Best Young Players in Europe
Following on from our look at the top youngsters in the Premier League, we go a little further afield to find the best young players in Europe.
As with our previous article, we will be focusing on players that are 21 or younger and, since they are already covered, we will only be looking at players who are not in the Premier League.
Best Young Players in Europe 2014-15
10. Domenico Berardi
Berardi burst onto the scene as an 18 year old in 2012 and made an immediate impact, scoring 11 goals to help Sassuolo claim the Serie B title. A move to Juventus followed at the end of his first season but he was immediately loaned back to Sassuolo and continued to build his reputation with a string of impressive performances in Serie A. In his first season in the top flight he bagged an impressive 16 goals in just 29 games, making him one of the top scorers in the league and helping his side upset the football betting by avoiding relegation. He is set to spend at least another season at Sassuolo but, as he is one of the best young players in Europe, it seems like it won’t be long before he is making an impact for Juventus or another big team and we should expect to see him on the international scene within the next couple of years as he has the potential to be one of the top strikers in Europe.
9. Florian Thauvin
That fact that Thauvin commanded a €15 million transfer fee when he moved to Marseille as a 20 year-old says a lot about how highly regarded he is. A fast and skillful left winger, he made his name at Bastia and started to get the attention of the big clubs after scoring 10 goals in 32 games during the 2012/13 season. That was enough to tempt Marseille to spend big money on him and it looked like money well spent early on as he scored nine goals and provided four assists in 25 league games during his debut season for l’OM. Thauvin has so far been capped at U18, U19, U20 and U21 level and, with many comparing him to Franck Ribery, it shouldn’t be long before he completes the set and gets his first full cap for les bleus.
8. Gerard Deulofeu
Familiar to fans of the Premier League, Deulofeu made a real impression last season as his dangerous runs down the wing helped Everton secure an impressive league finish. In addition to causing problems for many defenders, Deulofeu also chipped in with a few goals and was rewarded for his impressive performances with a first international cap in May. Fans at Goodison Park were disappointed to find out that he wouldn’t return for another season but Everton’s loss is Sevilla’s gain as they took him on a season long loan for 2014/15. With Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reported to be a big fan of Deulofeu, it shouldn’t be long before he returns to Camp Nou and breaks into the first team. From there he could go on to great things.
7. Leon Goretzka
Another talented young midfielder on the books at Schalke, Goretzka started his career at Bochum, where he made his debut as a 17 year-old. It just a season for him to attract the interest of bigger clubs and in the summer of 2013 he moved up to the Bundesliga when he joined Schalke. Goretzka continued his progress last season, playing 32 times in all competitions for Schalke including five appearances in the Champions League. He helped Schalke secure a third place finish in the Bundesliga and was rewarded for his impressive form with a call up to the Germany squad and a first international cap. With more Champions League football coming this season, we are likely to see a lot more of Goretzka over the next year and it wouldn’t be surprise to see him move on to a bigger club next summer.
6. Julian Draxler
One of the most highly regarded young midfielders and widely accepted as one of the best young players in Europe, Draxler is only 20 but has already amassed 12 caps for Germany and made their World Cup squad, making an appearance in the 7-1 thrashing of Brazil. Currently playing for Schalke, Draxler was coveted by many of Europe’s top clubs because of his creative ability and eye for goal, although interest died down a little after he had a disappointing season in 2013/14. He is expected to bounce back this season and if he does a big money move to one of Europe’s top clubs is likely to follow.
Despite being just 21 years-old, Verratti has established himself as a regular in the midfield of Paris St Germain, a club who can afford to bring in some of the best players in the world. That alone should give some indication of how talented the playmaker is but if any more proof is need it comes from the fact that he is often compared with Italian legend Andrea Pirlo. He has already helped PSG claim two league titles in his two seasons in France and if he can become even half the player that Pirlo is he could well be one of the top midfielders in Europe over the next decade.
After Brazil’s disastrous defensive performance this summer, it might please fans to know that this youngster is waiting in the wings. Aged just 20, Marquinhos is already at his third club, having moved to Roma early on and then joined PSG in a €31.4 million deal last summer. That transfer made him one of the most expensive teenagers of all time and showed just how highly he was rated following his season in Italy. Despite facing stiff competition from fellow countrymen Thiago Silva and Alex, Marquinhos still made 32 appearances in all competitions for PSG last season and displayed a composure and presence that belied his young age. He will continue to face competition in Paris but that should help raise his game and the expected changes in the Brazil national squad may see him become an international regular sooner rather than later.
3. Paul Pogba
What would Man Utd would give to have Pogba playing in midfield for them now? With the way that the Frenchman is developing, letting him go could go down as one of the biggest mistakes that Sir Alex Ferguson ever made. He has been a star for a very good Juventus side over the last couple of seasons, dominating the midfield and dictating the pace of play. Pogba then took that form onto the biggest stage of all as he proved to be a star for France in the 2014 World Cup. Such has been his development that he is now talked about in terms of current ability rather than potential, with many considering him to be one of the best players in his position in Europe as well as one of the best young players in Europe. And to answer to the question above, if they wanted him back, United would have to dig very deep in their pockets to regain his services, and perhaps pay more than they could afford.
2. Raphael Varane
This one of Young Players in Europe may have only made 38 league appearances since joining Real Madrid in 2011 but the fact that Carlo Ancelotti was happy to play him in the Champions League final shows just how highly regarded Varane is. It doesn’t end there because he was also called up for the French squad this summer and played in all but one of their World Cup games. With many considering Varane one of the best young defenders in Europe, it won’t be long before he starts to get more game time with Real and he could well go on to establish himself as one of the world’s best defenders in the coming years.
1. Zakaria Bakkali
The latest in a long line of Young Players in Europe, Bakkali is a talented winger who is extremely difficult to dispossess because of his speed and strength on the ball. Currently playing for PSV Eindhoven, he cause many problems for opponents and also has an eye for goal. He has already made his debut for Belgium and, while still battling to secure a regular first team spot at PSV, has attracted interest from several of Europe’s top clubs.
let us know in comments whom you want to add in list Young Players in Europe.