Top 10 Under-21 Prospects of 2021 – By Zach Lowy

Zach Lowy casts his eye around European football and provides Bet Central with a list of the top 10 under-21 prospects.

Dušan Vlahović

The last time a foreign striker scored 20 goals in a single Serie A season for Fiorentina, Dušan Vlahović was three months old. It was Gabriel ‘Batigol’ Batistuta, who had reached that landmark on four separate occasions for La Viola before departing for Roma in the summer of 2000 and leading the Giallorossi to a historic Scudetto. Vlahović ended Fiorentina’s cold streak on Saturday after bagging a brace in a 2-0 victory against Lazio to give them three valuable points in their relegation battle, taking his tally up to 21 goals and 2 assists on the season.

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Vlahović joined Partizan’s academy in the summer of 2014, earning a professional contract the following year at 15 years old and becoming the youngest debutant in Partizan history on February 21, 2016. The following match, he became the youngest player to appear in the Eternal derby (Partizan vs. Red Star Belgrade), breaking Luka Jović’s record from two years prior. The individual plaudits continued to rain in, as Vlahović became the youngest player to score in Partizan history after finding the back of the net in a 3-2 victory against Radnik Surdulica.

Whilst a host of European clubs such as Arsenal, Anderlecht, and Juventus cast their eyes on the 16-year-old striker, Partizan remained determined to keep hold of their diamond in the rough for another season. Nevertheless, in June 2017, Fiorentina announced the signing of Vlahović on a five-year contract that became official after his 18th birthday. The Serbian made his Serie A debut on September 25, 2018, in a 1-2 loss to Inter, although he was mainly limited to the reserves in his debut campaign abroad, scoring 19 goals for the Primavera side.

Vlahović was given the start in Fiorentina’s opening match of the season, a 3-4 loss against Napoli, but he was limited to solely substitute appearances for the next three months until an away match against Cagliari on November 10, 2019. The hosts stormed to a 5-0 lead within 65 minutes, but the Serb grabbed two consolation goals to open his account for the Tuscan club. He would grab 7 more goals in all competitions in the 2019/20 campaign, although he struggled to solidify a starting spot ahead Wolves loanee Patrick Cutrone and Federico Chiesa.

He struggled to pick up steam the following season, scoring just 1 goal in the first 11 weeks of the season, although his fortunes changed after Cesare Prandelli replaced Beppe Iachini as Fiorentina manager on November 9. Vlahović converted from the spot in a 1-1 draw against Sassuolo on December 16 and repeated his heroics the following match against Hellas Verona. Nothing would compare to the match on December 22, however, as Vlahović opened the scoring in a 3-0 victory against Juventus in the third minute. Receiving a through ball from Franck Ribéry, Vlahović charged past Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci before deftly tucking the ball past Wojciech Szczęsny.

Vlahović has catapulted himself into stardom in the new year, rising up the Serie A scoring charts (only Cristiano Ronaldo has more goals with 28) whilst scoring in a 3-2 victory against Ireland in a World Cup qualifier on March 24. Whilst Iachini has since stepped back into the coaching role after Prandelli resigned due to personal reasons and a feeling of distress, the Serbian striker can’t seem to stop finding the back of the net for La Viola. At 21 years of age, he’s catching the interest of a wide range of Europe’s leading clubs, and he could be a relatively cheap alternative to Erling Haaland this summer.

Erling Haaland

He turns 21 in two months, and yet, Erling Haaland has already put together a legendary CV and established himself as arguably the hottest commodity in European football. The Norwegian grabbed a brace in a 2-0 victory against Wolfsburg on April 24, taking his tally up to 102 goals in 150 official club matches and 53 goals and 14 assists in 56 matches for Borussia Dortmund. Whether playing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jesse Marsch or Julian Nagelsmann, he has proven time and time again that he is a once-in-a-generation prospect, and it is a matter of when, not if, superagent Mino Raiola finally auctions off his cash cow to one of Europe’s wealthiest clubs.

