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Ranking the five favourites for the 2023/24 PFA Player of the Year award

The PFA Player of the Year award appears the most open race for several seasons, with several stars in contention for the Premier League’s most illustrious individual honour.

Being voted as the Premier League’s finest footballer by your fellow professionals is the ultimate recognition of a special season, but who will join the list of iconic names to have won the accolade?

As we reach the run-in, we’ve ranked the current five favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

Cole Palmer – Chelsea (14/1)

Cole Palmer’s odds of being crowned the PFA Player of the Year have tumbled in recent weeks, following a sensational run of form from the Chelsea star.

Palmer had started just three Premier League games before the current campaign but a summer transfer to Chelsea has brought out the best in the 21-year-old. He has been the shining light of an otherwise disappointing campaign at Stamford Bridge, a rare success story from a period of scattergun recruitment in west London.

Palmer has scored 20 goals and laid on nine assists in the Premier League to date, a return that ties him with Erling Haaland in the race for the division’s Golden Boot. It has been an astonishing impact from Palmer, who took a leap of faith when leaving Manchester City for Chelsea.

Confident in his readiness for the top level, he has been brilliant for the Blues, playing the game with unfazed swagger and sumptuous technique. Already, comfortably, Chelsea’s best player, he has emerged as a potentially game-changing option for Gareth Southgate and England this summer.

Bukayo Saka – Arsenal (14/1)

Bukayo Saka is fast reaching a standard where the elite is expected. After last season’s impressive campaign saw Arsenal’s electric winger earn the PFA Young Player of the Year award, he has built – and improved – again this time around.

Saka has scored 14 goals for the season in the Premier League, already matching his haul from last season, and is closing in on reaching double figures for assists for the second successive season. He has taken to a first season at Champions League level with ease, recording eight goal involvements in nine appearances during Arsenal’s run to the quarter-finals.

It’s easy to forget that Saka does not turn 23 until September, and he’s still eligible for the Young Player award. He could become the sixth player to win that accolade in consecutive campaigns, after Ryan Giggs, Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney, Dele Alli and Phil Foden.

Declan Rice – Arsenal (7/1)

Declan Rice departed West Ham last summer having captained the club to European success, a club-record arrival at Arsenal designed to turn the Gunners from contenders to champions. The outcome of a tense title race might determine his hopes of winning this award, though there’s no doubt that Rice has improved his team.

The England midfielder has added presence and personality to the engine room, with a central spine of William Saliba, Gabriel and Rice having helped Arsenal to the best defensive record in the Premier League this season.

The 25-year-old has also offered more going forward in an adventurous Arsenal team, returning career-best numbers for goals (6) and assists (5) in the league this season. Perhaps pigeonholed as a midfield anchor earlier in his career, Rice has proven he’s much more than that in an Arsenal shirt.

Rodri – Manchester City (2/1)

Rodri might just be the best player in the Premier League. Certainly, he’s among the most influential. That the Spain midfielder has not lost a game in normal time this season is a staggering statistic, with Manchester City unbeaten with Rodri in midfield since February 2023.

In his absence, the Citizens have lost four games in all competitions this season, a quirk that is not a coincidence. He’s the beating heart of Pep Guardiola’s team, the conduit of their dominant approach with press-resistant poise in possession.

Defensive midfielders are not often recognised when the individual awards are handed out, but Rodri just might be. He’s that good.

Phil Foden – Manchester City (11/8)

Phil Foden is the favourite to earn the PFA Player of the Year award as the Manchester City midfielder looks to add the senior accolade to the back-to-back Young Player titles won in 2021 and 2022.

The 23-year-old has elevated his game to a new level this season, spending increased minutes in a central position and taking on added responsibility in the absences of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne.

Foden has 22 goals in all competitions, a career-best return, and 10 assists, while he has continually impacted the big games with moments of magic. His delightful double in the Manchester Derby last month was an example of his habit of changing the narrative of games.

A special talent whose ceiling is still not clear.

Read – Ranking the five best right-wingers in the world right now

See more – Ranking the five best attacking midfielders in the world right now

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