Wednesday, May 22, 2013

61 - 80 Football Wonderkids

61. Iñigo Martínez (Real Sociedad)
The 20 year-old defender is currently considered one of the best young defenders in Spain and has already been linked with a move to a number of England’s elite with Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United all credited with an interest. Born in Ondarroa, Martinez began playing with local side Aurrera before being spotted by Real's youth scouts. In 2009 he was dispatched to Real's B set-up and played over 50 matches before being promoted to the first team earlier this year. Martinez who made his senior debut in August has quickly established himself in Philippe Montanier's first team. Compared to Carlos Puyol due to their playing style and stature, Martinez primarily operates as a centre-back but can also play at full-back. Contracted until June 2015, he has a release clause set at £28 million and has already been capped up to Under-21 level by Spain after impressing for the U20’s. Martinez made his first team debut on 27 August 2011 in a 2-1  away win at  Sporting de Gijón. He scored his first goal for the club on 2 October after netting from inside his own half against Athletic Bilbao. A composed left-footer, Martinez has excellent reading of the game and is good on the ball and in the air. Standing at 5 foot 11 inches, the Spaniard has good physical and technical qualities. Martinez has impressed immensely in the current La Liga campaign and is fully expected to leave Real Sociedad within the next year, with even reigning champions Barcelona thought to be monitoring his progress.

62. Lenny Nangis (Caen)
Snubbing interest from Manchester United, 17 year-old striker Lenny Nangis is considered one of the brightest young prospects in European football and has attract interested from a number of admirers. Currently playing for Ligue 1 outfit Caen, Nangis who can also operate on the flanks has been capped up to Under-18 level by France. At the 2011 Fifa Under-17 World Cup, Nangis caught the eye while scoring one goal. On 19 August 2011, Nangis signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three year deal which keeps him at the club until 2013. He was subsequently promoted to the senior team by manager Franck Dumas and was given his debut in a 3-2 Coupe de Ligue victory over Brest. Caen will be hoping to resist offers for two of their most promising talents in M'Baye Niang and Lenny Nangis. With excellent technical ability, Nangis has good acceleration and natural raw pace which  means he  able  to go  past  defenders with ease. Nangis who knows where the goal is, has  displayed  good  vision  when 63. Cristian Tello (Barcelona)
The 20 year-old Nou Camp striker who can also operate on the wing has become a wanted man after a fine display in the Champions League second round match against Bayer Leverkusen. Replacing Andrés Iniesta in the second half, Tello scored within two minutes to make it 4-0 and just six minutes later scored a second goal in Barcelona’s 7-1 victory. With his contract coming to an end this summer, Tello would be a free agent and a number of clubs are interested in the Nou Camp wonderkid with Chelsea and Arsenal both waiting in the wings. With competition such as Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Pedro, David Villa and Isaac Cuenca standing in his way, Tello could be tempted to move. The local born starlet has been capped up to Under-20 level by Spain and has been effective when called upon, scoring two goals in five league appearances. Pep Guardiola who has tried to convince Tello to remain at the Catalan giants recently promoted the striker from Barcelona B.

64. Ulises Davila (Chelsea)
Chelsea starlet Ulises Davila who was born in Guadalajara, was picked up by local side Chivas at an early age. In 2006 he helped Chivas to their national youth championships and scored the winner against Pachua, the same year they travelled to the Manchester United Premier Cup and again took the honours with victory over Arsenal. In 2009 Davila was handed his first-team debut for Chivas and within 18 months he was a key member of their side. While playing for Chivas, Davila began catching the eye of a number of foreign clubs for his performances for  Mexico's youth side. In 2011, Davila was drafted into Mexico’s Copa America squad. Davila caught the eye with his runs from midfield, good movement and excellent range of passing. With an eye for goal it was Chelsea who moved first after paying £2 million for his services and handed him a five-year deal. He was immediately loaned out to Vitesse Arnhem in Holland in order to gain first team experience.

65. Juan Bernat (Valencia)
Fresh from the loss of Isco who was sold to ambitious La Liga side Málaga comes 18 year-old winger Juan Bernat. With good technical ability, Bernat has pace and excellent dribbling skills meaning he is able to go past defenders with ease. His style has seen comparisons drawn to former Los Che legend Vicente. Recently committing himself to the club on a four year deal will run out in June 2015, Bernat is said to have a buyout clause set at €20 million. Technical director Braulio Vázquez said of the player, "It's very important to have quality players, which Bernat is, and he also has great commitment to Valencia. Bernat is a boy with great qualities, he's fast, technical, can score goals, and has personality. But I like is humility and willingness to work." Bernat was also happy with the deal, saying, "I'm very glad, very happy because this is my childhood club, and I'm very excited to continue here. This is a great reward for me and I am very grateful to the people at the club, my coach, and my teammates for their help." 

