It's the Premier League. You never know what is going to happen in this league. Newcastle United since the takeover have invested very well and look like they have a very good project," he said.

"Arsenal is not a surprise, maybe for some but not for me. I know the manager very well, I know how well he understands the game and how he deals with his players because when he was with us he did the same thing.

"It's a very young team but when you add players with a winning mentality like Gabby [Gabriel Jesus] and [Oleksandr] Zinchenko then it becomes a very dangerous side. I'm not surprised at all about Arsenal.

"We're behind and have to go after them knowing it's a difficult league. The league is still very much alive. We're not in a perfect position but we're better than most teams so we'll keep fighting.

"There’s no sense of panic but concern that we're five points behind – we're not happy. We know we can't make more mistakes. Arsenal can make mistakes and if they drop a few points they'll be a in a race with us and other teams.

"If we drop points, maybe Newcastle will go past us, [Manchester] United will go past us, Tottenham will go past us and Arsenal will keep running and it won't be easy to go after them.

"There's no panic but definitely motivation and a lot of focus to not let them go further away from us."

City are next in action on Saturday when Everton travel to the Etihad Stadium. 

Pep Guardiola has no doubt Pele would have dazzled in any era as he paid tribute to the late Brazil great – but Lionel Messi remains his choice for the greatest of all time.

Manchester City manager Guardiola said Pele's legacy "will be eternal", remembering how as a young boy he was told all about the Brazilian by a physio at Barcelona.

When Guardiola watched clips of Pele in his prime, he was wowed by the all-round ability of the Santos superstar, who won three World Cups with his country, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Pele toured the world with Santos, as teams lined up for the chance to play against him, and he resisted offers to play for European teams, including Real Madrid.

Following his death at the age of 82, announced by family on Thursday, tributes have poured in for Pele, and Guardiola offered condolences to loved ones from himself and City.

"Football is football thanks to these types of people, players and human beings," Guardiola said.

"What he has done for football is there and always will remain. He didn't just win three World Cups – it was a new thing when he came up. I was not born when he was playing, but it's like a good movie, no?

"The legacy after many years is still there. We are still talking all these years later. Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Messi, Beckenbauer, Cristiano Ronaldo – these players will be forever, will be eternal.

"They have done many things for many years, and these types of players make our business, our work, our job a better place. What he produced; we have seen with the World Cup one team can change everything for a country of millions of people."

Guardiola added, in a tribute posted on City's website: "When I was in the academy at Barcelona I had a physio who was in love with Brazil and Pele. And after when I was nine or 10, I started to watch some clips.

"Now I realise he was so strong and could do everything. These type of players, if he was playing now, he would adapt to the rhythm and the pace. He was so intuitive and in skills and mentality, he could play in every generation."

Earlier in December, Guardiola said those preferring Pele or Diego Maradona above Messi did so for "sentimental" reasons.

He is sticking to his guns on rating 2022 World Cup winner Messi above all others, having coached the Argentinian at Barcelona.

"Everyone has their own greatest," said Guardiola. "For Argentina they might say Di Stefano, Maradona or Messi. I always say Messi is my favourite because I worked with him – but I understand people choose another one."

Manchester United are set to be busy in the January transfer window following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit in November.

Erik ten Hag's side are in the market to bolster their forward options, having already been linked to a host of players.

But United look set to settle for short-term loan deals with little money available for a transfer fee, limiting their options.


Manchester United have turned their attention to signing Spain international forward Alvaro Morata on loan, according to ESPN.

United missed out on signing Cody Gakpo, who has joined Liverpool, while they face stiff competition to land Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix along with a reported total package worth €22million for six months.

The report claims the Red Devils are hoping Atletico are willing to listen to loan offers, with the 30-year-old having been loaned to Juventus this season.


– Media Foot claims Manchester United and Tottenham have both commenced talks with Rennes on £34m-valued striker Martin Terrier.

Chelsea are rapidly closing in on a deal for 21-year-old Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs, with personal terms agreed.

– The Athletic reports that Chelsea have taken positive steps in talks with N'Golo Kante on re-committing to the club on a new deal. Kante's contract expires in June and he has been linked with several clubs in the January transfer window, including Barcelona .

