Ex Premier League striker picks £30m forward as his player to watch next season

Former Premier League striker Darren Bent has picked Nicolas Jackson as his player to watch in the Premier League next season.

Jackson signed from Spanish side Villareal last summer in a deal worth £30m, but he could have been a Bournemouth player had he not failed his medical in January 2023.

The 22-year-old arrived as an unknown, and after a bit of a shaky start his improvement from the beginning of the season to the end was huge.

Bent picks Jackson as his player to watch next season

Jackson finished his debut campaign with 14 Premier League goals and 17 in all competitions, which far exceeded people’s expectations.

Not that he’s the same player or will go on to achieve the same as the great Didier Drogba, but that exceeds the Ivorian’s goal tally from his first season back in the 2004-2005 campaign.

The Senegal international by his own admission should have scored more goals given the amount of chances he’s missed, and he has been heavily criticised for that, particularly for the chances missed in the FA Cup semi final against Manchester City.

Jackson scored 14 Premier League goals in his first season.

Jackson has drawn plaudits for his link up and hold up play, ability to create chances, running channels, and stretching teams with his pace, in essence he is a real nuisance for defenders.

The Senegal international played far more last season than he or Chelsea would have envisaged, and whilst it’s clear where he needs to improve, he has got all the attributes to become a top striker in the Premier League.

Bent, a former striker himself has earmarked the Senegalese as his player to watch next season and feels with the right coaching Jackson can thrive.

“I’ve gone for someone who divides opinion, I’ve gone for Nicolas Jackson”, he told talkSPORT.

“People say he’s had a bad season, he’s got 14 goals, that’s not bad, that.

“I think next season, with the right coaching, the right system, yeah, I think he could be decent.”

Chelsea are looking to bring in a striker this summer, and a more experienced head to learn from could certainly benefit Jackson, and it will be interesting to see how he develops under incoming manager Enzo Maresca.

Tags Chelsea Darren Bent Nicolas Jackson
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