66. Joze Pozo (Real Madrid) 
Having been at Real Madrid since the age of 11 years-old, Pozo has become a prolific goalscorer for both his club and country at youth level. Currently captain and top scorer of Real Madrid’s Cadete A side, the 16 year-old striker has attracted the attention of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City with the teenager thought to be growing frsutrated with a lack of opportunities in a higher age Group. Valued at £6million, Pozo is deadly in front of goal and is considered one of Spain’s best young prospects. Los Blancos would be reluctant to lose their prized asset at academy level but maybe tempted to cash in on the striker rather than risk losing the talented starlet to compensation set by a tribunal. Technically excellent, Pozo has all the characteristics and attributes needed in a potent striker. Calm and clinical in front of goal, Pozo is an intelligent player who has great movement and creates space for himself. 

67. Sergi Samper (Barcelona)
At 17 years-old midfielder Sergi Samper is currently considered one of the most promising talents at Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy. Already compared to Cesc Fabregas, Samper has enormous potential. Capped up to Under-17 level by Spain he has already attracted interest by Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger who tried to sign Samper along with two of his team maters Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral. Currently playing for Oscar Garcia’s Juvenil A, his style and positioning has seen him likened to Andrea Pirlo. Held in high regards at the Nou Camp he has already trained with Pep Guardiola’s first team. Last season he led one of the club’s best generations with the Cadete A as they won the prestigious Nike Premier Cup which was played at Old Trafford. This season he has been part of Barcelona’s impressive side which took part in the NextGen Series, described as the Champions League of youth football. With an exquisite touch, vision and excellent range of passing, Samper has all the qualities to succeed.

68. Lorenzo Tassi (Brescia)
Hailed as the next Roberto Baggio, this is a tag which has not often been used in the past decade such has been the relative decline of Italian football. However, most Italian fans will be excited by the 17 year-old attacking midfielder. With Brescia president Fabio Corioni reluctant to sell the prodigious talent, Italian giants AC Milan and Internazionale were keen on securing the services of one of Italy’s most talented prospects. Coming through the Rondinelle youth system, he had been training with the A-squad from the age of 15. With natural playmaking qualities such as an excellent range of passing and good vision, it is easy to see why similarities have been made between Tassi and Baggio. On the last day of the transfer window during the summer of 2011, Inter Milan announced they had signed the teenager in a co-ownership deal with Brescia. Currently playing in Inter’s youth team he has already established himself at international youth level.

69. Gyliano van Velzen (Ajax)
Heading up a new generation of golden talent assembled by Manchester United’s academy, Amsterdam born left-winger Gyliano van Velzen joins academy starlets Paul Pogba and Mats Daehli as the Old Trafford outfit build for the future. Having impressed the club’s scouts while playing for the Netherlands at Under-16 level he decided to turn his back on the famed Ajax academy. Considered one of Holland’s most promising players, Ajax were incensed by the move, one which mirrors that of when Manchester United took Paul Pogba from Le Harve and demanded compensation. A tall, left-sided midfielder, he joined United in November 2010 and is a pacy and skillful player likened to Cristiano Ronaldo. Also capable of playing up front, he was used as a striker during the 2010/11 campaign for the academy side when first-choice forwards Will Keane and John Cofie were out injured. This season he is considered one of Paul McGuinness more experienced youngsters and will be an integral player for the academy side. 

70. Serge Aurier (Lens)
A product of the famed Len’s youth academy is 19 year-old Serge Aurier. Born of Ivorian descent, Aurier is considered as one of France’s finest youth prospects.  The right-back heads up a new generation of defenders in France along with Sakho, Varane and Turan, with the latter two already going on to make big money European moves. Starting life out as a holding midfielder, Serge was converted to right-back to utilise his impressive defensive and athletic abilities. Previously linked to a number of English clubs such as Manchester City, Aurier has excellent pace and ball control. While he has been linked with moves away, Aurier stated he would like to continue his development in France and signed for Toulouse in January 2012 for a fee reported to be €1.3 million. Aurier has already made his first team debut for Toulouse and established himself as part of the first team squad. He will now be look to cement his place in the Ligue 1 outfit and gain international recognition with a call up to France's Under-21 setup.

