The opening fixtures of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign are just a matter of weeks away and we look ahead to who may step up and be the star performers of the new season.

I've narrowed it down to three, but will you agree?

Shinji Kagawa | Manchester United

The Japanese playmaker moved to Manchester during last year's summer transfer window in a deal worth £12m from Borussia Dortmund.

The 24-year-old arrived with a very high reputation from his previous Bundesliga admirers after helping Dortmund win the Bundesliga title and German Cup, providing ten assists and 17 goals including the opener against Bayern Munich in the German Cup final.

However, Kagawa struggled to gain consistency to his form and found it difficult to nail down a place in the starting XI at Old Trafford. Although one game in particular were we witnessed a glimpse of what may be to come last season was when Norwich found themselves on the wrong side of a 4-0 hammering at the Theatre of Dreams.

The Japan international bagged a hat-trick in a sensational performance in which he expressed his talent and flair on the pitch. Kagawa's creative instinct will be vital if his side are to retain the Premier League title as David Moyes has seemingly failed in his pursuit to add Cesc Fabregas to his squad in order to replace Paul Scholes.

Kagawa obtained a very high pass success rate, 89.7% of 834 attempted passes from the former Dortmund man found their target. The champions may rely on this asset in their attacking play and therefore the midfield maestro will want to push on from his performances last season.

Philippe Coutinho | Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers' Brazilian acquisition provided a breath of fresh air, with his enthusiastic attacking play in the second half of the 2012/13 season.

The 21-year-old arrived to Anfield from Inter Milan in January and made an instant impact at Merseyside. The forward has attracted major plaudits during his career in England so far.

Rodgers went as far as saying he'd pay money to watch the young man he lured from the San Siro in a deal worth just £8.5m.

"Coutinho had me up off my seat," he said. "He's a player you would pay money to watch because he's just a delight on the ball."

If Liverpool's aspirations of knocking on the door of the top four are to materialise, Coutinho will play a massive part in doing so. The Brazilian will look to add to his three goals and five assists from his 13 appearances last campaign and many back him to become the Premier League's next big star.

Liverpool's number ten will be given further motivation as he will want to pounce on the opportunity to play in next year's World Cup for the home nation Brazil.

Edin Dzeko | Manchester City

The Bosnian striker moved to the Etihad Stadium in a blockbuster deal for £27.5m back in 2011.

This transfer was on the back of Dzeko winning the Bundesliga title, Bundesliga Players' Footballer of the Year award and being named Bosnian Footballer of the Year for 2009 and 2010, after attracting a lot of attention during his time at Wolfsburg.

However, Dzeko has yet to display the prolific talent that granted him a move to Manchester and the very sizeable transfer fee which was required for Wolfsburg to sell.

Although with the departures of Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez to Serie A, new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has stated that Dzeko will be given first-team opportunities despite competition from team-mates Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo.

The Bosnian 27-year-old has been subject of mass speculation linking him with an exit from Eastlands, however after a strong pre-season for the Sky Blues it seems that Dzeko is staying where he is. City will be desperate to win back the Premier League title after watching their closest rivals, Manchester United, triumph last season and this season may prove make or break for Dzeko's career at the Etihad.

 

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Topics:
#Premier League
#Edin Dzeko
#Shinji Kagawa
#Football
#Philippe Coutinho