After spells in Bryne and Molde, Haaland decided to leave his home country and join Red Bull Salzburg on a five-year contract on January 1, 2019. Whilst he was forced to bide his time on the edge of the first team in his first few months abroad, Haaland made his full debut in a play-off match against LASK Linz, bagging the opening goal in the 13th minute as Salzburg took a 2-1 victory at home. The transfer of Munas Dabbur to Sevilla opened the door for Haaland to establish himself in the starting line-up, and after a summer that saw him score nine goals a 12-0 victory against Honduras in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Haaland began to establish himself under Marsch with a sensational 28 goals in 22 appearances, attracting attention from a host of European clubs. However, it was Borussia Dortmund that won the race for him, paying a reported fee of €20 million to pry him away from the competition.

Haaland has made quick work of the Bundesliga, grabbing an astonishing 13 goals in 15 appearances in his debut campaign, including a hat-trick that he scored within 23 minutes of coming on for his debut against Augsburg. Those figures have been dwarfed by his numbers this season — 37 goals and 11 assists — including an astonishing 10 goals in the UEFA Champions League, making him the competition’s top scorer by a two-goal margin over Kylian Mbappé. Although the club are adamant they won’t sell him this summer, they may be tempted to get top value for their prospect before his release clause of €75 million kicks in next summer.

Manchester City will be looking to bring him in as a replacement for the outgoing Sergio Agüero, and they’ll be hoping that their familial connections (his father Alf-Inge spent three years at the club) pay dividends in their favour. Chelsea and Real Madrid will also be licking their lips at a potential Haaland signing, although they’ll likely have to part with around £200 million to bring in the striker, who looks destined to smash Dortmund’s record transfer haul dating back to the sale of Ousmane Dembélé to Barcelona for €145 million.

Phil Foden

Despite losing an early Champions League preview to Chelsea at home, Manchester City are enjoying their greatest season yet under Pep Guardiola. They have already sealed their first piece of silverware, defeating Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup Final, while they have already achieved their third Premier League title in four years under Pep Guardiola. More importantly, they have a chance for revenge and an opportunity to pull off their greatest achievement to date, when they face off against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday. 

Crucial to this excellent form has been the emergence of Phil Foden, who, at 20 years of age, is staking his claim as one of the finest footballers in Europe this season. Born in Stockport, Foden joined the club’s academy at four years old, rising up the academy ranks before making his debut on November 21, 2017, in a match against Feyenoord. Two weeks later, he became the youngest English player to start a Champions League match, breaking Josh McEachran’s record and starting in a 1-2 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk. Whilst other homegrown prospects such as Jadon Sancho and Brahim Díaz left the Etihad in search of more playing time, Foden patiently climbed up Guardiola’s pecking order while racking up an array of individual records and silverware. 

“Even though he is a young player, he is able to do everything. Every game he creates chances,” stated Guardiola after a 2-0 win over Cardiff City on April 3, 2019. “He is an exceptional player but at the same time it is not easy for him, playing in David Silva’s position, Kevin De Bruyne’s position, with İlkay Gündoğan and Bernardo Silva. But he has passion and he wants to be here. We are delighted he is here. I assure you next season he is going to play more minutes than he has this season, and that is the process – you know, calm, and 19 years old.”

This season has been a transitional campaign for City, with David Silva and Leroy Sané leaving for Real Sociedad and Bayern Munich and all-time top scorer Sergio Agüero losing his place in the starting line-up ahead of a summer departure. A 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur saw them languishing in 14th place by late November, but they stormed back and now find themselves on the verge of a historic treble thanks in large part to Foden, the lone homegrown product in City’s entire squad.

A central midfielder by trade, Foden has impressed on the left side of attack, showcasing a maturity in front of goal and an incessant desire to press that has seen him cement a starting spot ahead of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus. He provided a goal and an assist to lead City to their first victory at Anfield since 2003, whilst he found the back of the net in both legs of the Champions League quarterfinals against Borussia Dortmund; in total, the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ has grabbed 14 goals and 10 assists this season, and he has the chance to stamp his name into the annals of history by leading City to their first-ever European trophy.

