With the new season well underway, a number of young stars have stated their claims to being the next big thing across Europe, setting themselves up for breakout seasons for their clubs and even on the international stage.
After the pandemic hit finances hard, a number of clubs have been forced to turn to their youth for help, and some youngsters have repaid the faith tenfold.
From defensive midfielders in the mould of Sergio Busquets, to the next centre back to be feared across Europe or the thirty goal a season striker, these young players are putting themselves on the map.
As well as drawing interest from Europe’s giants, they are offering hope of causing upsets in their domestic leagues and continental competitions too.
Here are ten stars who could have a breakout season this year across Europe.
Florian Wertz, 18
Dubbed the next Kai Havertz, despite differences in how the two play, Wirtz hails from the same club, Bayer Leverkusen, in western Germany.
The young German plays in the classic No.10 role, an attacking midfielder who showed his class in Leverkusen’s 4-3 loss against Borussia Dortmund where he got a goal and an assist.
The 18-year-old thrives when running his club's attacks, and recently made his international debut in Germany’s 2-0 win over Lichtenstein and managed an assist in his second appearance.
Wirtz has a bright future ahead, and having got two goals and three assists in three Bundesliga games this season looks set to be a career defining one for the young German.
Eduardo Camavinga, 18
The first of two french midfielders on this list, the youngster impressed at Rennes in the past, where he’s been since he was 11 and scored on his debut for Real Madrid.
Even when his form waned at Rennes, the versatile midfielder has demonstrated he could control the tempo of games from deep, cover wide areas and link play.
Now learning under the likes of Luka Modric, Camavinga will be looking to kick on and impress on the biggest stage at one of the biggest clubs.
Noni Madueke, 19
Noni Madueke is one of an increasing number of young English players who have headed abroad to develop their game.
Playing at PSV, the left-footed right winger sometimes resembles Arjen Robben during passages of play with incisive darts inside and finishes.
The ex-Spurs starlet has netted six times already this season, with one assist, in 11 games and, under the tutelage of Ruud van Nistelrooy, looks set to continue an impressive season.
Conor Gallagher, 21
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One of a number of Chelsea loanees, Gallagher has had a remarkable start to life on loan at Patrick Viera’s Crystal Palace.
In three games the midfielder has two goals and one assist and has consistently stood out as one of the better players on the pitch with two consecutive man of the match awards.
Boundless energy and running into the right channel combined with a desire to get forward has given a reinvigorated Crystal Palace something extra so far this season.
If Gallagher can add a bit of composure when shooting, he might have a season that could give Thomas Tuchel and Patrick Vieira a headache come next summer.
Another young German, Adeyemi plys his trade at RB Salzburg and has started the season so well Liverpool are being heavily linked with the pacey striker.
With six goals in his opening six league games of the season, as well as scoring on his international debut, assisted by Wirtz, Adeyemi has been turning heads across Europe with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich both monitoring his situation as well.
A positionally excellent, high pressing and energetic striker, it’s no surprise some of Europe’s biggest are watching, and Adeyemi looks set to impress this season.
Giovanni Reyna, 18
The American youngster impressed last season before a dip in form and has already netted twice in three games this season before an unfortunate hamstring injury when on international duty.
In Borussia Dortmund’s revamped 4-1-2-1-2 with new boss Marco Rose, Reyna found another level to his game, excelling at finding space between the lines, creating chances and finishing.
Whilst the injury, which will keep him out until October, is a setback, the youngster spent the summer getting stronger to be able to cope with setbacks like this and if he continues his fine form, Dortmund won’t miss Jadon Sancho for long.
Aurelien Tchouameni, 21
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Paul Pogba wants to play with him, and Chelsea are rumoured to want him to play for them, the young French defensive midfielder has been tipped for great things.
More consistent last season than Camavinga, last season Tchouameni ranked second in Ligue 1 for tackles won, and fourth for interceptions.
A destructive defensive midfielder in the mould of Claude Makélélé, Chelsea considered the 21-year-old needing an extra season at Monaco to gain more experience.
That season could see the Frenchman put in another stellar year of work, setting himself up to be one of Europe’s greats in the middle of the pitch.
Sven Botman, 21
The young Dutchman left Ajax because he wasn’t playing and joined a Lille side which would go on to beat PSG for the Ligue 1 title and had one of the best Ligue 1 defensive records in recent decades.
After only one season, the fast, dominating centre-back has already been heavily linked abroad and Wolves almost made the swoop for him, having agreed personal terms.
Despite a rocky start for Lille in Ligue 1, if Botman can continue to perform at the high levels he’s shown then Europe could have a new up and coming centre-back on the block.
Ilaix Moriba, 18
Ilaix Moriba is a product of La Masia and had an unsanctimonious exit from Barcelona over the summer.
Idolising Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, the adaptable midfielder has strength and pace and often favours verticality and directness over Barcelona’s horizontal passing.
Now at RB Leipzig, signing for £13.6 million, the Guinean has the chance of a lifetime to break out onto Europe’s biggest stages this season and given his form at the tail end of last season, looks set to.
Devyne Rensch, 18
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The defensive talent has already become a staple of Erik ten Hag’s defence at Ajax.
Described by Said Ouaali, Ajax's head of youth development, as a "true Ajax defender" because of his comfort in possession, Rensch has played at centre-back and defensive midfield as well as more commonly at right-back.
The two-footed defender is thought to have a future at centre-back, but having made his international debut this month, this season looks to be an important one for him, cementing himself on Europe’s footballing stage.Read More Read More