Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town are preparing for the new Premier League season, after the trio secured top-flight football with promotion from the second tier.
Burnley were crowned winners of the Championship and return with renewed style and intent under the management of Vincent Kompany, while Sheffield United will hope to consolidate as a top tier team after two seasons away.
Meanwhile, Luton are a top-flight side for the first time in the Premier League era after a remarkable rise from near extinction and non-league football across the last decade.
As each prepare for the Premier League season, we’ve chosen five promoted players to keep an eye on in 2023/24.
Coming to the #PL in 2023/24…
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 27, 2023
Five promoted players to watch out for in 2023/24.
Josh Cullen – Burnley
Once a highly-rated product of the West Ham academy, Cullen made just three Premier League appearances for the Hammers before taking an unorthodox route back to England’s top division.
After a succession of loan spells he signed for Anderlecht on a permanent deal in 2020, where he established himself as a crucial cog in Vincent Kompany’s team. The midfielder’s form across two seasons in Belgium saw Cullen become a regular with the Republic of Ireland at international level, where he won the nation’s Senior Player of the Year award in 2021.
Players’ Player of the Season 🏅
Fans Player of the Season 🏅
Josh Cullen, what an incredible player 🔥 pic.twitter.com/V3IIY5GXRb
— Burnley FC 🏆 (@BurnleyOfficial) May 9, 2023
He became one of Kompany’s first signings after the ex-Manchester City captain took charge of Burnley last summer and proved to be an instant hit at Turf Moor. The 26-year-old was named as Burnley’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season for the 2022/23 campaign after an instrumental role in the club’s promotion campaign.
Cullen made 43 league appearances, scoring once and registering four assists. A near ever-present for a Clarets team who proved a cut above the Championship competition, the midfielder will be keen to prove he belongs at Premier League level.
Anel Ahmedhodzic – Sheffield United
Anel Ahmedhodzic is a name that has been familiar to fans of the Football Manager franchise for some time, with the centre-back an often in-game bargain with a high ceiling for development.
Ahmedhodzic has shown the real-life version also has much to offer during a brilliant debut season at Sheffield United.
Signed from Bordeaux in a deal worth £4m, the Bosnian defender was named in the Championship Team of the Season after a campaign that saw the 24-year-old make 40 appearances in all competitions and score seven goals.
The Bosnian rises highest! 💥
Anel Ahmedhodžić nets our first goal against Sunderland last night. pic.twitter.com/SVRfoEPHjN
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) August 18, 2022
Clubs across Europe’s top five leagues are understood to have expressed interest in the defender, but Ahmedhodzic has pledged his immediate future to Paul Heckingbottom’ side.
“There is a lot of interest. I can’t reveal anything, but they are clubs from the Big Five [leagues in Europe],” Ahmedhodzic said in an interview with N1.
“It would be foolish to leave Sheffield United. I fought all season to bring the club to the Premier League. It wouldn’t be wise to leave now. Everything can change.”
Carlton Morris – Luton Town
Carlton Morris perhaps epitomises the unlikely rise of Luton Town.
The Hatters have become the first team to rise from non-league to the Premier League, with Luton in the fifth-tier as recently as 2013/14. Since then it has been an upward curve, culminating in the club’s play-off final win over Coventry City in May.
Luton’s achievement has been done on a fraction of the budgets elsewhere in the second tier, with the arrival of forward Morris from Barnsley last summer the club’s record arrival at just £1.3m.
Composure levels 💯
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) October 19, 2022
The 27-year-old’s nomadic career included eight loan spells away from first club Norwich, before two productive seasons at Barnsley attracted Luton’s recruitment team. Morris, however, had never scored more than eight goals in a league campaign, but exploded last season with a 20-goal return to fire Luton to promotion.
The forward was the inspiration behind Luton’s success and also registered seven assists, form which has given the well-travelled forward a Premier League opportunity. Luton’s squad is packed full of players who perhaps never felt that opportunity would come, but each now have a chance to test themselves against England’s elite.
Anass Zaroury – Burnley
Vincent Kompany’s connections saw Burnley look to Europe for new additions last summer, with Anass Zaroury one of several gems unearthed from the Belgian Pro League. The Moroccan signed from Charleroi for a fee of around £3.5million and has proven to be exceptional value.
The winger scored seven league goals and laid on five assists as Burnley cantered to the Championship title, earning promotion back into the Premier League with a record seven games to spare.
Zaroury’s eye-catching brand of football has made the 22-year-old a fans’ favourite at Turf Moor, with the fleet-footed star the sort of talent not often seen in Claret and Blue in recent seasons.
His performances earned Zaroury inclusion in the Morocco squad as the Atlas Lions became the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals last winter and he will hope regular exposure to Premier League football can lead to a prominent role with the national side.
Zaroury demonstrated what he is capable of against top-level opposition with a brilliant brace as Burnley dumped Bournemouth out of the FA Cup in January.
Iliman Ndiaye – Sheffield United
Iliman Ndiaye was named in the Championship Team of the Season and as the Blades’ Player of the Year last term, following an outstanding individual campaign.
Ndiaye has had a rapid rise from grassroots football to World Cup level in less than four years, with the midfielder having featured for Sunday League side Rising Ballers having found himself on the fringes of non-league Boreham Wood’s first team.
Fast forward to last season and Ndiaye has established himself as one of the stars of the second tier. Sheffield United’s leading scorer and creator with 14 league goals and 10 assists, the 23-year-old’s performances have fired the Blades back into the Premier League.
Hard-working off the ball and silky in possession, Ndiaye’s highlight reel this season has seen the midfielder glide past challenges to make things happen in the final third. Such has been his impact across the last two seasons, he made his senior debut for Senegal last summer and was included in the nation’s World Cup squad for Qatar.
An excitement machine with the work-rate to match, he looks primed to impress in the Premier League this season.