Nuno Mendes

On October 7, 2002, in the wake of Sporting’s second league title in three years, a 17-year-old winger by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo made his full debut for Sporting under Romanian manager László Bölöni, grabbing a brace in a 3-0 victory over Moreirense. The rest, as they say, is history; Ronaldo would leave Sporting at the end of the season for Manchester United and quickly evolve into one of the greatest players to ever step onto a football pitch.

Nearly 18 years later, Nuno Mendes became the youngest player since Ronaldo to start for Sporting, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory against Tondela on June 12, 2020. The summer departure of Marcos Acuña to Sevilla paved the way for Mendes to solidify a starting spot, and he has done just that. Playing as a left wingback in Rúben Amorim’s 3-4-2-1, Mendes’ smooth and silky performances have seen him earn a maiden call-up to the Portuguese national team and become the youngest player to debut for the Seleção since you guessed it, Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, his convincing string of performance in the recent World Cup qualifiers will almost certainly see him earn a spot in Fernando Santos’ Euros squad and provide solid competition for Raphaël Guerreiro in the left-back position.

Mendes hasn’t been a menace in the penalty box (1 goal and 2 assists), but his importance goes beyond goalscoring numbers. With Pedro Gonçalves typically cutting in from the left flank, the 18-year-old has the license to push forward, provide a constant source of width, and burn opposing fullbacks with his combination of speed, physical prowess, and close control. He is a rare breed of fullback that is capable of engineering scoring opportunities by his own deft thinking and acceleration, and while he has played on the left side of a back five, his resolute performances on the defensive end give him the benefit of the doubt for potential suitors such as Manchester City and Manchester United who play with a four-man backline. Sporting will be looking to hang onto the bulk of their players who ended the club’s 19-year title drought and have led them to an undefeated record in the league, but they may have no other choice but to part with Mendes if an irresistible offer arrives.

Amine Gouiri

“With three goals and two assists already, he is proving to be the lifeblood of Nice’s attacks, and he’ll continue to grow under Patrick Vieira.”

I wrote those words for BET Central in October about Amine Gouiri in my Top 10 Transfers of the 2020 summer window. Plenty has changed since then; Vieira has been sacked and replaced by interim manager Adrian Ursea, whilst Nice have gone from winning their first two games to fighting relegation to currently occupying a mid-table position, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Gouiri’s efficiency in front of goal. The 21-year-old has netted 16 goals and 7 assists in 39 appearances for a Nice side that has often been bereft of creativity and a clear-cut tactical structure this season — time and time again, he has been a one-man attack for Les Aiglons.

Born in France to Algerian parents, Gouiri skyrocketed through the ranks for Lyon and France’s youth teams, but he was unable to get a consistent run of games for his boyhood club and elected to leave for Nice in the summer of 2020, with the French Riviera club paying a fee of €7 million and signing him on a four-year contract. The investment has proven to be one of the bargains of the season, as Gouiri has thrived in an inside forward role, often playing on the left side of the attacking trio and linking up well with Kasper Dolberg in the final third. 

Capable of cutting inside and testing the goalkeeper from range, Gouiri is a rare breed with an impressive killer instinct in front of goal married with close control and effective dribbling in tight spaces. His performances for Nice have seen him earn a nomination for the UNFP’s season-end ‘Best Youngster’ award alongside the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, Maxence Caqueret and Sofiane Diop, and after grabbing 45 goals in 56 appearances for France’s youth teams, it’s only a matter of time before Didier Deschamps rewards him with a maiden call-up for Les Bleus. It is little wonder that Lyon fans are already bemoaning the decision to sell their homegrown prospect for a modest fee and purchase Tino Kadewere and Karl Toko Ekambi for triple the amount they received for him.

