These promising young talents remain under the radar but could break into the limelight in this campaign.
One of the most exciting aspects in football is to witness young players trying to make a name for themselves. The prodigies often find themselves duelling with experienced players and sometimes, comes out on top. As the 2021-22 season beckons, there are a few comparatively lesser-known young players, who are looking to have a breakout season.
These players may not make a claim to be the best young players of the next generation. However, they are exceptional and possess limitless potential. The following young players have impressed their fans and the neutrals at a very young age.
Keeping in mind their talent and potential, these youngsters could become superstars in the years to come. Here are the top 10 upcoming young players to look out for ahead of the 2021-22 season.
10. Ryan Gravenberch
The 19-year-old is currently playing for Eredivisie giants AFC Ajax and is one of their academy graduates. The Dutch outfit is known widely for their impressive youth set-up, which has produced many inspiring footballers over the years. Gravenberch is a central midfielder by trade, who has made 61 appearances for Ajax, at an age of only 19 years.
He featured for the Netherlands at the UEFA EURO 2020, making two appearances. He is also one of the most highly-rated midfielders coming out of the Eredivisie.
9. Ander Barrenetxea
Ander Barrenetxea is an upcoming young winger who plays for Real Sociedad in LaLiga. The 19-year-old is a regular starter for the club and is a graduate from their developmental teams.
Furthermore, Barrenetxea has represented Spain at U18, U19 and U21 levels as well. Several elite clubs have their eyes on the attacker, who brings pace and is direct at the final third.
8. Sergio Arribas
A Real Madrid academy graduate, Sergio Arribas is one of the most highly rated young players in Spain at the moment. One of the biggest positives of the 19-year-old winger is that he is versatile and can play on either wings.
He made eight LaLiga appearances in the 2020-21 season, while also making his UEFA Champions League debut with Los Blancos. Although, Arribas did not have much time on the pitch for the senior team, he has become a regular part of the matchday squad. A loan move could help the attacker in showcasing and developing his talent.
7. Christoph Baumgartner
Christoph Baumgartner is one of Austria’s most promising young players at the moment. At the age of 21, he is already a big part of the national team. The attacking-midfielder scored the winner against Ukraine at UEFA EURO 2020.
Moreover, he played 41 times for TSG Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga last season, recording nine goals and seven assists in the process.
6. Thiago Almada
Thiago Almada is a 20-year-old attacking midfielder hailing from Argentina. The player is close to a move with reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City. Almada already has 80 appearances for his current club, Velez Sarsfield, registering 20 goals and seven assists in the process.
One of South America’s best young players at the moment, Almada has a lot of potential and Manchester City are looking to benefit from it.
5. Brian Brobbey
Brain Brobbey is one of the best upcoming young players coming out of the Ajax academy. The striker had an impressive season with AFC Ajax, scoring 15 goals and registering six assists in 36 overall appearances.
The 19-year-old recently signed for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig ahead of the 2021-22 season. He could be one of the players to watch out for in the upcoming campaign in the Bundesliga, because the league’s reputation of developing young talents.
4. Mikkel Damsgaard
Mikkel Damsgaard was a relatively unknown name even in the Denmark squad ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020. The midfielder possesses extreme utility as he can fit in almost any midfield role or play as a forward too.
The 21-year-old plays for Sampdoria in the Serie A. However, he was impressive for the national team at the Euros where he scored two goals and made one assist. The free-kick goal against England in the semifinals was one the highlights of the tournament.
3. Piero Hincapie
Piero Hincapie is an upcoming defender from Ecuador. The 19-year-old center-back played a central role in guiding the national team to the quarterfinals in the Copa America 2021. He was one of the best youngsters at the tournament.
The defender is one of the most highly-rated young players in South America and impressed everyone with his composure and defensive prowess. He will be under the scanner of several top clubs in Europe and South America ahead of next term.
2. Jeremy Doku
For many, Jeremy Doku was a surprise inclusion in Belgium’s squad ahead of the Euros. However, once the winger took to the pitch, everyone realised what sort of a talent he is. The 19-year-old winger mesmerised everyone in attendance with his electrifying pace and dribbling ability. He was certainly one of the best young players at EURO 2020.
Doku currently plays for Stade Rennais in the Ligue 1. The outfit might find it hard to retain their player as a number of big clubs are rumoured to be lining up for the Belgian’s signature.
1. Jonathan David
Jonathan David is the next big name coming out of Canada after Alphonso Davies. The 21-year-old striker plays for LOSC Lille in the Ligue 1 and was a crucial part of their league triumph in the 2020/21 season.
He registered 13 goals and five assists for the outfit in 48 games. His debut campaign with the club was a huge success and David will be under the radar of several top European clubs.