These youngsters have shown their worth and can prove their capabilities with more game-time in the new season.
A new season brings new hopes and aspirations. Clubs and players undergo a summer of change to recharge themselves up for the upcoming battles. It also brings a fresh approach among fans, who are ready to welcome the new players and once again support their teams in their quest for bragging rights. The new season also shows us the next generation, who are on course to carry forward the legacy of their illustrious predecessors.
Some of these youngsters have made a name for themselves, while others are on course to become prominent names. These forwards have proven their capability and are sure to shine in the new season. We look at the top 10 young forwards who will turn people’s heads in the 2021-22 season:
10. Kaio Jorge
Kaio Jorge became the sixth-youngest player to represent Santos when he made his debut in 2018. He was 16 years and 240 days at the time. Kaio has since scored 17 goals in 84 games for the club made famous by Neymar and Pele among many others. The 19-year old is quick-footed and is a good striker from distance. He is still rustic, getting dispossessed almost once a game and committing 2.5 bad touches on the ball/game.
The striker represented the Brazilian national team at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Playing on home turf, he led the Selecao to the title, scoring five goals and providing an assist in the process. He received the Bronze Boot for his efforts.
This summer, Jorge completed a €3m move to Serie A giants Juventus. The young striker has a chance to play and learn from forwards such as Alvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala, and of course Cristiano Ronaldo. This would certainly help him polish his game and turn into a more mature striker.
9. Matthew Hoppe
Matthew Hoppe was one of the few bright sparks in a disastrous 2020-21 season for Schalke. The Gelsenkirchen club finished rock-bottom of the Bundesliga. They dropped into the second division of German football for the first time since 1988.
Hoppe scored six goals in his first season in top-tier football, the highest in the Schalke squad. The 6′ 3″ striker is strong in the air, possesses good pace and positional awareness and is built well for the Premier League. Understandably, Everton and Newcastle United have shown interest in signing the talented striker. Hoppe could follow fellow Americans Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent from the Bundesliga to England.
8. Timothy Weah
The son of the 1995 Ballon d’Or winner and current president of Liberia, George Weah, the United States international has made only 42 appearances in four full seasons. Therefore, he still hasn’t been given a longer rope in club football. Last season, Timothy scored only three goals in 28 league games for Ligue 1 champions Lille.
Timothy Weah posted a decent shot accuracy of 58% which will improve with time. He also succeeded in 68% of his tackles. It makes him an ideal presence for clubs that employ high-pressing tactics and counter-attacks.
He scored twice in six games in the Europa League. Timothy also posted a 63% tackle success rate, showing his work-rate and playmaking capability. Only 21 and with more game-time and service, Weah certainly possesses all the traits to become one of the most complete forwards of his generation.
7. Brian Brobbey
The Ajax academy graduate recently completed a move to RB Leipzig. Brian Brobbey only got promoted to the senior side last season after three impressive campaigns with their reserves.
He only got 432 minutes of action in 19 games across all competitions. But, Brobbey chipped in with six goals, averaging a goal every 72 minutes. He scored three in the league (one every 86 minutes) and the Europa League respectively (one every 57 minutes).
Now at a club and league conducive to his development, he would have players who feed more into his desire for scoring goals. Therefore, he is definitely another of the young forwards to watch in the Bundesliga this season.
Antony signed for Ajax from Sao Paulo last summer for a fee of €15.75m. The 2020 Olympics gold medalist enjoyed a fruitful first season, scoring 10 goals in all competitions, the fourth-highest in the Ajax squad. Antony scored nine goals in 32 Eredivisie games, almost double his xG of 4.6. The diminutive forward also provided eight assists, with a passing accuracy of 81%.
Antony was also part of the Olympic gold medal-winning Brazil squad this year. All these stats indicate a potential breakout season for the promising, hardworking and versatile Brazilian in 2021-22.
5. Youssoufa Moukoko
The prodigal sensation broke into the first team of Dortmund at the age of just 16. He became the youngest player to play in the Bundesliga and the Champions League last season. He also became the youngest to score in the Bundesliga. Youssoufa Moukoko has scored a frankly ridiculous 141 goals in 88 games for Dortmund’s U-17 and U-19 sides.
He featured in 15 games in all competitions for Dortmund and scored thrice, all in the league. Moukoko still has a long way ahead of him and might not get a lot of game-time due to the presence of Erling Haaland and the recent signing of Donyell Malen. But, his hunger for goals and considering that he is at a club that brings the best out of young forwards makes him one to watch for the season.
4. Pedro Neto
The 21-year old Portuguese has sparkled at Wolverhampton Wanderers since joining the club in 2019. Last season, Neto scored five goals, the highest in the Wolves squad and provided six assists in 31 league games.
He also completed a stunning 89% of his passes and posted a shot accuracy rate of 65%, while attempting 2.15 shots/game. Neto completed a sensational 9.64 progressive carries/game, which allowed him to complete 2.6 dribbles/game. He also generated close to four shot-creating actions/game.
Neto’s versatility means he can play anywhere across the frontline, although he is at his best on the left-wing. Despite his low output in goals, Neto’s maturity, skill and durability make him an outstanding prospect. If he maintains his form and consistency, it won’t be long before the big clubs come calling for him. He is certainly one of the young forwards to watch out for in the Premier League.
3. Jonathan David
The Gent Academy graduate was one of the chief architects of Lille’s historic Ligue 1 triumph last season, scoring 13 goals and providing two assists in 37 league games.
Despite what might seem like a low tally, David creates quality chances out of his shots. Last season, he notched a creditable shooting accuracy of 60% in the league. He won 53% of his tackles, which makes him an ideal candidate for clubs like Liverpool, who emphasize high-pressing football.
Jonathan David has also scored 15 goals in just 16 games for the Canadian national team. The Canadian has matured into a well-rounded centre-forward. A continued run of good form is sure to see plenty of Europe’s big clubs seek his signature.
2. Myron Boadu
Like Brian Brobbey, Myron Boadu is another exciting prospect coming out of the Dutch talent conveyor belt this season. The AZ Alkmaar academy graduate scored 15 goals in 31 games in the Eredivisie last season.
The 21-year old recently moved to Monaco for €17m. Last season, Boadu tallied 1.61 shots/game with an accuracy of 53.3%. Termed as a “modern poacher” with a high focus on getting into goalscoring positions closer to goal, his figures last season put this into perspective.
Boadu also completed 79% of his passes and won 59% of his tackles. Now in a team containing creative players like Cesc Fabregas, Aurelien Tchouameni and Wissam Ben Yedder among others, Boadu has the perfect culture and elements to develop himself into a lethal striker. With continued form, there is no limit to what Boadu could achieve and a move to a top European club could soon be in the making.
1. Dusan Vlahovic
Dusan Vlahovic is another of the young forwards to watch out for this season. He is coming off his most prolific season-to-date. The Serbian scored 21 goals in 35 league games for Fiorentina, the fourth-highest in the league last season. He exceeded his xG tally of 19.
Vlahovic put up a 62% shot accuracy. He also provided three assists while completing 67% of his passes. The Serbian is a beast in the box, who uses his height to great advantage. His physically imposing frame and presence also helped him win 54% of his tackles for La Viola.
Vlahovic’s continued form for Fiorentina has already seen plenty of clubs knock on the doors of the Florence-based club. Another fine season is sure to see him set foot among the creme-de-la-creme of European football.