As football returns after the coronavirus pandemic brought it to a halt, the 2020/21 season is underway. Established stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Roberto Lewandowski etc will likely dominate the headlines, but youngsters will also look forward to showcasing their talents to the global audience.
Last season, the likes of Erling Haaland, Ansu Fati, Mason Mount, Alphonso Davies and Mason Greenwood broke through, and many youngsters will be hoping to thread similar path this term.
HERE ARE TOP SOCCER BLOG’S TOP 2O YOUNGSTERS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN THE 2020/21 SEASON
1. JUDE BELLINGHAM (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)
17-year-old Bellingham is one of the hottest prospects in world football at the moment. He broke through as a 16-year-old with Birmingham in the Championship last season. He was courted by various clubs in the summer transfer window, but Borussia Dortmund won the race for his signature and paid €25m for his services. Bellingham has already made impressions at Dortmund this season displaying maturity beyond his age. He currently holds the record for the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League match, when he made his debut against Lazio in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League.
2. EDOUARDO CAMAVINGA (RENNES)
Just 17, but Camavinga has made more than 50 first-team appearances for Rennes. He has evolved from a defensive midfielder to an all-round midfielder and helped Rennes qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history last season. He became the 2nd youngest scorer to score for France when he netted against Ukraine on his first international start this month. He has drawn regular comparisons with Paul Pogba and his showing why his club placed an €100m price tag on him.
3. FABIO SILVA (WOLVES)
Fabio Silva became the youngest goalscorer in the history of FC Porto last season at 17 years old. The striker is so good that English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers broke their club record to sign him at £35m this summer. Much is expected from the 18-year-old Portuguese in England, and you should expect him to thrive.
4. LASSINA TRAORE (AJAX)
Since Moving to Ajax Amsterdam from the club’s sister club Ajax Capetown of South Africa, 19-year-old Lassina Traore has been turning heads in the Netherlands. The Burkina Faso international scored 5 and assisted 3 goals in Ajax’s 13-0 victory over VVV-Venlo last Saturday.
5. SANDRO TONALI (AC MILAN)
Dubbed the “new Pirlo”, Tonali has been on the lips of Italian football fans in the past few seasons due to his incredible ability. He is so good that he earned his first-ever call-up to the Italian national team when he was still playing in the Serie B. He helped Brescia secure promotion to the Serie A subsequently after and his performances convinced AC Milan to snatch him this summer on an initial loan move that will later be made permanent. The 20-year-old now has the platform to showcase his ability at the highest level.
6. FACUNDO PELLISTRI (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Although United were largely frustrated in the just concluded transfer window, the Red Devils managed to bring in Facundo Pellistri on deadline day from Penarol for €10m. The Uruguayan international signed a 5-year contract and is expected to be heavily involved with the first team despite being just 18 years of age. He was even included in their Champions League squad. The flying winger will be a handful to opposition defenders once he fully adapts to his new surroundings.
7. REINIER JESUS (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)
Reinier was part of the historic Flamengo side that won the Brazilian Serie A and the Copa Libertadores in 2019. He joined Real Madrid for €35m in January. The 18-year-old secured a loan move to Dortmund this summer to get much needed playing time. Reinier Jesus Carvalho shoots frequently and is great at linking play from an attacking midfield role.
8. JAMAL MUSIALA (BAYERN MUNICH)
Bayern snapped up Musiala from Chelsea last summer when he was just 16. This season, he became the youngest player to play and the youngest to score for Bayern in the Bundesliga at just 17 years old. Musiala has 2 goals in 4 league appearance this season so far.
9. KARAMOKO DEMBELE (CELTIC)
Do you remember this name? Yes it was the same guy that went viral in 2016 when he made his U-20 debut for Celtic when he was just 13!
He has been wowing YouTube viewers with his incredible skills since then. Dembele made his first-team debut for Celtic last season as a 16-year-old. And now at 17, looks ready for regular first-team action.
10. XAVI SIMONS (PSG)
Bearing the same name with Barcelona icon, Xavi Hernandez, he was one of the highly-rated youngsters in the club’s La Masia academy for many years and was expected to be a future star for the Barcelona first team. But due to contract disagreements, he moved to PSG in 2019. The 17-year-old is expected to break through this season in Paris.
