Quick Reads

Serie A: Top five youngsters to watch out for in 2020

Tarkesh Jha

June 12 2020
Serie A players

Some of these players are already attracting interests from elite European clubs.

Serie A has progressively become a league comprising of some of the most promising and proven young talents in European football. The transfer market dynamics could possibly change once football resumes after the COVID-19 crisis, and hence several clubs could be interested in snapping up and coming footballers to hone them for the coming times.

Here are the five most encouraging prodigies who are currently playing in the Serie A.

5. Alessandra Bastoni

Alessandro Bastoni is a robust centre-back plying his trade for Inter Milan, where he is still striving to cement his place in the first-team. Bastoni has risen through the ranks in the Italian football system, representing the country in various junior levels. Prior to his ongoing stint with Inter, the 21-year-old was loaned to Parma where he created quite a stir with his consistent performances.

Bastoni has made 14 appearances in the Serie A this season

Having become a mainstay of the side, Bastoni turned out in 24 Serie A matches for them in 2018-19 and had a vital role to play in the club avoiding relegation by merely three points. For Inter in 2019-20, the tall defender has made 14 appearances in the league. He has a no-nonsense attitude, and it is evident with the 2.1 clearances and 1.6 tackles that he commits in each game.

However, Bastoni maintains a level-headed demeanor with the ball at his feet, which is suggested by the 88.8% passing accuracy that he has recorded. Alessandra Bastoni’s career so far certainly confirms that he is worth all the hype and investment.

4. Dusan Vlahovic

The 20-year-old Serbian forward has been steadily taking the important steps in his career with Fiorentina, and the team management has been cautious in transitioning him to regular league football. Dusan Vlahovic has racked up impressive statistics this season, as he has scored six goals in overall 22 appearances for the first-team in the Serie A.
Vlahovic has scored six goals in the Serie A this season

However, it should be noted that he had arrived on the field as a substitute in 12 out of these 22 matches. He has scored four goals from 10 starts and has netted twice in 12 substitute appearances. It is perhaps an indicator of the fact that the lad could do with some more time on the field, as he could possibly attempt to get in the groove properly that way.

He is a typical forward, who is well-built, pounces upon the loose balls and has made 2.2 shots per game in 2019-20. Additionally, Vlahovic has also bagged two goals in four Coppa Italia games. It would be interesting to witness whether the forward could sustain his goal-scoring touch if given a longer stretch of games in the future.

3. Dejan Kulusevski

The Juventus-bound forward has made heads turn with his excellent skills on the field. There has been a dearth of quality right-wingers in football as it is a position that has evolved over a course of time with several of such players transforming to become inside forwards instead.

Kulusevski is someone who can carry both these roles convincingly. He doesn’t fade out of the game and is determined to be involved in the proceedings, which is reflected in the five goals and seven assists that he has racked in 23 appearances in the league this campaign.

Kulusevski has five goals and seven assists in the Serie A this season

His control over the ball is prevalent in the two key passes and dribbles that the Parma player registers on an average in each game. He is versatile enough to be deployed in multiple midfield roles and could assume the position upfront if the need arises too.

For a player of his age, the Swede looks to have a good composure in front of the goal though he could arguably work on managing to keep hold of the ball and not being dispossessed regularly.

2. Ismael Bennacer

Another player who is now expected to move elsewhere and seek greener pastures, Ismael Bennacer has created a substantial impact for elite clubs to chase his signature. He plays in the deeper midfield role, and is well-equipped with controlling the pace of the game from that position.

Bennacer has a tendency of being a ball carrier

He has a diverse passing range, but he manages to conveniently maintain possession and build up the pressure on the opposition team before commencing the striking incisive move when the opportunity arises. The Algerian is defensively astute; having recorded 2.4 tackles per game in the 20 matches that he has played for AC Milan this season. Furthermore, he shows a tendency to be a ball-carrier.

It means that Bennacer prefers motoring up ahead to provide passes to his forwards rather than attempting long-range, expansive passes for the same. This is apparent with the three attempted dribbles that he has implemented in every game. At a relatively young age, Ismael Bennacer’s ability to pace the game whilst keeping his actions simple yet assertive demonstrates that the player is one to look out for the future.

1. Sandro Tonali

“He is much more complete than me.” When Andrea Pirlo praises a midfielder, you sit back and observe him play. 20-year-old Sandro Tonali has drawn appreciation from various quarters, and is touted to move to a much more prominent club than Brescia in the future too. What makes him so special though?

Tonali has been praised by Andrea Pirlo himself

He plays as a central midfielder, and unlike the modern-day one who dazzles everyone with their dribbling and footwork, Tonali is tenacious and dogged on the defensive front too. The midfielder chases the ball, recovers it back and then initiates moves ahead with his impeccable passing abilities.

He can bypass the opposition’s midfield and defensive lines with some seamless combination play and has a tendency to find his teammates in the appropriate goal-scoring positions. Tonali has scored one goal and assisted five others in 24 Serie A games to his name this season, and these numbers look set to get better as time progresses.

Note: All statistics are taken from WhoScored.

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