Our Talent Radar 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.
[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2017 – 22 years old and below]
The first edition of this season’s Talent Radar Performance Rankings kicks off with the young keepers. Last season, the rankings were dominated by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Yoan Cardinale. With the latter now ineligible for this feature, Donnarumma could potentially become the first player to retain his top spot across all four position categories.
But the rankings start off with Bruno Varela, who has an important season at Benfica, having to replace Ederson who impressed last season, earning his move to Manchester City. The Portuguese side have had a slightly inconsistent start both domestically and in Europe, much like Varela. The 22-year-old kept two cleansheets in August, but has had some poor showings – most notably against Rio Ave as he mis-controlled a tame cross onto his own defender for an own goal.
Defending champion Gianluigi Donnarumma, after a turbulent summer in terms of transfer rumours, is in fourth place. He started the season with a clean sheet against Crotone but has failed to keep another since. While he continues to impress with his dominance in the box, more consistently solid performances (and less of the kind we saw against Lazio) will propel him towards the top of these rankings.
Cameroonian Andre Onana finished in the top five of these rankings last season and he started this campaign as Ajax’s number one once again despite their summer managerial change. Much like his side, Onana has had a sub-par start to the season mixed with some fabulous performances – for instance he made six important saves on opening day against Heracles but the side ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 loss. Losing to Rosenborg in the Europa League qualifiers didn’t help either.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is in second spot after some impressive showings in goal for Athletic Bilbao, specifically in the 1-0 win over Eibar. The 22-year-old Spaniard has patiently waited for a regular run of games in the first team and seems to have been rewarded for his perseverance. More to come this season from him for sure!
And the leader of the first edition this season is 22-year-old Thomas Strakosha who becomes the first Albanian to feature in our Talent Radar Performance Rankings across all positional categories. While he did manage a cleansheet in Lazio’s frustrating stalemate with SPAL, his most impressive performance came in the memorable 4-1 win over AC Milan. Despite conceding late on to Riccardo Montolivo, the young keeper will certainly be proud of his showing that evening.