Five Players With Something To Prove In The 2017/18 Season

Five Players With Something To Prove In The 2017/18 Season
Jul 28, 2017

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Every season, players all over the world have something to prove. Players have to prove themselves worthy of playing time week in, week out, to both their manager and their fans. Not all players are under the same amount of pressure to prove themselves though. Certain players throughout Europe are under an immense amount of pressure to live up to the high expectations that are set for them each and every year. Here are five players with something to prove in the 2017/18 season.

Paul Pogba:

Last summer, the French midfielder completed a £89m move to Manchester United. When Pogba moved, he was the most expensive player in the world, and being the world’s most expensive player brings plenty of expectations for the then 23-year-old superstar. The 2016/17 campaign was a roller coaster for the France international, with many highs, and many lows.

In his first few months at the club, Pogba did not impress as much as many hoped he would have. Everything the midfielder did was analysed, and people jumped on every opportunity to criticise him. Despite a strong ending to the season, the French superstar has failed to assert himself as a consensus top five midfielder in the world, which is a big problem when you remember his price tag.

Over the course of the 2017-18 campaign, Pogba needs to assert himself as a surefire top five midfielder in the world. The 24-year-old star needs to do this to justify the massive amount of money that was spent on him last August. At this moment, some would argue he already is a top five midfielder in the world, but many others would disagree, arguing that he’s still a way off the likes of Modric, Kroos, Vidal, and Verratti.

For Pogba to prove he is worth the staggering £89m United spent on him, he needs to prove to the world that he belongs in the same conversation as the four players that we just mentioned. Until United’s number 6 makes it common knowledge that he’s a top five midfielder in the world, he will always be living in the shadow of his price tag.

Kylian Mbappé:

Kylian Mbappé burst onto the scene last season, scoring 26 goals in 40 appearances for Monaco. Five of those goals coming in six Champions Knockout stage appearances, as the club advanced all the way to the semi-final for the second time in their history. Over the entire summer, massive clubs such as Real Madrid have been rumoured to have an interest in signing the 18-year-old superstar. Clubs have reportedly been willing to pay up to £160m for Monaco’s star man, but Mbappé is expected to stay at Monaco for next season.

The France international needs to prove to the world that last season was not a fluke. Mbappé needs to continue to score goals at will to prove he’s the real deal to the world, and more importantly to secure a place on the French national team for the World Cup next summer.  If the young superstar continues to score goals for fun this season, he’s setting himself up for a massive move next summer, and a great future. However, if the 18-year-old fails to live up to his very lofty expectations for this upcoming season, clubs such as Real Madrid may lose interest and move on to other targets.

Andrés Iniesta:

Just over a year or two ago, Iniesta was regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world. A world class midfielder. However, now going into the 2017/18 season, many people believe that Iniesta is past his best days at age 33, and is no longer world class. Some people even go as far to say that Barcelona should be out looking for someone to replace the Spanish midfielder this summer.

Not many competitors ever want to admit that they are past their best days, and Andrés Iniesta is definitely not one of the people who will admit it. The 2010 World Cup winner should be as motivated as ever this season to prove that he can still be a vital cog in Barcelona’s midfielder, and prove to people that he still deserves a place in the starting XI at the Nou Camp. No player ever wants to be replaced, and feel forced into retirement or a move elsewhere, and Iniesta will be determined to make sure he isn’t pushed out of the club, and that he leaves on his own terms. It’s now or never for the 33-year-old to prove he’s still one of the best in the world at what he does.

RB Leipzig’s Trio:

This is a bit of a different one, but they may be the three players with the most to prove in the Bundesliga. RB Leipzig finished second in the German Bundesliga in their first season in the first division. This unbelievable season was driven by Leipzig’s trio of stars, Timo Werner, Emil Forsberg, and Naby Keïta. Leipzig’s core of young, and unproven players is spearheaded by these three. All three were massively unproven coming into this past season, and are still very unproven.

Werner scored 13 goals in three seasons for Stuttgart before the striker exploded for 21 goals in 31 appearances this past season. Forsberg had never played in any of Europe’s top five leagues before this season. However, in his first season in one of the top leagues, he provided 19 assists in the league, the most in Europe. Lastly, Keïta has only been a pro since 2012 and had also never played in one of Europe’s top leagues before being one of Leipzig’s most influential players this season. From the 22-year-old star’s ability to win the ball back, to his creative genius, to his eye for the back of the net, he’s one of the world’s best talents.

Next season will be a massive test for these three players, as all look set to stay. The only one of the three who may move elsewhere is Keïta, but Leipzig seem unwilling to sell, so it appears he should be back with the club this season. All three players will be experiencing their first taste of the Champions League together, and on such a massive stage, they will have to prove to the world that they have what it takes to compete with the best. They will have to prove that they have what it takes to not only lead a team domestically but continentally too. It was extremely interesting to watch these three young superstars and RB Leipzig compete with some of the biggest clubs in the world in the Champions League, while also trying to dethrone Bayern Munich domestically.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu:

February 2, 2017, Hakan Çalhanoğlu was suspended for four months because of an incident that occurred in 2011. Up to that point of the season, the Turkish star had six goals and five assists to his name. Now, Çalhanoğlu has moved onto Milan, and some people may have forgotten how good he really is.

At Milan, the 23-year-old attacker will have a fresh start, with a new club, in a new country, in a new league. Çalhanoğlu is one of many signings that the Italian giants have made this summer, the Turkey international being brought in to be the club’s main source of creativity. With Milan back in the Europa League, Çalhanoğlu will have a chance to showcase his talents both domestically and continentally. He will have the opportunity to remind people all over Europe of how good he is.

Milan’s new number 10 will have to prove to people that four extra months away from football will not affect his game in a negative way. Çalhanoğlu will have to show that he can return to football and continue playing at a high level immediately. If he’s not able to achieve that, his suspension will have a major effect on him and his career. However, if the Turkish attacker can return to the level of play he was at when he left the game, it will just be remembered as a small bump in the road for a very good player.

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