Football Expert & Columnist
Jamie Redknapp's Premier League ones to watch
The Sky Sports expert picks out a player to watch at each Premier League club this season...
Last Updated: 15/08/13 10:56am
Jack Wilshere - Arsenal will be desperate to keep him fit because he's such an important player for them. He has a lot of qualities - he can dribble, he sees that pass - and his all-round ability is key if Arsenal want to stay in the top four. There's a stat around that says they win more games when he doesn't play but Arsene Wenger will be hoping he can get his fitness right - which Jack has struggled with over the last two years - and Wilshere, along with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, can have a really good season.
Christian Benteke - Benteke is the obvious choice. He and Matthew Lowton were the stand out players for Villa last season. I'm a big fan of Lowton and he can get himself in the England squad if he carries on - but Benteke is the man who is vital to them. He can score with his head, lead the line and has real power. The fact they kept him is brilliant news for them - I thought he was a certainty to go - and he will really boost Villa, after scoring 19 goals in the Premier League last season.
Craig Bellamy - Bellamy will be important on and off the field for Cardiff. He's played in the Premier League before and he'll help the players who haven't. He'll also make a nuisance of himself on the pitch, while Steven Caulker, an £8m signing from Tottenham is a good acquisition.
Eden Hazard - Hazard is the Chelsea player to watch for me this season. He has got so much ability and he proved that at times last year. Jose Mourinho will be demanding of him and want him to do a bit more defensively but he can't forget Hazard plays the game in a certain way and is a matchwinner. He's a skilful player and you've got to let him go and work his magic. He's a game changer.
Dwight Gayle - Gayle is a £6m signing from Peterborough and he's certainly got something about him. He's raw, he's got pace and he will score goals. Of course he needs opportunities and for him the Premier League is unknown territory but Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert have proved if you score goals at a lower level you can score in the Premier League. If they are to stay up, he'll keep them up with his goals.
Ross Barkley - The 19-year-old has threatened to make the breakthrough in the last couple of years and I think this will be his year under Roberto Martinez. I'm a big fan. He moves effortlessly with the ball, he can spot a pass and the style Martinez likes to play will suit him well. He could have a big season and even break into the England squad.
Adel Taarabt - Taarabt is on loan from QPR and, although Dimitar Berbatov would be the obvious choice as a key player for Fulham, I'm interested to see how Taarabt gets on. He wants to play in the Premier League and he's certainly got the talent - he's got ability to die for. But if he's going to be a success this year Martin Jol needs to get him fit. The boy has got genius feet but he just doesn't do it regularly enough - maybe a change of club is what he needed.
George Boyd - I think Hull will be disappointed with the number of players they've got in so far this summer but George Boyd is a good player and a good signing from Peterborough. He did a great job for Hull last season on loan and he's got pace and can run with the ball - and if you've got that in your locker you can be a success in the Premier League. He could be their most important player. Tom Huddlestone has also joined them and he's a lovely footballer as well.
Philippe Coutinho - Coutinho is going to have a good season. When he signed in January he showed glimpses of his quality and it looks like he's got himself a bit stronger in pre-season. He's a match winner, he can thread the ball through the eye of a needle and he has the ability to conjure up something special. Luis Suarez is obviously going to miss the first six games so who knows what is going to happen there - but Coutinho could have a big season.
Fernandinho - City have signed a number of players, including Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo - but the player they've need over the last couple of years is someone to turn defence into attack in midfield. And Fernandinho can do that. He cost a lot of money (£30m from Shakhtar Donetsk) but he will be desperate to have a good season and force his way into the Brazil team ahead of the World Cup next summer. He's been amazing for Shakhtar and he's a real powerhouse. I'm expecting big things from him this year and hopefully he won't let me down.
Robin van Persie - Van Persie is the most important player for Manchester United. People are writing them off but people forget they've got the best forward in the country. He won them the title last year; he gave them the edge. He's still there now and he's still fit - and he showed in the Community Shield he's the most important man for them. With him in their side they'll believe they can win the title.
Loic Remy - Remy can have a big season if he stays fit. He's got all the ability in the world and scored some brilliant goals for QPR last year. He should get some good service at Newcastle and will be aiming to impress during his loan spell. I reckon the Geordies will really take to him.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel - Norwich have focused on strengthening their forward area, which is perhaps where they were lacking a bit last season. Grant Holt did a great job for them but he lacked a bit of pace, while new signing Van Wolfswinkel has a brilliant scoring record and should be a great signing. Gary Hooper has also come in and he's a goalscorer, too. Chris Hughton will be hoping he gets at least 25 goals from those two, because that would be enough to keep them in the Premier League.
Victor Wanyama - Southampton have signed Wanyama from Celtic for £12.5m and he's going to be a key man for them this season. He's a real monster, a powerful player and a really good signing. I liked him at Celtic and with him, and the rest of the squad Mauricio Pochettino is building at Southampton I think they can finish in the top 10 this year. Pochettino has had a full pre-season with them and it will be interesting to see if he can lead Saints into the top half of the table.
Ryan Shawcross - Stoke have got Juan Agudelo arriving on January 1 from New England Revolution and he'll be a good signing. He's very powerful and has impressed me when I've seen him in action for USA. But, for me, the most important player for Stoke will be Ryan Shawcross. Everyone will be looking at them to see how they change from how they were under Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes will be looking for a quick start - but I feel it could be a tough season for them. They've not got the players in they'd have liked but Shawcross has been a huge part of their success, which has been built on their defence, and they'll need him to perform.
Emanuele Giaccherini Giaccherini is a good player. I saw him play in the Confederations Cup and it was a surprise he went to Sunderland from Juventus. But Paolo Di Canio clearly had an influence and he'll hope the skilful, jinking attacker can have a big impact. He's the sort of player who is integral to what Di Canio is trying to do there - but the team as a whole will need some good results early on, or the pressure will be on.
Wilfried Bony - I like Bony a lot. He scored 31 from 30 games in the Dutch league last season and, although that's not at the same level as the Premier League, I still expect him to do well. He's reminiscent of Yakubu - he's strong, powerful and has an eye for goal in the box. I reckon he could get bundles of goals and playing alongside Michu, those two should get 25 between them at least.
Roberto Soldado - Paulinho plays every game for Brazil and is going to be a great player for Spurs - but I'm going for Soldado as their key man. He's 28 years of age and not a typical Daniel Levy signing but he's a goalscorer and if he gets a good supply from Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale - if he stays - he could score the goals to get them into the top four. I still expect Spurs to sign three or four more and probably sell three or four before the window closes, though.
West Bromwich Albion
Nicolas Anelka - West Brom's problem this season is filling the hole left by Romelu Lukaku. Matej Vydra was a revelation for Watford last year and they'll be hoping he can replicate that form in the Premier League but I'm going to name Anelka as the one to watch at the Hawthorns. I had a spell with him at Liverpool and, although he's not always everyone's favourite, I liked him and he has star quality. He's a very good footballer and no doubt he'll get goals for West Brom.
West Ham United
Stewart Downing - West Ham aren't everyone's cup of tea because they are very direct at times but teams will find it hard going there this year with Downing and Matt Jarvis whipping in crosses for Andy Carroll. Carroll should be licking his lips because there will be more crosses coming in at West Ham than any other club in the country. I've always liked Downing; he's a good player. There was a stigma with him at Liverpool where people thought he didn't create enough goals after going there with a big price tag but West Ham might suit him perfectly. He's got pace, can run with the ball from deep and he can cross - and that's what Sam Allardyce will want him to do.
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