Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has continued his brilliant start to his second season back in England by retaining his spot as the most popular replica shirt this season.
His close friend and United summer signing, Romelu Lukaku, came a close second with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Arsenal’s marquee signing Alexandre Lacazette rounding out the top four according to high street retailer Sports Direct.
Hazard and Marcus Rashford were the highest climbers from last season, whilst Arsenal duo Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez drop out of the top ten entirely, presumably due to Gunners fans being sceptical that either of the contract rebels would be staying past this season.
Rather surprisingly, there’s no place for any of Manchester City’s biggest stars in the top thirty, the only club in the top six without at least one player in the list.
FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was the highest ranked non-Premier League player, with reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo a distant fifteenth behind him and new world record transfer Neymar at 18th despite his high profile move to Paris Saint Germain.
10) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
Despite probably not being in action until the New Year and only being re-signed by United late in the window, the Swedish striker’s popularity amongst United fans certainly hasn’t diminished as he rounds out the top ten.
Although he’s surrendered his coveted number nine shirt to new signing Lukaku, Wayne Rooney’s successor in the No.10 shirt will be expected to be the difference-maker when he returns from his knee injury later in the season, especially after scoring 28 goals in 46 games last season.
9) Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Coutinho driving into training today… pic.twitter.com/j8ywrZ2pbE
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) September 7, 2017
The Brazilian may have been a subject of a big bid from FC Barcelona and handed in a transfer request this summer but the Anfield faithful haven’t lost the love with their attacking-midfielder, although he has dropped four positions to ninth from last year.
Whether Coutinho will repay their admiration with the same level of performances on the pitch when he returns from his injury remains to be seen, but there’s every chance he won’t be a Liverpool player next summer.
8) Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
"Messi wouldn't do well in the Premier League."
Here's Messi destroying Premier League teams… pic.twitter.com/5JGzDqK2u0
— Leo Messi (@LioneIMessiTeam) September 6, 2017
The only non-Premier League player to break into the top ten, his powers may look to be on the wain with FC Barcelona in comparison to Cristiano Ronaldo who continues to dominate the individual honours well into his 30s but the Argentine’s popularity certainly isn’t.
A Barcelona shirt with Messi on the back may seem like a sure thing and not at all in jeopardy of being quickly outdated by a transfer but following Neymar’s departure to PSG and Messi’s contract situation still up in the air, he could be on his way out of Camp Nou.
7) Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Hello police, I'd like to report a crime please; Mkhitaryan has a higher rating on Fifa 18 than Sadio Mané
— WTK (@wutangklavan) September 5, 2017
One of the standout performers from the opening three weeks of the new season, Sadio Mane remains in the number seven spot, the same as last season.
Mane was Liverpool’s joint league top scorer with 13 last season alongside Coutinho but with no African Cup of Nations and with the hopes he can remain fit throughout the season he could be competing for the Premier League Golden Boot this time out.
6) Harry Kane (Spurs)
Harry Kane in August: 0 goals
Harry Kane on 1st September: ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/NanvwMom79
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 2, 2017
The England No.9 breaks into the top ten for the first time as Spurs’ international popularity grows thanks to their participation in the last two title races and UEFA Champions League.
The winner of the last two Golden Boots, Kane remains the only Spurs player in the top ten, with compatriot Dele Alli just missing out in eleventh place.
5) Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Lemme say that again..
Absolute madness!!! 😒
— Bertie 'Shawshank' Magoo (@Eti_Lad) September 5, 2017
After his breakout season saw the homegrown United forward just edge the list in tenth place, his star continues to grow as part of the United quartet that makes the list, this time being the fifth most popular.
Rashford has had a decent start to the new season with one goal in three games but as a local lad, he’s sure to be a fan favourite with the Old Trafford crowd.
4) Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s summer business may have been little short of a disaster but the one good piece of business they’ve done has propelled himself into the top four.
French striker Lacazette started his Arsenal career with a debut Premier League goal inside the first two minutes of the season and with both Özil and Sanchez down below the top twenty, he’s the only Gunners player in the top ten.
3) Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Is Eden Hazard a Chelsea legend? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/xQqNJTfVmp
— Chelsea TV 🔵⚪️ (@Chelsea__Tv) September 6, 2017
The only one of the reigning champions to make the top ten, Eden Hazard has gone from ninth last year to third after a better season under Antonio Conte.
Still the talisman of the Chelsea team, Hazard won’t be seen in a new Blues Nike shirt for a few weeks yet as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.
2) Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Manchester United’s marquee summer signing for a reported £75m, he’s soon repaid their faith on and off the pitch.
Four goals in his first four games for the club has been a great return already and you can see why Lukaku has soon jumped to the number two spot after just a few weeks in Manchester.
1) Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Saw a best prem XI without Paul Pogba in midfield.
Whoever made that and believes that: pic.twitter.com/2odRn33fzy
— Scammy Abraham (@Nigerianscamsss) September 5, 2017
The then-world record transfer for Pogba sent United fans into hysteria last summer as he returned from his spell at Juventus to Old Trafford and despite a mixed first season back in England, it seems that optimism hasn’t diminished just yet.
The French midfielder certainly looks a better player with the defensive reigns taken off thanks to the acquisition of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea as United look to chase their first league title of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.