Let’s face it – although the current domestic season is yet to reach its final curtain-call, the 2015/16 campaign has so far proven to be an absolutely captivating, dramatic and unpredictable affair for all Premier League onlookers
Yet whilst the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy of Leicester City and West Ham’s recently acquired Dimitri Payet, as well as both Harry Kane and Dele Alli down at Tottenham Hotspur this season, clearly warrant their place among the PFA Player of the Year candidates, we’ve decided to take a look at several – albeit slightly subtler options – who possibly deserve to be talked about in the scrap for the the prestigious accolade.
So then, without further ado – here are five distinct outsiders for 2015/16’s hotly anticipated award. From some of last summer’s most impressive signings, to a selection of old favourites who seemingly aren’t looking to leave the Premier League spotlight any time soon, there are a few candidates…
Although each of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy clearly deserve the recent plaudits that have come their way in 2015/16, N’Golo Kante is another in-form Leicester City star who must also receive his fair share of consideration.
The former Boulogne and Caen man has certainly proven a star performer for Claudio Ranieri’s impressive outfit so far this season, doing an under-appreciated job in midfield. He arrived at the King Power Stadium on the back of a rather modest fee, and simply hasn’t looked back since first taking to the turf, giving everything for the cause.
Via his tough tackling approach in the middle of the park and never-say-die attitude every 90 minutes, this recently capped France international is one player many Premier League sides would simply love to have on board for the 2016/17 campaign.
Another determined centre-midfielder to make his way onto this particular list comes in the form of West Ham’s loyal and reliable captain, Mark Noble. The 28-year-old Englishman – who is yet to make his way into Roy Hodgson’s international plans – has been a solid performer for Slaven Bilic’s outfit this season, and seems to be in the form of his life under the Hammers’ new Croatian tactician.
Although Noble has never been blessed with the greatest level of pace across the park, everything the current West Ham man lacks in acceleration and technicality, he more than makes up for via his intelligent style of play with the ball at his feet and sheer determination for the cause.
England’s loss has seemingly proven West Ham’s gain throughout Noble’s Premier League career thus far, but seeing as Hodgson will most likely fail to include the 28-year-old midfielder at EURO 2016 this summer, it remains somewhat hard to envisage Noble ever being considered for the PFA Player of the Year vote in the cold light of day.
Whilst Roberto Martinez and Everton have clearly failed to set the Premier League alight for the most part this season, one player who has nonetheless failed to disappoint down at Goodison Park has to be a certain Romelu Lukaku.
The towering Belgian front-man has continued his fine goalscoring form this term, whilst serving to frustrate opposing defenders time and time again on the back of his overall game inside the final third. Lukaku has therefore sounded himself out as one of the most impressive young strikers in the whole of world football once again, regardless of Everton’s poor season.
Had Chelsea still been able to call the 22-year-old front-man theirs, then perhaps the Stamford Bridge faithful wouldn’t have witnessed such a dire domestic campaign from their side!
Despite the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane rightfully stealing much of the spotlight down at White Hart Lane this term on the back of their increasingly impressive exploits in front of goal, Tottenham Hotspur have also presented themselves as a distinctly solid defensive unit in 2015/16 – and summer signing, Toby Alderweireld, simply has a great deal to do with that.
The Belgian international has worked wonders in front of the Spurs faithful with countryman Jan Vertonghen alongside him this term, which hasn’t come as much of a surprise considering how well the 27-year-old defender had previously plied his trade in the Premier League for Ronald Koeman’s determined Southampton outfit.
Spurs nonetheless owe a fair amount to their extremely cohesive and ever organised back-line this season, for without the likes of Alderweireld and co. in place to keep things steady at the back, they wouldn’t still be sitting among the upper echelons of the Premier League.
Perhaps the most controversial name to possibly stake their claim among this particular list arrives in the shape of Arsenal’s widely admired – yet sometimes equally ineffective – midfield maestro, Mesut Ozil.
The German World Cup winner certainly hasn’t impressed across the entire duration of the campaign thus far it must be said, but as the 27-year-old Gunners star nonetheless remains right at the very top of the Premier League’s individual assist table at this particular stage in the proceedings, he must therefore receive his fair share of credit.
However, if the former Real Madrid playmaker had managed to have a greater influence within some of Arsenal’s most significant matches, perhaps Arsene Wenger’s side would still be considering themselves genuine title contenders as opposed to regular old top four hopefuls.