Manchester City will offer Milan forward Rafael Leao a contract worth €12m per season as they bid to lure him to England in January, claims TuttoMercatoWeb.

Borussia Dortmund have joined the race to sign Juventus' United States international midfielder Weston McKennie, according to Tuttosport, with the German club viewing him as a suitable replacement for Jude Bellingham.

– PSG defender Sergio Ramos is being pursued by Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr, claims Marca. Al Nassr are trying to convince Cristiano Ronaldo to join the club, which is their priority move.

Tributes have poured in for three-time World Cup winner Pele following the Brazil legend's death aged 82.

The former Selecao star, widely considered one of the greatest to ever play the game, passed away on Thursday following a battle with colon cancer.

Pele's status as one of football's most recognised figures has drawn the sport together in mourning, with clubs across the globe honouring the late forward.

LaLiga and Champions League holders Real Madrid offered their condolences to the player's family, while paying tribute to the legacy he leaves behind.

"The legend of Pele will remain forever in the memory of all those who love this sport and his legacy makes him one of the great myths of world football," Los Blancos issued in a statement.

Fellow Spanish giants Barcelona said the Brazilian "made football greater than ever", while last season's Champions League finalists Liverpool called him an "icon" of football.

Several teams paid tribute to Pele with statements incorporating some of the game's other greats, such as Benfica, who posted a picture of him alongside late Portugal star Eusebio.

West Ham included former England captain Bobby Moore in their image after their famous battle at the 1970 World Cup, while Ajax featured Johan Cruyff, another of the game's great players, alongside the Brazilian.

Premier League trio Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City recalled their memories of Pele, with the Gunners reflecting on his visit for an encounter over four decades ago following his retirement.

Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich paid tribute to "one of the all-time greats" while Serie A champions Milan also offered condolences.

CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation, also issued a tribute to the late star, saying: "Thank you for putting South America on top."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola joked Kalvin Phillips has "the perfect body" after overlooking the midfielder for selection last week for being "overweight".

Phillips was back among the substitutes for Wednesday's 3-1 win at former club Leeds United, six days after being left out of the squad for the EFL Cup last-16 tie with Liverpool.

Guardiola said after the Liverpool match that Phillips, who recovered from injury to play twice for England at the World Cup, was not in the right physical condition to feature.

However, Guardiola has now made a U-turn on those comments and confirmed Phillips could be involved against struggling Everton on Saturday.

"He has the perfect body now – so sexy," Guardiola said following the win at Leeds, which moved City back within five points of leaders Arsenal. "We will see for the weekend."

Phillips has made just four substitute appearances for City, playing only 54 minutes, since joining from boyhood club Leeds in a reported £42million deal.

"He has spent the first part of the season out [after] surgery to arrive for the World Cup – and did everything to get to the World Cup," Guardiola added.

"It's not just about just being fit; you also have to understand what we want to do, the movements.

"So that means, as quick as possible, because Rodri cannot play all the games, as quick as possible he will play.

"But I'm happy that Kalvin trained really well [on Tuesday] and sooner or later he will play."

Erling Haaland scored two second-half goals for City at Elland Road after Rodri had made the breakthrough shortly before half-time for the reigning champions.

Haaland has 20 Premier League goals in 14 appearances, reaching that mark in seven games fewer than any other player in the competition's history.

In a warning to Premier League defenders, however, Guardiola believes there is still more to come.

"He's an incredible threat for us and always in the right position at the right time, really good," Guardiola said.

"I think he is still not at his best because of the injury. To move his huge body is not easy for him, but as much as he can play minutes, he will be better."

Jesse Marsch credited his former Salzburg striker Erling Haaland's "infectious" hunger for goals after the Manchester City talisman tormented Leeds United at Elland Road.

Haaland made his first Premier League trip to his city of birth a memorable one by claiming a second-half brace after Rodri struck first for the champions, who moved within five points of leaders Arsenal with a 3-1 win.

The 22-year-old has now hit 20 Premier League goals in just 14 appearances – seven fewer than the player who was previously quickest to that mark, former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips.

