As part of labeling the Premier League as the best in the world, so many supporters tend to look at the attacking talent that is littered in every corner of the top flight of English football as supportive evidence.
With the 2023-24 season just around the corner and mere weeks away, looking back on 2022-23 and some of the many influential wingers that had a role to play in the continuing advertising of English football raised interesting debate when it came to trying to gauge just who the best truly was.
While goals will always be the only currency that matters to many, quite a few wide men offered so much more to their respective sides than just a killer instinct in the final third. As ever, quality and influence are so often both objective and subjective. With that in mind, 101 Great Goals looks at the top ten Premier League wingers moving into the upcoming 2023-24 season.
10: Harvey Barnes
There was a real chance that Harvey Barnes would not even be able to feature on this list on account of Leicester City failing to avoid the drop to the Championship, but after Newcastle United rescued the English winger and restored his Premier League status, he gets a shout here. Though new clubmate Miguel Almirón could also have been included here, Barnes’ ability to score goals in a highly-dysfunctional Leicester attack in 2022-23 shows what he should be capable of under Eddie Howe and among better players.
9: Morgan Gibbs-White
It might be hard to rationalize a Nottingham Forest player making any of these top 10 lists on the back of Steve Cooper’s men narrowly escaping with their Premier League lives in 2022-23, but it is that very fact that had us include Morgan Gibbs-White. Much like some others included, it was his overall contributions and coming up big in key moments that sees him added here, especially after Cooper finally settled on a somewhat consistent XI at the City Ground. Thirteen goal involvements were credible and could improve further.
8: Son Heung-min
Traditionally viewed as arguably the best left-sided player in the Premier League on the back of his form in recent seasons, South Korean superstar Son Heung-min has a lot of ground to make up if he is to wrestle that moniker away from a handful of others in 2023-24. Despite his 10 goals and 7 assists in the league last season, Son’s overall level of performance paled in comparison to previous seasons for Tottenham while his influence was also drastically reduced. If he can get firing under Ange Postecoglou, watch out.
7: Solly March
Certainly not a name that I expect to include here, but versatile Brighton winger Solly March was arguably one of the best all-around wide men in the league on account of not just his ability to influence play moving forward, but his penchant for being an adept presser as well as a defensive cade in the hole for Roberto De Zerbi. With an FBRef profile that is comparable to that of Bukayo Saka, it is not far-fetched to suggest that March could once again prove himself in 2023-24 to be a Premier League diamond in the rough.
6: Michael Olise
While goals are so often the currency that many fans look toward while gauging wingers in modern football, there will always be something to be said for a player who is both sublime on the ball as well as a creator-in-chief from wide spaces, and French youngster Michael Olise fits the bill. He may have only scored 2 goals last season, but his 11 assists (3rd in the league) and rapidly developing overall profile quietly provide proof of just how good he already is. There’s a reason Chelsea may have eyed him for a summer purchase.
5: Kaoru Mitoma
Brighton have, it seems, done it again. Few clubs in recent seasons have done as well as the Seagulls to uncover hidden gems before turning them into bonafide Premier League talents than the south coast club, and Japanese international winger Kaoru Mitoma is another prime example of that. His debut season in the PL brought one highlight reel after the next for his technical prowess when on the ball and genuine threat in both the transition phase as well as the final third. His goal tally should also increase from last season in 2023-24.
4: Jack Grealish
If you’re a Manchester City fan, seeing a key cog in a treble-winning team only come fourth in the list might be a bit off-putting, but for all of Jack Grealish’s contributions to City’s historic 2022-23 season, there are still a few that probably should be ahead of him. Still, the Aston Villa academy product had done wonders to repay the faith placed in him after a then record-setting move to the Etihad two seasons ago, and though he may not have had the same data return as others, he was nevertheless just as influential on Guardiola’s team.
3: Gabriel Martinelli
Some will say this is biased, and perhaps I might be slightly inclined to agree, but Brazilian international starlet Gabriel Martinelli is one of those magically Football Manager-type stories that people love to puff their chests over. From humbling beginnings, Martinelli has developed expertly in north London and that was fully on display last season to the tune of a club-leading 15 goals, with only Mohamed Salah scoring more from wide areas than the 22-year-old. Along with Bukayo Saka, he’s the current definition of Arsenal.
2: Bukayo Saka
Look away Arsenal fans, but in my estimation, our club’s “star boy” is still not the top winger in the Premier League...yet. This does not take away from another brilliant campaign on the right side of the Gunners’ forward line under Mikel Arteta, putting in career-best numbers for both goals (14) and assists (11) in a single season across 38 appearances in the league. With many expecting Arsenal to once again challenge Manchester City, Saka will be an undeniable part of that.
1: Mohamed Salah
Though it pains me to have to admit, it is hard to argue that Egyptian star man Mohamed Salah is still not the top wide player in England after another season where his goals were vital for Jürgen Klopp. Liverpool struggled mightily in 2022-23, but once the club started to find its footing, Salah sprang to life in a way so many are accustomed to seeing from him. Come the end of the season, only three players in the league scored more goals while only Kevin De Bruyne bagged more assists. He’s truly elite.