Aurélien Tchouaméni

On the other side of the Côte d’Azur, a treasure trove of young talents are leading Monaco to the verge of a return to Champions League football. Caio Henrique (23) has been a revelation at left-back since joining from Atlético Madrid in the summer, Benoît Badiashile (20) has been a stalwart in defence, whilst Youssouf Fofana (22) and Sofiane Diop (20) have impressed with their performances in the middle of the pitch. Perhaps the brightest gem of them all, however, is Aurélien Tchouaméni.

Born in Rouen, France to Cameroonian parents, Tchouaméni joined Bordeaux’s academy at the age of 11 and quickly progressed through the ranks for club and country, playing in the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup in India before signing a professional contract with the first team on November 13, 2017. He made his professional debut eight months later, starting in a UEFA Europa League qualifier against FK Ventspils, before grabbing his first goal in a qualifier against FK Mariupol. After being sporadically used in his first season under Paulo Sousa, Tchouaméni became a key player in the 2019/20 campaign, impressing in midfield and eventually earning a move to Monaco on January 29 with the principality club paying €17.5 million to sign him on a contract through 2024.

He would make just three appearances for Monaco before the stoppage of football due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and when he returned, he found himself under the tutelage of a new manager: Niko Kovač, who had replaced Pablo Moreno in the summer. More importantly, he was dealing with less competition for playing time than before after Tiémoué Bakayoko returned from his loan spell. These two factors opened the door for Tchouaméni to establish his place in the starting line-up, and he has been a driving force for Monaco, who currently sit third in Ligue 1 and are in the Coupe de France semifinals

The 21-year-old is capable of pushing forward from midfield, breaking up the play, and winning possession in dangerous areas. He has been a mainstay in Kovač’s 3-4-3 formation alongside Fofana in the double pivot, adept at protecting the defence with his physical brute and positional awareness while also regaining the ball in the final third and launching counter-attacks, as well as picking out his teammates in ample space.

“People have always compared me to Pogba, because of our physique, and the way we played when we were young,” stated Tchouaméni in an interview with Ligue 1. To be one of the best you have to take inspiration from the best. I look at the way Pogba uses the ball, the way Kanté wins the ball, Vieira’s box to box style, the way Iniesta, Cesc use the ball. I love watching Kevin De Bruyne play.”

He still has a long way to go before matching any of those aforementioned players’ prime levels, but don’t be surprised to see him competing in the same division as De Bruyne, Pogba or Kanté next year, or potentially playing alongside them in the Premier League.

Wesley Fofana

Despite being plagued by injuries throughout the season, Leicester City are on the verge of completing their most successful campaign since their historic Premier League triumph in 2015/16. The Foxes have reached their first FA Cup Final since 1969, where they will face off against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, while they currently have an eight-point cushion over West Ham for Champions League football. One of the key reasons for their impressive form has been Wesley Fofana, who has seamlessly slotted into defence since arriving from Saint-Étienne.

Born in Marseille to Malian parents, Fofana joined Saint-Étienne’s academy at 15 years of age, signing a professional contract on May 15, 2018, and excelling as a defensive midfielder as Les Verts defeated Toulouse in the 2019 Coupe Gambardella Final, the foremost U-19 cup competition in French football, before making his debut on May 18, 2019, as an early substitute for the injured Pierre Yves Polomat in a 3-0 victory over Nice. The following week, Fofana started in defence alongside 32-year-old captain Loïc Perrin in a 1-1 draw against Angers, but he would have to wait another five months before getting an opportunity under new manager Claude Puel.

Bit by bit, Fofana became a key player in defence under the ex Southampton manager and one of the bright spots of a campaign that saw them finish 17th while also progressing to the Coupe de France Final against Paris Saint-Germain. Puel’s side saw themselves reduced to 10 men after Perrin was sent off early on for a horror tackle on Kylian Mbappé, and while they failed to find an answer after Neymar’s opening goal in the 14th minute, they managed to stay in the match until the final whistle thanks to an assured display from the 19-year-old defender, who registered 4 clearances, 6 interceptions, won 2/4 ground duels and aerial duels each and blocked 1 shot. Fofana continued his impressive form throughout autumn as Saint-Étienne took three victories and three clean sheets against Lorient, Strasbourg and Marseille to soar to the top of the table, attracting the attention of Leicester, who paid €35 million + €5 million in bonuses to put an end to an ugly, albeit short-lived transfer saga.

