Five young players across Europe that are having breakout seasons

Five young players across Europe that are having breakout seasons

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There is something about young and gifted footballers rising up through the ranks, displacing established names, and playing with uninhibited exuberance that makes us sit up and take notice. Oh, to be young and be carefree!

This season has seen its fair share of young players breaking into their respective teams and announcing their arrival to the world. They may have been on the team’s books for a long time already, but they’ve really broken out this season to assert their importance to their respective teams, and the rest of Europe to boot.

We look at five names that have found their way onto many lips this season, as these boys have, across this past year’s worth of time, cemented their place in their respective teams’ starting eleven.

5. Kingsley Coman Bayern Munich on Loan from Juventus

"Coman is very important for Bayern. He has always done very well for us and I can only say good things about him."

- Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola loves great young talent and rarely misses an opportunity to appreciate the ones he has at his disposal. Blessed with a wealth of talent on the wings at Bayern Munich, Pep has had to make difficult choices during his time there. Often playing Kingsley Coman ahead of the likes of Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery, Mario Gotze, Douglas Costa amongst others, Coman has had a breakthrough season at one of the biggest clubs in the world. No mean task that, for a 19-year-old.

Coman has featured 27 times for Bayern in the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League for Bayern Munich, and he has scored 6 goals and provided 10 assists for Pep Guardiola’s side. His list of fabulous performances include stellar ones against Arsenal and Juventus, and the fact that he has often been preferred ahead of World Cup winner Mario Gotze in the team in itself goes a long way in explaining his ability to a world watching with heightened interest.

Impressively, he hasn’t allowed the weight of expectations get the better of him. Having progressed to the first team of a star studded Paris St. Germain at the tender age of 16, Coman moved to Juventus where he stayed for a year before Bayern signed him up for a loan with an option to complete a permanent transfer for a combined fee of €28million, of which €7million is the loan fee.

The move seems to have left Bayern with a considerable bargain for a player who strongly believes that the best is yet to come from him.

“The ultimate goal is to become the best player in the world,” said the Frenchman after recently debuting for France on the International stage. With the season he’s delivered at 19 years of age, you wouldn’t consider that target he has set himself, entirely impossible.

4. Dele Alli – Tottenham Hotspur

 "He is probably the best young midfielder I have seen in many years. Probably going back as far as Gascoigne."

- Sir Alex Ferguson

So, it’s not everyday that the most decorated manager in English Football praises you in this regard. Indeed, Dele Alli later admitted that he is still waiting to be woken up. Such is the surprise around the praise he has received of late.

There is no doubt whatsoever about his ability. The toast of English football at the moment, the 20-year-old midfielder has made 45 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur this season across all competitions. During this time, he has scored 10 goals and assisted a further 11 goals for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Alli possesses unique a drive as a midfielder, which can turn the momentum of a game on its head—ability very rare for a player of his age group. His combative and all-action style of play echoes in the mold of a young Steven Gerrard, which only bodes well for the now full England International.

His performances continue to inspire awe and in spite of the little disciplinary mishap that has seen his domestic season ended with a ban looming over his head, the future is bright for this English star.

3. Mahmoud Dahoud Borussia Monchengladbach

"Dahoud has a lot of potential. We all know that Gladbach nurture talents who can become world-class stars."

– Lothar Matthaus

Mahmoud Dahoud is a story many would not know of. The reason why we dub him a story and not just a player, pertains to his background. The 20-year-old is of Syrian descent and was born in an area of Kurdish majority. His family is said to have escaped from the Assad regime and having fled to Germany, decided to get their son to follow his dreams of playing football.

Mahmoud Dahoud was fast tracked into the first team following the departure of Christoph Kramer to Bayer Leverkeusen and the Germany U-21 midfielder has made a name for himself since.

Having made a total of 39 appearances for the Bundesliga club this season, Dahoud has 5 goals and 8 assists to his name. With clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already fighting for his signature and amounts as high as €25 million being touted, you’d wonder why he is so highly thought of?

The deal with Mahmoud Dahoud is that he is a box to box midfielder who has a relentless engine to himself with impeccable technique, superb passing skill, impressive dribbling ability and a ferocious shot to his name. What sets him apart though is his mentality.

At this tender age he has already played in the Champions League and has held his own against esteemed oppositions. His numbers call for many to compare him with Julian Weigl and indeed could find himself alongside his fellow German Youth International in the near future.

What a bright future that promises to be for Germany!

2. Ousmane Dembele – Stade Rennais FC

“I’m not surprised by his progress – he has been ready for this stage for a long time. I’ve been speaking to a lot of scouts and for the past three or four years they have known we have a very good player on our hands. But the most important thing is the mentality of the player.”

-Badou Sambague (Ousmane Dembele’s agent)

18 year old Ousmane Dembele is the toast of French Football at the moment. The prestigious Stade Rennais academy has produced some incredible footballers over the years and it seems they’ve struck the jackpot once again with the French-born forward.

Dembele made his first team debut for the French side in November, 2015 against Bordeaux, scoring in his first game and he has seen a steep rise in his stock price since then. The forward now has 12 goals and 5 assists for his club in the Ligue 1 alone in a matter of just 19 starts.

What more, he averages over 5 successful dribbles a game during this time, which makes him the best dribbler in the game this season all across Europe. And if that isn’t enough, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City are all after the young man for his services after a swashbuckling season so far.

With the player, set to move in the summer, there seems to be quite a bidding war in place for his services with rumours suggesting that a sum of €30million might be mooted by his club for his transfer. Watch this space.

1. Julian Weigl – Borussia Dortmund

"It has gone much faster than I have imagined or dreamed of... Previously I had to be realistic in the summer... I came from the second division, in our squad are top players and I just wanted to arrive, soak up a lot, and learn."

– Julian Weigl

Much of the fanfare around Julian Weigl’s steady ascent to the life of a Borussia Dortmund regular, is peppered with tones of surprise. After all, no one had expected the youngest signing of the season, with a meager price tag to his name, to become one of the most sought after young players in Europe in a matter of a year.

The young German had been plying his trade for German Division 2 side 1860 Munich, the season before. Thomas Tuchel came calling for his services early in the summer of 2015 and he hasn’t looked back since.

Having made 45 appearances for Thomas Tuchel’s rip roaring Borussia Dortmund side, the deep lying midfielder has made quite a name for himself across Europe, with the likes of Manchester City and Parist St. Germain said to be monitoring his progress at the German side.

Functioning as a shrewd minded screener in front of his defense, Weigl has portrayed the distinct ability to carry the ball out of defense. His positional play belies his age and he reads the game like no other player his age, or a few groups above. The boy has a rather keen future ahead of him considering he has already caught Pep Guardiola’s eye, who had this to say about him:

"I am excited about him," he said. "I did not know him. He brings in his football all the prerequisites to play there . He is very important for Dortmund, without him it would be different for them."

Honorable Mentions

Leroy Sane – Schalke 04

Sofiane Boufal - Lille

Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich

Sergi Roberto – Barcelona

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