Premier League player of the season candidates

As last year’s Premier League season was coming to a close, Erling Haaland’s name was dominating ‘Player of the Year’ debates, what about 2024?

As last year’s Premier League season was coming to a close, one name was dominating ‘Player of the Year’ debates on football talk shows, social media, and schools alike: Erling Haaland.


In truth, the Premier League had probably never witnessed a season where the Player of the Year was so glaringly obvious – even Luis Suarez’s mostly spectacular 33 goals of the 2013/2014 season, or Thierry Henry’s 30 goals of Arsenal’s invisible season struggled to match up to Haaland’s iconic demolition of the Premier League last season.


The Norwegian was unstoppable in his debut Premier League season. Any discussions about who the Player of the Season would be were already over by the end of October, as Haaland notched 18 goals in his first 13 Premier League matches.


The Premier League has been more competitive than we’ve been accustomed to in recent years. Manchester City, while still just a point off the top, haven’t quite blown the league away in the manner they so often do under Pep Guardiola.


Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool are often causing Guardiola headaches at the top of the table, and this season, Arsenal have emerged as genuine title contenders, too. With no clear standout team or player term, let’s have a look at those who can justifiably throw their hat into the ring.


Virgil Van Dijk


“They thought I was finished”, the towering Dutchman emotionally told an interviewee after his man-of-the-match performance in Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final win last month.


It was a moment of self-recognition that, despite the criticisms of his consistency and remarks he was past his best last season, he’d been in the shape of his life over the past six months.


Leading a Liverpool side expected to be in a transitional season to a very competitive title charge and looking so elegant, Van Dijk will surely be among this year’s Player of the Season candidates.


His significance to Liverpool was epitomised in their clash against rivals Manchester City last week, when Haaland went one-on-one to score against Van Dijk, only to be expertly marshalled wide, forcing a poor shot from the deadly Norwegian striker.

Even if Van Dijk doesn’t win the Player of the Season award or Liverpool misses out on the title in May, he’ll have solidified himself as one of the very best Premier League defenders of all time.


Phil Foden


We’ve heard about Phil Foden’s ability for years – in 2019,  Pep Guardiola, despite having previously coached Lionel Messi, Andrea Iniesta, and Xavi, labelled the silky Stockport-born forward as “the most talented player I’ve ever seen.”


While Foden had been an almost ever-present vessel in Manchester City’s several league titles and 2023 treble-winning season since it never quite felt like the Manchester City academy starlet had completely realised his potential and justified the early gushing reviews of Pep Guardiola.


That was until this season. For the first time, Foden has been the man Manchester City have relied on in big moments and driven the team forwards, rather than being just another cog in Guardiola’s winning machine.


The forward has 11 goals and 7 assists in his 28 Premier League matches, which probably isn’t a fair reflection of how consistently and skilfully he’s driven a Manchester City team that’s been slightly below par at times this season.


Declan Rice


Arsenal may have raised the eyebrows of sceptics after completing the £100M transfer of Declan Rice from West Ham United last summer, but the Englishman has added serious steel and physicality to an Arsenal team looking to go a couple of steps further than they managed last season.


Arsenal played glistening football at times during the 2022/2023 season, but in a way we sometimes expect of the North London club, they didn’t quite have the prowess and physicality to maintain a title charge to the final weeks of the season.


Despite promising young defenders such as William Saliba and Gabriel, Arsenal felt weak over the pitch at times. That won’t be a problem this time around; the English defensive midfielder has revolutionised the Arsenal midfield, adding strength but also admirations for his passing and ball-carrying ability.


If Arsenal are to lift the Premier League trophy in May, last summer’s acquisition of Declan Rice would have had played a big part to in the Gunner’s success.


Other Candidates


In addition to the three leading candidates above, the current Directors’ Box poll has suggested Haaland, Watkins, Salah, Odegaard, De Bruyne and Saka as other strong options.

Vote now on Directors’ Box.