Having coached Haaland for half a season in Austria, Marsch is acutely aware of the Norwegian's talents and has never seen a player with a greater desire to score goals.

"Haaland has an uncanny ability to know where to be to score goals, and a hunger to score goals like I have never seen before," Marsch told Amazon Prime Video.

"When you have him in your team, it's infectious. You obviously see his quality, but it is a desire that spreads through the team."

Asked whether that hunger made Pep Guardiola's men title favourites, Marsch said: "I don't know, but it makes Haaland one of my favourite players to watch."

Haaland passed up two excellent opportunities to open the scoring before finally punishing Leeds, drawing two one-on-one saves from Illan Meslier before the break.

The striker told Amazon Prime Video he was disappointed not to have scored five times, quotes which were put to Guardiola after the game.

"I'm so upset, I'm so upset," Guardiola joked. "We are delighted with how humble and how grounded he is.

"He's an exceptional guy with his work ethic and professionalism. It's a great treat to our opponents, having him there.

"Wasted opportunities are part of the game. In this stadium, against a team who have been able to play really well against top teams like Arsenal and Liverpool, it's a big compliment for the guys in their first Premier League game after the World Cup."

Haaland has now scored 26 goals in just 20 competitive appearances for City, making him the fastest player to reach 25 goals while playing under Guardiola during the coach's top-flight career.

World Cup winner Lionel Messi was the previous holder of that record, taking eight games more to reach that tally while playing in Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona team.

Erling Haaland said missing the World Cup "triggered" him after reaching 20 Premier League goals in record time during Manchester City's 3-1 win against his hometown club Leeds United. 

Haaland – who was born in Leeds when his father Alf-Inge represented the Yorkshire club – sat out the tournament in Qatar after Norway's failure to qualify.

The striker's place of birth provided the setting for his return to Premier League action on Wednesday, and he made it a memorable outing by tapping home City's second goal before beating Illan Meslier with a powerful finish.

Haaland's double took him to 20 goals in 14 Premier League appearances, meaning he required seven games fewer to reach the milestone than previous record holder Kevin Phillips.

Speaking to Amazon Prime Video after the game, Haaland said watching many of the world's top forwards making an impact in Qatar had irritated him during the international break.

Asked how he spent the World Cup, Haaland said: "Being home, being a bit mad that I didn't play the World Cup and was on my sofa. 

"I was kind of a commentator for the World Cup in my own home, where nobody listens to me!

"I recharged my batteries and to watch people score and win games at the World Cup triggered me and motivated me. It irritates me, as I just said. I'm more hungry than ever."

Haaland has now scored 26 times in all competitions for City, reaching 25 goals under Pep Guardiola in fewer games (20) than any other player during the coach's top-flight career.

But, showing his elite mentality, the 22-year-old was frustrated by his failure to add to his brace.

"I just said it inside, I could have scored five, it's the truth. But we won, that's the most important thing," Haaland said.

"We see Arsenal at the top now and we have to hunt them, so for the win, we are really happy.

"For me as a striker, I could have scored a couple more but that's life. What can I do? I have to practice more."

Haaland's double also saw him overtake his father's tally of 18 Premier League goals (in 181 appearances), and the significance of doing so at Elland Road was not lost on the striker.

"With my father and my mother over there, it's special. I'm happy today, it's a really special moment in my career," he said.

"When I was younger I had a jersey of [former Leeds and Norway midfielder] Eirik Bakke in my room, and also one of my father, so it's really weird. 

"Only in my craziest fantasy could I have thought of scoring at Elland Road for Manchester City against Leeds."

Asked whether he had set himself a target of scoring over 40 league goals this season, Haaland added: "I've got one, but I cannot tell you, you know this! No comment."

Erling Haaland haunted his hometown club with a second-half brace as Manchester City beat Leeds United 3-1 on their return to Premier League action on Wednesday.

Haaland – who was born in Leeds when his father Alf-Inge represented the Whites – missed two good chances as the champions dominated the first half, but Rodri poked them ahead on the stroke of half-time.

The Norwegian striker was not to be denied after the break, tapping home following an error from home captain Liam Cooper before doubling up with a right-footed finish.