11. YOUSSOUFA MOUKOKO (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)
A very rare talent! Moukoko has been destroying records at youth level since joining Dortmund as a 13-year-old. He has 141 goals and 27 assists in 88 matches! Still just 15, he is playing with the U-19s and has 13 goals in just 4 matches this season so far! His performances have convinced the German Football Association (DFB) to reduce the age restriction in the Bundesliga to 16, Moukoko will be 16 in November (next month) and will finally make his long-anticipated first-team debut.
12. RYAN GRAVENBERCH (AJAX)
Ajax have proven again and again that they are arguably the best when it comes to producing young talents in football. The club lost the stars of their squad that reached the 2019 Champions league semi-finals but are now quickly replacing them with new ones from their illustrious academy. The leader of the new generation of talents at Ajax is 18-year-old Ryan Gravenberch — who became the youngest player to appear for the club in the Eredivisie at just 16. With Mino Raiola as his agent, it might not be long before he leaves Ajax for a top club.
13. RAYAN CHERKI (OLYMPIQUE LYON)
Cherki became the youngest player in Lyon’s history when he made his debut at 16 years and 140 days old last season. He also became the youngest ever footballer to play in the UEFA Champions League semi-final last season. Now 17, he is one to keep an eye on this season due to his abilities on the ball and his penchant for stunning goals.
14. SERGIO ARRIBAS (REAL MADRID)
Arribas played a prominent role as Real Madrid’s U-20 side won the UEFA Youth League for the first time in history last season. The left-footed playmaker has already made his first-team debut this season and will be looking to impress his way into Zidane’s plans.
15. JOSHUA ZIRKZEE (BAYERN MUNICH)
Zirkzee has been impressive at youth level since he joined Bayern. He scored the winner on his Bundesliga debut for the first team as a 90th-minute substitute; he repeated the same trick two days later when he scored the winner against Wolfsburg. Zirkzee was part of the Bayern side that won a treble last season and will be hoping for more game time this season.
The 19-year-old is eligible to represent Nigeria at international level as his mother is a Nigerian.
16. PEDRI (BARCELONA)
At 16 years of age, Pedri became the youngest ever player to play and score for Las Palmas. His performances at Las Palmas convinced Barca to sign him last summer, but he remained at Las Palmas and teamed up with the Catalans this summer. The 17-year-old scored his first Barcelona goal on his Champions League debut against Ferencvaros.
17. AMAD DIALLO TRAORE (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Traore became the youngest player to score a goal in the Italian Serie A at just 17 years and 109 days old when he netted a 40-yard stunner for Atalanta last season. Amidst interest from other teams, Manchester United signed him on transfer deadline day this summer, but he won’t join them until January. United were so confident in his ability that they paid £37m for him, making him one of the top 10 most expensive transfers in the club’s history. Man U fans can’t wait till January as they are eager to see him in action.
18. LIAM DELAP (MANCHESTER CITY)
17-year-old old Liam Delap is the son of former Stoke City defender Rory Delap — who was a cult hero during his playing days due to his outrageous long throws. Delap junior is making his own name as a striker and has already scored his first goal for City on his debut against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup. City fans are hopeful that Delap will replace Sergio Aguero when the Argentine eventually leaves.
19. KONRAD DE LA FUENTE (BARCELONA)
De la Fuente joined Barca as a 10-year-old and has risen through the ranks at La Masia. Now 18, the attacker is expected to break through into the first team this season. The American has represented his country at U-16, U-18 and U-20 levels. He has been joined at Camp Nou by fellow American, Sergino Dest.
20. TANGUY KOUASSI (BAYERN MUNICH)
Kouassi impressed at PSG last season at just 17. With PSG failing to guarantee him more first-team football, Bayern pounced and signed him on a free transfer.
With most of Bayern’s defenders ageing and struggling with injuries, 18-year-old Kouassi is ready to grab any slight opportunity with both hands. He contributes a lot defensively and has excellent positioning. Although, Tanguy contributes mainly defensively, he also get involved in the build-up by helping the team combine and progress the ball. The teenager Is poised to become one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga.