Judging the calibre of a young player is often a tricky task. Perceived potential has an important bearing in any consideration and is just one of the many parameters to consider when trying to quantify the ability of football’s young stars. To add a basis to what may be a leap of faith, it is useful to look back and trace the growth, or indeed lack thereof, in young players.
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 recognised 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.
[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2016 – 21 years old and below]
Down one place from the last edition but doing just enough to make the list is Sebastien Haller. The Frenchman had a strong season last time around and continued to showcase his ability in front of goal in the early part of this campaign. The goals may have dried up a bit recently but his performances have still been enough to maintain his top 10 spot. Joel Pohjanpalo is another who has slid down the list but not much blame can be put on the young man’s shoulders. An injury has blighted his promising start to the season, indeed it is testament to his early form that he still makes the list after missing the past few games.
Keita Balde had a tumultuous start to the campaign but it looks like his problems with the club have been put to bed for now. Even if there is trouble behind the scenes, Keita hasn’t shown any such sign when it comes to productivity in front of goal which sees him occupy 8th spot in the rankings. It isn’t easy playing second fiddle to a World class striker and if you don’t believe us, just ask Kelechi Iheanacho. The Nigerian International started the season off in fine form with a notable performance in the Manchester derby but has found game time to be at a premium as you’d expect. Mostly limited to appearances off the bench, Iheanacho has still shown why he’s so highly rated at the club.
There was some speculation as to Sandro Ramirez’s destination this past transfer window. The Spaniard was snapped up by Malaga and while he took some time to settle it, he’s already paying back the investment. The striker has scored in 3 of his last 4 league appearances, form that is enough to catapult him into the Top 10.
Following up in the top 5 are 3 Eredivisie talents. At 5 is Arber Zeneli. The young forward isn’t on a hot scoring streak like the last time he featured on this list, but has actually moved because his general performance is excellent. The man completes 3 dribbles a match on average, and that tells you about the kind of player he is. Sadly, his fellow Eredivisie mate is moving in the opposite direction. Enes Unal scored just one goal in the period since our last rankings, and so, a player that defines himself with his goals, has witnessed a drop in his position. He’s come down from the silver medal spot, to number 4.
Taking a spot on the podium after a stunning 3 place rise is Timo Werner. The Leipzig man has been an important cog in what is proving to be the wheel of an F1 car. The man scored twice and assisted twice in the last few weeks. And that is doing a bit of disservice to his contribution. His work up front with his strike partner is what really sets him apart. Not to mention a match winning performance against Mainz, and the case for Werner’s position to match that of his team’s only grows stronger.
Keeping the Eredivisie presence on the podium though, is Kasper Dolberg. The Ajax man has risen to prominence fast, and managed to fill the gap left by Milik’s departure. He didn’t immediately start, but 8 goals in 9 starts have cemented his place in the side, at least for now. Keeping him off top spot though is the still dominant Andre Silva. The Porto man hasn’t been in spectacular scoring form of late, but he’s been a great find for Porto, and emerged as a real leader of the line for them.