That meant Haaland reached 20 Premier League goals in record time on his 14th appearance, helping City move back into second place despite Pascal Struijk's consolation.

City almost went ahead inside 36 seconds, but Illan Meslier got a hand to Haaland's chipped effort after the striker was released Nathan Ake.

The Leeds goalkeeper made another one-on-one save from Haaland on the half-hour mark, before Jack Grealish missed two glaring opportunities to break the deadlock – the second a dire mishit from Rico Lewis' cut-back.

However, the hosts' resistance was finally broken in first-half stoppage time, with Rodri pouncing to bundle home when Meslier denied Riyad Mahrez following a flowing City move.

Leeds were masters of their own downfall five minutes after the restart, as Cooper's sloppy pass allowed Grealish to steal possession and tee up Haaland for a simple finish.

Haaland had his second of the game just past the hour, Meslier failing to keep his powerful right-footed shot out.

Leeds cut the deficit 17 minutes from time when Struijk headed Sam Greenwood's corner beyond Ederson, though City managed to see out the win despite Joe Gelhardt threatening.

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch believes Kalvin Phillips is missing being at Elland Road after making a slow start to his Manchester City career.

Phillips has made just four substitute appearances for City, totalling 54 minutes on the field, since joining from boyhood club Leeds in a reported £42million deal in July.

The 27-year-old has had a number of injury issues, though he recovered from shoulder surgery in time to be part of England's squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

However, just when he appeared ready to make his mark at City, boss Pep Guardiola overlooked Phillips for selection against Liverpool last week for being "overweight".

As Phillips' new team prepare to travel to his old one in the Premier League on Wednesday, Marsch acknowledged both Leeds and Phillips are still adapting five months on.

"We still miss Kalvin," Marsch told reporters. "He came to one of our matches, Fulham, and you could see he felt the pain of losing that match with us after the match.

"He missed being here. Of course he misses being here – he misses the guys, he's got a lot of great friends here, this club is in his heart. 

"Kalvin was such a good player, but for me he was a really likeable, heart-warming person to have around the team.

"He got along with everybody here, with the older players, as well was the younger players, with me as well as the academy coaches.

"The hardest part of replacing Kalvin was making sure that we still had the feeling of what Leeds United is, what it means to be from Leeds, what the history of the club means."

Phillips joined Leeds at the age of 14 and progressed through the academy, before going on to make 234 appearances for the first team, along with his first 23 England caps.

Should the midfielder feature at Elland Road on Wednesday, Marsch expects him to handle the occasion well and potentially use it as a turning point in his City career.

"It felt like he belonged here, that this was his home," Marsch said. "I'm sure that even when he made the decision to leave that was a big part of the difficulty. 

"Coming back, I think he will revisit those emotions and I think it will bring the best out of him. That's the kind of person he is."

Erling Haaland has struggled to shake off a foot injury, but Pep Guardiola expects him to be able to play a starring role for Manchester City at Leeds United on Wednesday.

Haaland has been in sensational form this season, leading the Premier League scoring charts with 18 goals after quickly settling into English football following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund.

However, he suffered an injury against Dortmund in October and has since been dealing with the ramifications of that problem, even with the club season pausing for the World Cup.

"The injury is completely different to last season," Guardiola said. "It was a knock in his foot in Dortmund when we played in the Champions League, and the doctor said that he has damaged his ligament in his foot.

"It's painful, it's not easy to recover, that's why he struggled, but [it is a] muscular issue. Now it is much better, and now we know it is a question of time. Of course, we need him.

"I think he will be ready [for Leeds]. Day by day, he is getting better. As much as he can train, he will get his condition."

City trail Premier League leaders Arsenal by eight points ahead of their game in hand against Leeds, with the defending champions having lost two of their previous five Premier League matches and widely considered not to have yet hit their best form.

Yet Guardiola does not expect to venture into the January transfer market in search of additions to strengthen a title charge.

"I think we are going to finish in this way," he said.

"I don't know what's going to happen, but since I arrived in Abu Dhabi with the sporting director, with Txiki [Begiristain], with everyone, there wasn't any names on the table."

