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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]
The forward rankings have returned for the first time since just after the winter break, as the season has gone from its half way point towards a very crucial time, as the Champions League knockouts have begun and the league seasons are also heating up. Strikers have made a big difference, with the likes of Mbappe, Silva and Werner, all of whom have been close to the top scorer charts of their league, also spearheading title challenges for their teams. With that in mind, we must acknowledge the 10 best young strikers in Europe today.
We begin the list with Balde Keita of Lazio. The striker has been around for what seems likes forever, but has found his niche playing in the wide areas at Lazio. He’s been a lot more than just a goalscorer, with the role being creative as well. His goals and assists have weighed in heavily for this solid team.
Another new entry is Steve Mounie. The young striker has forced his way into this list with his recent run of form. 7 goals in his last 7 appearances have taken his tally for the season to 13. He’s also on an incredible streak of 5 goals in his last 5 appearances. The last of these even won him a spot on our latest TOTW.
Yet another new entry is Serge Gnabry. The ex-Arsenal man moved to Werder to try and get some first team football. The ploy has been a good one, as he’s also seemingly on the verge of breaking into the Germany team. Gnabry has been played in several different positions across the park, and he’s been a big hit. He’s got 10 goals in his 22 Bundesliga appearances, not a bad return at all.
Sandro Ramirez sees a rise in his ranking, but this is more down to the drop experienced by those around him, than due to his performances alone. The Spaniard missed large chunks of action in February, and hasn’t been very effective in front of goal either.
At 6 in our rankings is another striker who has fallen. In fact, Unal started off near the top, but has only seen his ranking drop, as he hasn’t been able to maintain his goal output. With that being said, he ahs scored 12 times in 23 appearances, with is better than half a goal a game. Unal has also evolved his game as a target man striker, and the City loanee can be happy with his season on the whole.
To start off the top 5, we have Ajax’s Kasper Dolberg. The Ajax man got a slightly late start to his season, but he’s more than made up for it during his time in the team. He’s scored 15 goals so far in Ajax’s chase for the Eredivisie crown, including some beautiful strikes. His skill, pace, and movement have set him apart and made him one of the most fearsome strikers in the league.
Getting to one of the climbers on this list, we have Giovanni Simeone. The young Simeone has had a great season with Genoa, scoring a lot of important goals at important times. He’s got 10 goals in 21 starts, which is a good average. The goals have dried up a bit in the past month, but that doesn’t take away from the season he’s having, breaking through at the top level.
The podium remains almost constant, except for 3rd place. We have Kylian Mbappe occupying this spot, and the youngster has come up to this spot from 6th. Mbappe didn’t start as the first choice, but he’s broken into the team alongside Radamel Falcao, and is now commonly acknowledged as one of the most talented youngsters in European football. He’s made a great impression not just in Ligue 1, but also in European competition.
The top 2 stay as they are, with Andre Silva in second, and Timo Werner at the top. Silva has continued his predatory goal scoring work and has made it to 15 goals for the season. Porto are in a tough title race with Benfica, and Silva’s goals might be the difference at the end of the season.
Remaining on top is Timo Werner. The German striker has been on top of his game, with his pace and running causing trouble for defences all over Germany. His partnership with Emil Forsberg has been very profitable for Leipzig indeed.