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 – 21 years old and below]
With increasing tactical complexity on show, the role of the forward is now the least defined of them all. We have target men, poachers, false 9’s, wide forwards, and pretty much everything in between. The increasing speed and skill of these players also continues to confound expectations and logic, with the watching public being the ultimate winners. The next generation of young forwards is set to impress, and here we have 10 of them.
We begin this list with Celta’s Maxi Gomez. The striker has fallen down a few places on our rankings because he missed a few games. But he’s back now, and scoring goals as well. He scored a fine strike in Celta’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Barcelona recently. Alongside him is Anthony Martial. The French striker has had to be satisfied with a bit part role at United, and finds himself competing with Rashford for playing time. Fortunately for the Red Devils, that hasn’t diminished his contributions. He’s chipped in with 9 goals across all competitions, despite playing less than 900 minutes overall.
Malcom has been a top drawer signing for Bordeaux. He’s been a little inconsistent of late, and that’s why he’s dropped down the rankings a little. Aside from that though, he’s been scoring some fantastic goals. The goal against Dijon, for example, was a real stunner, exhibiting his mercurial talents. Another young Brazilian making waves is Richarlison. The Watford man has been a revelation despite having spent less than half a season in England. His dribbling and running on the ball have been key to Silva’s counter attacking football, and Watford’s success so far this season.
Antonio Sanabria topped the last set of these rankings, but some inconsistent performances from him and his side have seen him fall a few places down the ladder. He’s scored just 1 goal in the last month and a half, and it will be important for him and Betis that he recovers quickly.
While we have established a hierarchy for the sake of the rankings, the battle at the top is very close indeed. The first member of this incredible contingent at the top is Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City forward has continued his fine form this season, despite having to play second fiddle to Aguero quite often. That hasn’t stopped him from scoring 8 goals this season, contributing to the dynamic City attack. Just above him in fourth place is Timo Werner. After a slightly sluggish start to the season, Werner is back in form. Werner really is a pretty special young talent, with his speed, movement, and sharp finishing winning him accolades from across the board. He’s scored 12 goals this season in 21 appearances, and is only improving.
There really isn’t much as all to separate a pretty incredible top 3. Number 3 in this particular list is Kylian Mbappe. The top scorers in the Champions League, PSG, have easily the scariest attack in the world. The searing pace and deadly finishing of Mbappe have been a fine addition to Neymar and Cavani’s style of play. Even though he had a bad game on his return to parent club Monaco, he’s easily made up for it with his 11 goals and 7 assists. The 18 year old is set to dominate this list for a long time to come.
Hirving Lozano has moved up into second place, having maintained his fine form for PSV. His side have continued their winning streak and remain atop the standings, with Lozano maintaining his fine record of 13 goal contributions in 12 games.
Top of the list this time is Leroy Sane. The German forward has been incredible for a spectacular Manchester City side. He’s got the opportunity to show his talents thanks to an injury to Benjamin Mendy, with Guardiola admitting he brought Sane in to lend extra width to the attack. He’s done that and so much more. 6 goals and 6 assists in just 10 starts is testament to his quality. His combination with David Silva down the City left has caused every team in England all sorts of problems. Keep playing this way, and even Mbappe will have trouble deposing him.