A big season for... Mesut Ozil, Jose Fonte, Riyad Mahrez and more
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 03/08/17 11:16pm
The new Premier League season is drawing closer and this week we are examining which players have a point to prove in 2017/18. In the second of our five-part series we pick out five men in the spotlight, from Riyad Mahrez to Jose Fonte...
Mahrez contributed 17 goals and 10 assists in Leicester's unlikely title triumph two seasons ago, but failed to replicate those numbers last time around as the Foxes struggled for much of the campaign.
The twinkle-toed winger did finally come to life after Craig Shakespeare had replaced Claudio Ranieri at the King Power in February, scoring six Premier League goals in total, and he will need to maintain that kind of form next season if he reportedly does harbour ambitions of joining Arsenal at some point in the future.
Salah is back in the Premier League after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp decided to splash out an eyebrow-raising £34m to lure the forward from Roma. The Reds boss wanted the player after he recorded an impressive 19 goals and 15 assists in 41 matches in all competitions for the Giallorossi last season.
However, English audiences may still need convincing about Salah's qualities after his brief stint with Chelsea three years ago yielded just two Premier League goals, before the Egyptian was then loaned out to Fiorentina.
After starting last season as a member of Arsenal's back four, Chambers found himself shipped out on a season-long loan to Middlesbrough after just one game. However, despite the Teessiders going on to suffer relegation, Chambers' solid defensive displays earned him praise from Arsene Wenger.
Having now returned to north London, though, the promising 22-year-old has a chance to finally nail down a regular starting berth in the Gunners' back line and build on the further promise he showed as part of the England Under-21 team that made it to the European Championship semi-finals this summer.
Whether Ozil wants to extend his stay at Arsenal beyond the end of his current deal - which expires in just 12 months' time - or move to another big-name club, his displays next season will need to improve significantly.
The silky-smooth German, who joined the Gunners from Real Madrid for a whopping £42.5m four years ago, must also address the charge that he too often goes missing in the important games. All of which makes the upcoming campaign a vital one for the playmaker.
The West Ham centre-back made his £8m move from Southampton in January but endured a difficult start to his career with the Irons, conceding a penalty in a 4-0 home defeat to Manchester City on his debut and winning only one of his first nine games.
Fonte was on a high in 2016 as part of Portugal's European Championship winning side and the challenge now is to finish 2017 strongly. Given that he turns 34 later this year, the defender needs to deliver soon if his signing is to be viewed as a success.