The summer transfer window is the golden opportunity for Premier League managers to delve into the depths of the transfer market to pick out that next star player, the next goal machine and, for some, the next great shot stopper.
No doubt there will be millions spent in the window as clubs look to progress higher up the Premier League table, but the next fan favorite for numerous clubs could already be in the clubs ranks. Here are 10 youth players who are set to make an impact in the 2013/2014 season.
1. Jack Butland – Stoke City
Jack Butland is a prospect of the Birmingham City youth academy and had spent his entire career with the Midlands club before signing for Stoke City in the 2013 January transfer window. He was loaned back to Birmingham for the remainder of the season but will come into the 2013/14 EPL season battling for the number one jersey.
At 6’5”, he has the height and the reflexes to be a top keeper for years to come. Despite only being 20 years old, he has 70 career club appearances and has represented England at every level, including becoming the youngest ever English Goalkeeper to start for England.
What makes him stand out is his composure. Cool, calm and collected, he rarely fluffs his lines and is always in communication with his back four. If Stoke move Asmir Begovic, he will get his chance to shine on the Premier League stage.
2. Adam Campbell – Newcastle United
This time it’s another Englishman on the list of top prospects. It’s the fiery Newcastle striker Adam Campbell. Alan Pardew has told the local media that Campbell is quite possibly the best finisher at the club and that next season he will get some chances in the first team.
Campbell, who is from the world-famous Wallsend Boys Club that produced Alan Shearer, has been in the Newcastle United Academy since the age of 10. He has represented England at U16, U17 and U19 levels, and was selected in the squad for the U20 World Cup.
The striker is lightning quick and, at his best, plays off the last man — a playing style similar to a young Michael Owen.
3. Jordan Spence – West Ham United
Jordan Spence is a big powerful centre-half who fits the Sam Allardyce mould. A no nonsense defender, Spence has the experience at all levels of the English pyramid.
The defender excelled at youth level in the national system. After playing in the U16, U17, U18, U19 and U21 England teams, he is ready to take the next step and compete in the Premier League.
However, he will have a tough task getting into the first team. If given an opportunity, he has the talent and versatility to see a considerable amount of game time in 2013/14.
4. Samir Carruthers – Aston Villa
I predict Samir Carruthers will be the next footballer to break through the successful Aston Villa academy. The young Irish winger is already capped at U21 level internationally.
Originally from Arsenal, the tricky winger has made three EPL appearances already, but next season should be where he makes his name. During the 2013 Next Generation tournament, he captained his side to victory against Chelsea in the final.
Each season, the winger has scored double-digit goals at every level he has played. Plus he’s a creative force, something Villa were lacking a lot during the 2012/13 season.
5. Nathan Aké – Chelsea
Nathan Aké made his debut late last season, and will look to push on for next season. The Dutchman only signed for Chelsea in 2011 after four years at Feyenoord . The defender has a bright future, having captained both the Dutch U17’s and U19’s.
Chelsea in the last year or two have struggled defensively and, with John Terry reaching the twilight of his career, now is the time for someone to step up in his place. Aké has the talent and leadership skills to compete at the EPL stage.
6. Robbie Brady – Hull City
The former Manchester United product has shone during his loan spells with newly promoted Hull City before making the move permanent in the 2013 January transfer window. Winger Robbie Brady has already made 74 appearances for Hull, but will make his Premier League debut in 2013/14.
Brady has pace and trickery, and will have opportunities to showcase his talents on the grandest stage of all next season.
Internationally, the left winger has competed at every level and is now a full Irish International. He holds the record for most goals at the U21 level, but needs to improve his scoring prowess at club level.
7. Serge Gnabry – Arsenal
A German entrant into my top ten prospects, but one I am positive will make an impact in the coming years. Gnabry has competed at U16, U17 and U18 levels, and has already competed for Arsenal in the Champions League.
The former sprinter has pace to burn, and is often seen on the wing, but is equally capable of playing in the middle of the park. He could turn out to be the best player on this list, but it may be too early for him next season, and he may go on loan to a Championship club.
8. Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur
With Jermain Defoe reaching the end of his career, and Emmanuel Adebayor rarely showing the ability that we all know he possesses, it could force Andres Villas-Boas into playing the youngster Harry Kane next season.
Kane is match ready, having spent the majority of his last three seasons on loan with lower league sides. Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City have all played host to Kane in the last few years.
Most of his experience has come in the Championship, and now is the time for him to step up and compete at Spurs. Kane has represented England at both U17 and U19 levels, and will be looking to move up into the U21 fold next season.
9. Darnel Situ – Swansea City
Powerful centre-back Darnel Situ should break into the first team this year and shine for Swansea City. The French standout has captained his side at every international level up to U21. His leadership skills are exceptional, and even at a young age he will have the respect of his peers.
Situ is a physical footballer, and will fit in well with the likes of Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor in the back four for the Swans.
10. Luke Shaw – Southampton
Luke Shaw is another product following in the footsteps of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after coming through the Southampton youth academy.
It is unknown as to whether the full back will still be at Southampton when the season rolls around after huge interest from the top 6 clubs in the EPL. He made 29 appearances last season for Southampton and will look to continue his development in 2013/14.
Shaw has represented England at both U16 and U17 levels.