Who Will Be 2020/21 PFA Player Of The Year?
October 12, 2020
It’s early days in the 2020/21 season but football fans are already placing bets on which player will win the PFA Player of the Year 2021 next spring. This annual award is highly valued by players because the winner is chosen by his peers – being members of the player’s trade union, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) – each of whom will vote for two players next spring. A shortlist of six players will be issued by the PFA and a short time later the winner is announced at a black-tie gala event in London. The 2020/21 short list is not yet available of course so the list of potential winners is extensive, with the bookmakers offering odds for some of these players at a whopping 500/1. But the bookies’ favourites at the moment are all major stars of the Premier League, no surprises there.
Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is the current holder, winning the prestigious award just last month after the ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic. The Belgian star is already tipped as favourite to pick up the award next year too, with odds of 9/2 from 888sport. That would be a major coup as only five players have won the award twice since the award was first awarded back in the 1970’s. That little list comprises Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale…so De Bruyne would be joining an elite squad of winners.
Last season’s short list comprised De Bruyne, his City team-mate Raheem Sterling, and four Liverpool players – Virgil Van Dijk (winner 2018/19), captain Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane. Only one of last year’s short-listed Liverpool players remains in the bookies’ top 10 – winger Sadio Mane is tipped at odds of 16/1 from BetVictor to win the award. But there is plenty of talent at Anfield and other Liverpool players – notably Mo Salah and new signing Thiago – take their places.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling remains a favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award. He was nominated last season but was beaten to the post by his team mate De Bruyne. SkyBet offers odds of 10/1 that he will win the trophy this time round. The midfielder is currently City’s most used player and he’s played over 200 appearances under manager Pep Guardiola who reckons the England star has more in the tank, saying “Every player can get better, every team can get better, every manager can get better. He has this mentality to do it. For a long time, he has been getting better. His finishing, his shooting, and that’s because he trains hard”. Last season, Sterling’s 29 goals was his best ever result and if he builds on his success as Guardiola predicts, he remains a strong contender for Player of the Year.
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool won the award at the end of the 2017/18 season but didn’t feature in the running last season despite being a dominant force in the runaway success of the Reds, who lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time in thirty years, by the huge margin of 18 points over rivals Manchester City. But he’s third favourite with the bookies just now, after De Bruyne and Sterling, with odds of 12/1 from bookie BoyleSports.
Another contender may be Thiago Alcantara, the Brazilian/Spanish player who has recently signed for Liverpool for a four-year contract. SkyBet offers odds of 14/1 that Thiago will lift the trophy next spring and, if that happens, the midfielder will have to clear a space in his busy trophy cabinet to accommodate it – from his time at Barcelona he already has four La Liga titles, the UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA World Cup. This impressive tally was followed by winning the Bundesliga seven times in row with Bayern Munich and the UEFA Champions League as part of a continental treble in his last year in Germany. Thiago has already broken a record in his short time at Liverpool – with 75 successful passes during one half of the recent game with Chelsea.
Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes is also a possible winner, with Bet365 offering odds of 14/1 that he will win the Player of the Year award.
Liverpool dominates the top 10 in the bookies ranking and the fourth player from the team to be fancied for the award is winger Sadio Mane, with odds of 16/1 from BetVictor.
Harry Kane, captain of England and Tottenham Hotspur, is also a contender with odds of 16/1 from BoyleSports.
Arsenal captain, forward Pierre-Emerick Augameyang, is in the running too and bookmaker William Hill offers odds of 25/1 that he will be crowned Player of the Year.
And the final player in the bookies’ top 10 is Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin who shares the same odds of 25/1, also from William Hill.
But it’s early days in the season, with each team having only four matches kicked into touch. We expect some changes in the names on the top 10 and there is some real quality ready to move up. The recent signing of Gareth Bale to Tottenham Hotspur adds spice into the mix too. Currently, he languishes well down in the reckoning with Bet365 offering odds of 66/1. But Bale won the award in 2010/11 and then again in 2012/13. Could he make it a hat trick? Wouldn’t that make a good story!