Since arriving in the West Midlands, Fofana has gone from strength to strength under Brendan Rodgers and currently finds himself in the 95th percentile amongst centre backs for progressive carriers (FBRef) as well as the 93rd and 92nd for aerial duels won and tackles. He has been crucial in plugging up holes in defence and playing a leading role following long-term injuries to Caglar Söyüncü and Wilfred Ndidi. Thanks to the French youth international’s assured displays in defence, Leicester find themselves within 90 minutes of achieving their first cup triumph in 21 years and are close to returning to Europe’s elite competition after their heartbreaking collapse in the final weeks of the 2019/20 campaign.

Sven Botman

Three years after narrowly staying up on the final matchday of the season, Lille are on the verge of achieving their first Ligue 1 title since 2011, currently three points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain with just two matches to go. They have done so thanks to one of the stingiest defences in Europe’s top six leagues — only Rúben Amorim’s Sporting have conceded fewer goals than them (15). Mike Maignan has been one of the finest goalkeepers in football this season, keeping the most clean sheets in Europe (19) and saving 77.8% of the shots he has faced — a rate only bettered by Jan Oblak and Keylor Navas — and Zeki Çelik and Reinildo Mandava have excelled in the fullback positions since being plucked from second-tier Turkish side İstanbulspor and Liga NOS team Belenenses SAD, respectively. José Fonte continues to go strong as he approaches 38 years of age, whilst Sven Botman — 16 years younger than his Portuguese teammate — is proving to be a bargain buy after arriving from Ajax last summer.

Born in Badhoevedorp, Netherlands, Botman joined De Toekomst in 2009, earning his stripes in one of the most esteemed academies in the world before electing to leave Ajax on loan and join Heerenveen for the 2019/20 season. Botman impressed for the Super Frisians but found himself locked out of opportunities at his boyhood club, with manager Erik Ten Hag preferring Perr Schuurs, Daley Blind, Lisandro Martínez, Jurriën Timber and Edson Álvarez in the middle of the defence. Sensing an opportunity to snatch an under-the-radar substitute for the departing Gabriel, who would join Arsenal several weeks later for £27 million, Lille sporting director Luis Campos swept in and plucked Botman away from the Eredivisie club for €8 million.

Playing on the left side of the central defensive pairing, Botman blends an imposing physique with a stellar positional awareness and an aggressive style, allowing him to come away on top in the air — only five players in Ligue 1 have won more aerial duels than him (118) — and he isn’t any slouch on the ball, ranking 91% amongst centre backs in terms of progressive passing distance per 90 (4.49) according to FBRef.com and showcasing an ability to break the lines with his wand of a left foot. While the 6’4’ defender can come up flat-footed against smaller, agile forwards, he compensates for this with an expert timing and physical brute that has allowed Lille’s steel-trap defence to remain calm and collected during waves of opposition attacks. In fact, Les Dogues have never lost after scoring the first goal this season, and they haven’t dropped points after going ahead 1-0 since November 1 in a draw against Lyon.

As Lille close in on their first championship in a decade, they do so with the knowledge that this will likely be their final achievement as a unit, a group that has gone from staving off relegation in the final weeks of the 2017/18 season, to returning to the Champions League the following year under manager Christophe Galtier, to stamping their name in the history books. Boubakary Soumaré looks set to depart the club and join Leicester City in the coming weeks, whilst Mike Maignan is linked to a Milan move with the Rossoneri eyeing him as a replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma. L’Équipe have reported that, barring a miracle, Galtier is likely to depart this summer with Lyon and Nice interested, and Botman could be set to follow his teammates out the door. Before doing so, however, he’ll be looking to wrap up the league title and lead Netherlands to glory in the U-21 Euros this summer.