71. M'Baye Niang (Caen)
M'Baye Niang is a 16 year-old attacking midfielder who can also operate as a striker. Born of Senegalese descent he currently plays for French club Caen in Ligue 1. Niang made his professional debut at the age of 16, on 24 April 2011 in a league match against Toulouse to become the youngest player in the club's history to make his debut. Just two weeks later the talented teenager scored his first professional goal in a 1-1 draw with Lens to become the second youngest scorer in the history of Ligue 1. He has represented France at both Under-16 and Under-17 level. He was recently called up to the Senegal squad but rejected the invitation expressing his desire to play for France. The forward recently signed his first professional contract with the club in February 2011, signing a three-year-contract after highly impressing in the reserves team with a tally of 5 goals in 16 matches at the age of just 15 years old. A physical striker, Niang possesses excellent composure and positioning. With an eye for goal and good technical abilities, Niang has all the attributes to become a future star for club and country. This season Niang is due to play up front alongside new signing Pierre-Alain Frau and will be expected to continue his development at Caen and gather more first team experience. Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus have all been registered with an interest in the player and the French club are believed to have stuck an €8M estimated asking price on the starlet.

72. Carlos Fierro (Guadalajara)
With every club in search of the next Javier Hernandez, it is easy to see what clubs are monitoring the progress of Chivas de Guadalajara’s Carlos Feirro. The 17 year-old striker scored four goals and claimed five assists at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup which Mexico won. With the tournament proving to be a playground  for up and coming superstars of tomorrow, Fierro’s appearances caught the attention of a number of clubs from around Europe. During the tournament the striker demonstrated his poaching ability with superb composure in front of goal and natural raw pace. He has already been linked with moves to Barcelona, Totteham and Hoffenheim. Making his debut in August 2011 against Monterrey he has already featured in the sides Copa Libertadores campaign. With Javier Hernandez commanding a £10 million fee after his rise to stardom in a year, Chivas will be  reluctant  to  cash in one one of their prized assets.  Considered  as  the future of  club and  country, Fierro forms  part of a new golden generation of talent coming through along with Julio Gomez. Fierro added to his rising status in the game with a fine performance against European Champions Barcelona in a friendly in August.

73. Christian Derflinger (Bayern Munich)
While most people talk about Austria's David Alaba as one of the most promising youngsters coming through at Bayern München, fans are also excited about another talented Austrian by the name of Christian Derflinger. Derflinger signed four years ago from Austrian team LASK Linz and is a tricky midfielder with excellent vision and eye for goal. He  made such a huge impression on Bayern coach Louis Van Gaal during the 2010/11 season that he was invited to train with the first season and the Dutch tactician believed he was arguably one of the greatest talents the club has produced in the last decade. At just 18 years-old, Derflinger is technically excellent and his good all round game means he can also operate as a second striker. Derflinger is currently capped up to Under-17 level. After the Dutch coach left, Derflinger was instantly linked with a move to Manchester City. Although he has yet to make his first team breakthrough, Derflinger is still regarded as the future of the club and is expected to feature more prominently in the future.

74. El-Babacar Khouma (Fiorentina)
Currently on loan at Racing Santander, the 18 year-old striker is considered one of the hottest prospects in European football after breaking into Fiorentina’s first team at the age of 16. Standing at 6ft 3 inches, the Senegalese striker is still learning his trade but his early promise suggests he is a potential star of the future. His rapid progress has not gone unnoticed with a number of sides monitoring his progress. Signing for Fiorentina in 2008 from Pescara, the Italian side fought off interest from Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid. Playing for the B side during the 2009-10 season, the young striker’s dream was quickly realised when Babacar was called up to the first team by coach Cesare Prandelli. Capped up to Under-21 level by Senegal, Babacar scored his first goal for Firoentina on 20 March 2010 in a 3-0 victory over Genoa. Contracted with the club until 2015, Babacar has both power and pace. Comparisons have already been made with Didier Drogba and fellow starlet Romelu Lukaku.

75. Adryan (Flamengo)
Considered one of Brazil’s most promising talents is 17 year-old attacking midfielder Adryan. The teenager who primarily operates as a winger, can also play as a second striker. Currently playing for Flamengo he attracted the attention of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson while playing for Brazil at Under-17 level. He first caught the eye when he played a major role in Brazil’s Sudamericano Under-17 champions win but the Red Devils were put off when Flamengo placed a £12m price tag on his head. He continued to impress at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Mexico when he scored five goals, including a brace against Germany in the final where they lost 4-3. With excellent technique like most Brazilians, Adryan is an attack minded player with excellent dribbling abilities. A good set piece take, Adryan has built up a reputation as a free-kick specialist and has the ability to score from distance.

