1. WAYNE ROONEY
The ongoing transfer saga of Rooney has created a spectacular backdrop for the start of the season. He will likely stay with Manchester United, who maintain he is not for sale. There will be an added responsibility on Rooney to deliver for the Red Devils this season due to the transitional period of the first managerial change in 27 years at Old Trafford. Given his turbulent off-season and the changing of the guard, it could be his most difficult season yet.
2. JUAN MATA
Ten to watch
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. Photo: Reuters
The return of Jose Mourinho puts Chelsea as one of the favourites to win the league this season and the Spanish attacking midfielder will be a central figure to their title charge. Few players can unlock an opponents’ defence with the effortless ease of Mata while also providing such spectacular finishes.
3. STEVAN JOVETIC
Manchester City have made a significant gamble by selling troubled yet proven goal scorer Carlos Tevez to Juventus and replacing him with the former Fiorentina striker . The 23-year-old has big boots to fill and the club’s owners will want to see an immediate return on the $37 million they invested. A very classy forward but by no means prolific.
4. GARETH BALE
His days at Tottenham may be numbered but not since Cristiano Ronaldo’s final season at Manchester United has a player captured the imagination of Premier League fans as Bale has. If he stays and repeats his success of last season, he could etch his name into the history books as one of the league’s greatest players.
5. MILE JEDINAK
He may not be one of the biggest names but he will bear one of the heaviest burdens. The only Australian assured of a starting spot this season will also carry Crystal Palace’s hopes of surviving the trapdoor. Quickly established a reputation as a fierce competitor and became a fan favourite with the club despite only moving there in 2011.
6. EMANUELE GIACCHERINI
In the space of five years, Giaccherini went from playing fifth-tier football to starting for the Italian national team. He will make his Premier League debut this weekend for Sunderland. The winger struggled to establish himself at Juventus but showcased his talent, flair and execution during the recent Confederations Cup in Brazil.
7. CHRISTIAN BENTEKE
There wasn’t much for Aston Villa to celebrate last season apart from the goal-scoring heroics of Benteke. The Congolese-born Belgian striker hit the net 19 times to steer the Birmingham club away from relegation. Strong, fast and technically gifted, Benteke has already caught the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs
A $51 million price tag carries a great deal of expectation and Fernandinho will have to hit the ground running at Manchester City. The Brazilian midfielder was lured away from cashed-up Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk to provide a link between City’s back line and strikers. A superb passing range, high work rate and an eye for goal.
9. ROBERTO SOLDADO
The expected departure of Gareth Bale from White Hart Lane could expose a void in Tottenham’s attack but it will be a familiar situation for Soldado. The Spaniard arrived at Valencia in the same situation when he replaced David Villa. He flourished under pressure and will likely repeat that feat. He has already set himself a target of 20 goals.
10. LUIS SUAREZ
Whether he stays or goes, all eyes will be on the fleet-footed Uruguayan. Suarez has not minced his words about his desire to leave Anfield but, if Liverpool stand their ground, the striker may be forced to stay. He hits the headlines as much as he hits the back of the net, and will provide much entertainment this season.