Our Talent Radar Player Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in these regular pieces, eventually being recognized in our end of season Talent Radar Young Player Awards and 100 Best Young Players to Watch list. Read this document for all your queries on Talent Radar and explanation of the features under it.
After laying low for a bit, the Talent Radar Player Rankings is back in action and this time, we turn our attention to the men causing all the mayhem. In this edition, we update our Top 10 Young Forwards rankings. Much has changed since our last rankings: the winter break is long gone, Dortmund found a way to end the free fall and we can hear people humming the Champions League tune rather loudly at work. In our latest rankings, the majority of the Top 10 sees a shuffle among players, with the added element of two new faces jumping in.
10. Anwar El Ghazi // 19 // Ajax // Netherlands // 7 ↓
In this first season for the Ajax senior team, Anwar El Ghazi has made quite the impact Frank de Boer was hoping for. The Dutchman got off to a bright start this season, scoring and assisting out of thin air. After a bit of a quiet period between matchdays 14 and 21, the 19 year old has started getting things to click again, being involved in plenty of Ajax’s goals in the recent weeks including a goal and an assist in the big match against PSV. His dynamics in game play and involvement throughout the 90 minutes, be it dribbling past players or knocking in crosses has earned him features in our Talent Radar Team of the Week segments. His lean period in the middle has cost him though, chopping him down a few ranking but still makes the cut in the Top 10.
9. Saido Berahino // 21 // West Brom // England // 3 ↓
Saido Berahino enjoyed quite a start to this season, earning him praises from several corners. He was placed third in our previous Forwards Rankings but since then, the youngster seemed to slow down and take the pace off things before stepping it up again. A drought, if you would call it, in the middle of the campaign so far is majority of the reason that the West Brom forward sees the largest drop among players within the Top 10 Rankings, all the way down to ninth. Berahino has managed to pick up some momentum in recent months, scoring 5 in the last eight games. The 21 year old may have impressed many with his finishing early in the season but there are several elements in his game that he has to work on if the wants to wear the England colours in the near future.
8. Arkadiusz Milik // 21 // Ajax // Poland // 10 ↑
Our first positive jump in the updated edition of our rankings in is the form of Arkadiusz Milik. The Polish forward sees a jump from 10th to 8th in our rankings and is the second Ajax player to be in the top 10. Milik has impressed since our last rankings; after having been on the bench for much of early parts of the season, the 21 year old made most of the opportunities he was presented, including having a neat run of being involved in 8 goals in a 5 game span. His involvement in play has been a major improvement; the lad has learned to hold the ball quite well and is unselfish enough to lay off balls to teammates. We’re a big fan of long range strikes and Milik has shown us that he seems to be fond of them too! It’ll be interesting to see where he lands up playing his trade once his loan expires.
7. Heung-Min Son // 22 // Bayer Leverkusen // South Korea // 8 ↑
Into his second season for Bayer Leverkusen and the South Korean star has proved his worth time and time again. Heung-Min Son climbs one place in our rankings from the previously placed 8th and has even featured in our most recent edition of our Young Players Team of the Week. The 22 year old also featured in the Asian Cup, where he was a key member of the South Korean national team that made it all the way to the finals of the tournament. 16 goals and 4 assists in all competitions including a worthy hattrick against Wolfburg in recent weeks shows just why Roger Schimdt is keen to hold on to this guy and root him to the starting XI. His performances in the coming weeks will be crucial in Leverkusen’s attempt to reach for Europe.
6. Luciano Vietto // 21 // Villarreal // Argentina // new entrant
One of three Argentine forwards top make the Top 10, Luciano Vietto makes his debut in the Top 10 in this latest edition. In his first season for the Spanish club, Vietto has made a significant mark at Villarreal with his personal tally already at 19 goals and 8 assists across all competitions this season so far. The 21 year old has performed equally well in Europe as he has been consistently in the league. A run during the transition period across the new year saw him claim 9 goals in as many games. Vietto, like many of the players on this list, will be a key factor in helping their team reach for Europe this season.
5. Harry Kane // 21 // Tottenham Hotspur // England // new entrant
England’s talk of the town at the moment, Harry Kane is our second new entry in our latest edition of Top 10 rankings. In the early parts of this season, Kane was relatively unheard of but since November, the 21 year old has been on a dream run, scoring 26 goals and 5 assists so far, including a brace and two assists against Premier League leaders, Chelsea on New Year’s Day. His form has been such that there has been talks of an England call up, with Roy Hodgson seen in the stands every now and then at games that he has played in. Kane has been one of the more consistent English players to feature in our Talent Radar Team of the Week. His talent and quality are quite something but can he sustain his level of play is the question we’re all waiting to be answered.
4. Mauro Icardi // 22 // Inter Milan // Argentina // 5 ↑
The second of thee Argentine players to make it in to our Top 10, Mauro Icardi is currently in his second season with Inter Milan and looks like he is proving his worth. Icardi has moved up one rank since our last edition and has a good season so far, with 20 goals and 4 assists despite the Inter Milan not having the most consistent of campaigns in terms of results. The 22 year old, who is one among many Argentine players doing well in the Serie A, took a few weeks at the start of the season to get going but since then, has steadily performed game after game, something not all Inter Milan players can hold a right to say.
3. Paco Alcacer // 21 // Valencia // Spain // 2 ↓
After having an incredible season prior to the current one, the youngster continued his good form at the start of the season. Racking up 8 goals and 6 assists so far, Alcacer is the only Spanish representative in our Top 10. It is quite sad to see Spain, with the likes of Raul and David Villa in the past, punching below their weight in terms of producing solid young strikers who could be the next big thing. In recent weeks, the 21 year old has been left out of the game courtesy a knee injury. Prior to the injury, Alcacer had significantly taken his foot off the pedal and was unable to follow up on the brilliant form he was in at the start of the season. He drops down a rank in this edition.
2. Paulo Dybala // 21 // Palermo // Argentina // 6 ↑
The third and final Argentine representative in our Top 10 and one among the multiple Argentine strikers performing well in the Serie A this season, Paulo Dybala’s performances this campaign have got the media and fans buzzing. Dybala has scored 12 goals and 8 assists this season and has been by far, one of the most consistent performers in Palermo and in the Serie A. He has featured multiple times in our Talent Radar Team of the Week and his performances have got the media speculating a potential transfer to a bigger club this summer. Dybala has made a significant jump in our forward rankings, climbing up all the way to 2nd from a previously positioned 6th.
Head this way for a Scout Report on Paulo Dybala.
1. Memphis Depay // 21 // PSV // Netherlands // no change
Despite being 21 years old, Memphis Depay is currently in his fourth season with Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. There is arguably no other young forward who has made a contribution this significant to his team this season. Depay currently stands at 22 goals and 6 assists this season, and as been in unwavering form since the opening day. His injury earlier this season left him out of action for a month but the youngster had no plans of that setting him back. PSV’s worthy margin at the top of the table, much credit is due to this young fellow, who has been a constant this season with his goals, key passes, dribbles and free-kicks. Depay retains the top spot in our latest edition of the player rankings .
Here is a snapshot of what the rankings look like:
Written by Razim Refai
Razim Refai is a co-founder and editor of Outside of the Boot.
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