76. Julio Gómez (CF Pachuca) 
Its hard to believe that Mexico were once rated the 4th best team in world football, as early as 2006. Despite reaching the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup, there has been little to shout about Mexican football in recent years. However, this may be set to change with a golden generation of talent coming through. With Javier Hernandez bursting on the scene within the last few years, there are a number of young pretenders waiting in the wings with Erick Torres, Carlos Fierro, Ulises Davila and now Julio Gómez all being linked to some of Europe’s top teams. It was at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in 2011 where Gómez made his name, inspiring his country to victory. The versatile attacker, who is capable of playing on either wing, in the hole or as a second striker won the Adidas golden Ball award for player of the tournament with a string of stunning displays, which included 3 goals in the 7 games. Displaying pace, flair and excellent balance, Gómez glides past defenders with ease and has demonstrated his abilities in front of goal.

77. Hugo Mallo (Celta Vigo)
Spanish right-back Hugo Mallo currently plays for Spanish Segunda Division side Celta Vigo and is rated as one of Spain’s most promising defenders. A number of clubs are reportedly monitoring the talented full-back with Chelsea, Getafe, Villarreal, Valencia and Deportivo La Coruna all credited with an interest. An intelligent defender, Mallo is attack minded and likes to get forward, helped by good acceleration and pace. The 20 year-old who is contracted till the end of the 2013/14 season is expected to move after the current campaign, regardless of whether Celta Vigo are promoted. There are a number of potential suitors for the player who has been capped up to Under-21 level by Spain. In terms of weaknesses, there arent many to Mallo's game who combines good technical, physical and mental qualities to succeed at the top. The past three seasons, Mallo has been gaining invaluable experience, after getting first team experience.

78. Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen)
Germany have a rich history of producing goalkeepers over the past decade and at the moment there is something of a golden generation of up and coming talent with Ron-Robert Zieler, Thomas Kraft, Marc-André ter Stegen and now Bern Leno all waiting in the wings. Starting life out at VfB Stuttgart, Leno extended his contract in May 2011 until June 2014 and just a few months later was sent out on loan to Bayer Leverkusen in order to gain some first team football. Instantly establishing himself as a first-team regular, Leno became the youngest German goalkeeper ever to play in the Champions League in September 2011 when he featured against Chelsea. After a series of impressive displays many have earmarked Leno as a future international and his short stay was enough to convince Leverkusen to take him permanently which was confirmed in November 2011 in a deal which keeps him at the club until 2017.

79. Denis Suárez (Manchester City)
Denis Suárez signed for Manchester City in May 2011 after City beat off interest from Barcelona, Chelsea and rivals Manchester United signing him for an initial fee of £850,000 that could rise by £2.75 million depending on appearances and performances. Capped up to Under-18 level by Spain, he joined City for an initial fee of £850,000 which could rise to £2.75m depending on appearances and performance related clauses in the deal. The winger who has drawn comparisons to David Silva was a regular at Under-17 level where he scored two goals in eight appearances, after scoring against Moldova and Northern Ireland. The attacking midfielder who possesses and excellent range of passing, has good dribbling abilities and has an eye for goal. He made his debut for Manchester City in the League Cup when he replaced Samir Nasri in the second half during a 5-2 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

80. David Henen (Anderlecht)
The youngest wonderkid on our list but arguably one of the best. The 15 year-old Belgian currently plays for Anderlecht’s youth side after transferring from Standard Liege a year ago. Spending three years at Liege he scored 32 goals in his debut season and 58 goals in his second year. In his third and final season he scored 13 goals for the U16 side and 4 goals in 10 appearances for the U17’s, helping Standard to three national titles. Henen who has attracted interest from Ajax, Manchester United and Arsenal has been capped  by Belgium at Under-15 and Under-16 level, scoring 7 goals in 11 matches. Able to play on the right-wing or as a second striker, Henen has excellent pace and acceleration but will need to work on the physical side of his game which should come with experience. With European scouts monitoring the Belgian leagues in search of the next Courtois, Lukaku or De Bruyne, Henen is a name which will feature on many clubs watch lists. 

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