Phil Foden can be "whatever he wants" because of the magic he has at his disposal, according to Manchester City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne.

The England winger is already a four-time Premier League winner, and has helped the national team enjoy deep runs in two major tournaments so far.

At just 22, however, Foden still appears a long way from realising his potential, an assessment with which De Bruyne agrees.

Ahead of a return to top-flight action against Leeds United, De Bruyne said of Foden: "He is still that young boy who just loves to play football. Every time you see a ball running around, he is running to it.

"He is probably one of the biggest talents that I have played with, and his ceiling can be so high. He has already won four Premier Leagues, and he is 22.

"He is doing well for himself. He is very smart as a player. Where there are a lot of tactics, you still have that guy who has that little bit of magic, and he is one of those guys.

"The ceiling is so high. He has already done so much at that age playing for a team like us who have to win all of the time.

"He has already done so much at [his] age. He can do that for the next 15 years if he wants to, and then he can be whatever he wants."

Manchester City must make a flying start on their return to Premier League action after falling behind Arsenal in the title race, says winger Riyad Mahrez. 

City travel to Leeds United for their first league game since the World Cup on Wednesday, trailing leaders Arsenal by five points ahead of the Gunners' clash with West Ham on Monday.

Pep Guardiola's team lost 2-1 to Brentford in their last game in the competition, and are looking to avoid suffering consecutive league defeats for the first time since December 2018.

Mahrez, who was on target as City eliminated Liverpool from the EFL Cup with a 3-2 win on Thursday, is aware of the importance of Wednesday's trip to Elland Road.

"We have to hit the ground running," Mahrez told the club's website. "We are not currently top of the Premier League and that is where we want to be.

"We will take it game by game but our aim is to try to win another title.

"There are lots of strong teams in England who could still win the league so we are not just focused on Arsenal, although they have been very good so far.

"If we want to win the league, we will have to be ready as soon as the league starts again.

"Leeds are a big club and it's a hard place to go, but we know what to expect from them. We will be prepared for it and hopefully we can come away with the three points."

City won their two Premier League fixtures against Leeds last season by an aggregate score of 11-0 – including a 4-0 triumph at Elland Road. The champions are looking to win on consecutive trips to Leeds for the first time since September 2000.

There have been only 15 Premier League matchweeks since the start of the season, but plenty has changed.

Arsenal, rather than Liverpool, look the biggest threat to Manchester City's title defence, while Newcastle United are third ahead of the campaign resuming on Monday.

With the January transfer window also just around the corner, it is time to revisit Stats Perform's ranking of the top 20 most valuable Premier League players, first published back in July.

Inspired by Bill Simmons' NBA trade value list for The Ringer, this is not a ranking of the 20 best Premier League players but perhaps the 20 most difficult to sign.

The following factors have all been considered: how important these players are to their clubs, how replaceable they are, how proven they are, how likely they are to be sold now or in the near future, and how much they would cost if they were to move, influenced by ages and contract situations.

There have been some significant moves since the previous edition...

1. Phil Foden – Manchester City (July rank: 2)

Foden has gone from strength to strength at City this season, excelled for England at the World Cup and, in October, signed a new contract. There is no amount of money in the world that could convince City to sell the 22-year-old.

2. Reece James – Chelsea (12)

James is perhaps Chelsea's equivalent of Foden, their most talented academy graduate and still only 23. He was in excellent form to start the season before sustaining an injury that ruled him out of the World Cup. His big leap is more due to Chelsea's continued commitment to success under new owner Todd Boehly.

3. Erling Haaland – Manchester City (3)

There will always be speculation around Haaland's future, the existence or otherwise of any clauses in his contract and the suggestion he might hope to play for a Real Madrid. But he is not going anywhere just yet and is surely the form player in European football this season.

4. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City (4)

De Bruyne is now 31, making him by some distance the oldest player in the top five, and endured a miserable World Cup. However, the signing of Haaland has allowed De Bruyne to again showcase just how good he can be, thriving playing alongside a dead-eyed finisher.

5. Bukayo Saka – Arsenal (14)

The biggest star of Arsenal's resurgence has been Saka, who then also starred at the World Cup and was highly unfortunate to exit the tournament alongside his England team-mates. There will always be suspicions Arsenal will move on their best players eventually, but they are proving right now he does not need to leave to succeed.

6. Bruno Guimaraes – Newcastle United (15)

Another big jump takes Guimaraes up the rankings, having impressively built on his superb start to his Premier League career. Now an all-action number six, rather than a goal-getting box-to-box star, he has been linked to Real Madrid but appears committed to Newcastle, whose rapid progress should keep him happy.

7. Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United (7)

The Premier League's other big-name Bruno only narrowly trails Guimaraes, with Fernandes set to be United's undisputed main man following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure. It would likely only be United's failure to secure Champions League football that would see Fernandes consider his future.

8. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool (5)

Four of the five Liverpool players on this list have fallen, although Van Dijk remains the Premier League's most valuable centre-back. Whether he is still the division's best at his position could be up for debate, however, with the Reds far less steady in defence this season.

9. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool (6)

Van Dijk's Liverpool team-mate Salah is 30 now and has slipped below his lofty standards at least in league play, scoring only six times so far this season. Liverpool will not rush to move on the winger, but they will be in trouble if this proves to be a sustained decline.

10. Harry Kane – Tottenham (10)

Spurs have seemingly guarded off interest in Kane from elsewhere, with potential suitors City happy with Haaland, but the arrival of Richarlison might also make them less reliant on the England captain than in previous years. He has still scored 12 league goals this season.

11. Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool (1)

Alexander-Arnold has long had detractors outside of Anfield – including Gareth Southgate, who seemingly considers him England's fourth-best right-back. But this is the first time the 24-year-old's Liverpool performances have really been scrutinised. Regardless of Liverpool's stance, rival clubs would likely look elsewhere for a more complete full-back option.

12. Ederson – Manchester City (10)

Ederson slips only due to the number of top players on the rise. He is the most valuable goalkeeper in the Premier League, and City's playing style would have to alter considerably if the Brazil man was ever to depart.

13. Alisson – Liverpool (11)

Alisson is perhaps a better all-round goalkeeper than his Brazil team-mate, but he does not have the City star's same passing range, making him ever so slightly less valuable. In his 2022-23 form, Liverpool will not be looking for a change.

14. Darwin Nunez – Liverpool (17)

Nunez is one of the more difficult Premier League stars to gauge, missing some huge chances and sitting out matches through suspension but still netting at an impressive rate and showing signs of his enormous potential. He looks likely to be Liverpool's main man in years to come.

15. Son Heung-min – Tottenham (8)

Son has scored in only a single Premier League match this season, albeit he netted a hat-trick against Leicester City, and this first real dip in form could eventually see the forward lose his place at Tottenham given the competition for places.

16. William Saliba – Arsenal (new entry)

The first new entry is perhaps the Premier League's outstanding defender this season. Saliba has clearly benefited from three years away from Arsenal on loan, returning as a commanding centre-back, brilliant both on the ball and off it. His limited role for France at Qatar 2022 will take some explaining.

17. Martin Odegaard – Arsenal (new entry)

Another new entry and another key Arsenal man, Odegaard is Mikel Arteta's captain at Emirates Stadium and has started to show he might just fulfil the huge potential that was evident in his play as a teenager. Legendary status would be secured if he led the Gunners to the title.

18. Declan Rice – West Ham (16)

Rice has not quite been at his best for West Ham this season, but more importantly, his contract is winding down. It has been reported the Hammers have accepted their most prized asset will likely leave at the end of the season. Still, the fee should be huge.

19. Sven Botman – Newcastle United (new entry)

Botman, signed from Lille at the start of July, was not even in the Newcastle team when the season began. He is now a guaranteed starter in a side chasing Champions League football and perhaps more. Newcastle have no need to sell a centre-back who is yet to lose a match in black and white.

20. Mason Mount – Chelsea (13)

Committed to repeating the success of the Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea have no need to sell academy product Mount. But he still has not quite yet shown himself to be one of the Premier League's elite talents, netting only twice for a team down in eighth.

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