Pedri

When FC Barcelona announced the signing of Pedri on September 2, 2019, plenty of eyebrows were raised in the Spanish football community. The 16-year-old had only made his professional debut for Las Palmas two weeks prior, starting in a 0-1 loss to Huesca before getting the nod in his following two Segunda División matches against Racing Santander and Tenerife. Despite his lack of experience, the reigning La Liga champions saw enough in the teenager to pay a fee of €5 million for his services and tie him down to a five-year contract, before loaning him back to Las Palmas for the rest of the season.

The following months would reap plenty of rewards for Pedri, who became the youngest player in club history to score a goal for the Canary Islands side and spurred Spain to the quarterfinals of the U-17 FIFA World Cup. The youngster impressed in his maiden professional campaign under Pepe Mel, but even in his wildest dreams, he would never be able to predict the events that came next.

As opposed to the big-money purchases of Ousmane Dembélé, Antoine Griezmann or Philippe Coutinho, Pedri was viewed as a long-term option for the first team who arrived for a cheap, low-risk fee, akin to the likes of Moussa Wagué, Emerson, Jean-Clair Todibo, Yerry Mina and Marlon. Unlike those aforementioned players, however, the Spaniard would not have to bide his time as a rotational piece before being eventually shipped out on loan or sold for a marginal fee. Instead, under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman, Pedri has become an indispensable part of the Dutch manager’s 4-3-3 formation.

The 18-year-old has played on the left flank as well as an attacking midfielder, but the majority of his performances have come as the advanced interior midfielder, similar to the position that Andrés Iniesta occupied for countless years. Pedri combines a nonstop work rate with smooth technical ability and a penchant for the extraordinary, and although his numbers in front of goal (3 goals and 6 assists) may not be anything to write home about, it is clear that he is an irreplaceable player for Koeman. The second-youngest player to reach 50 games for the Blaugrana after Bojan Krkić, Pedri has been a bright spot in an unconvincing and inconsistent season from the Catalan giants, locking down a starting spot ahead of the likes of Riqui Puig and Miralem Pjanić and proving to be a jack of all trades in midfield and attack. 

Pedri’s meteoric rise for his club is mirrored only by that of his ascent for the national team; one year after playing in the U-17 World Cup in Brazil, he was called up to Spain’s U-20 side in November 2020. He made his senior debut for La Roja on March 25, coming on as a substitute in a 1-1 draw against Greece, before starting the following two World Cup Qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo. Expect Pedri to play a key role this summer in midfield under Luis Enrique as Spain look to reclaim their European crown.

Pedro Neto

It has been a challenging season for Wolves, who after back-to-back seventh-place finishes under Nuno Espírito Santo, have subsided to a dreary mid-table position. They have been deprived of talismanic striker Raúl Jiménez since he suffered a head collision with Arsenal’s David Luiz on November 29, and while they brought in Willian José from Real Sociedad in the January window, the Brazilian has found the back of the net just once in 14 Premier League appearances. Fábio Silva has done marginally better with 4 goals and 2 assists since arriving from Porto in the summer for a club-record fee, but he too has struggled to replace Jiménez’s impact in front of goal. Only Burnley, Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United have scored fewer league goals than Wolves so far this season (35).

However, Wolves fans have reason for optimism with the emergence of Pedro Neto. Born in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, Neto joined Braga’s academy at the age of 13 and enjoyed a brief loan spell at local side Palmeiras before eventually making his professional debut on May 14, 2017, coming on as a substitute for Pedro Santos and becoming the youngest Braga player to score in Liga NOS in a 4-0 victory against already-relegated Nacional. The following week, manager Abel Ferreira gave him a 29-minute cameo in the final matchday of the season as the Arsenalistas lost to Tondela to finish fifth in the league.

Just when it seemed he was primed for a breakthrough campaign at Braga, he found himself on a plane for Italy as Lazio secured the signing of him and teammate Bruno Jordão for a two-year loan with an obligation to buy the two players for €26 million. It was a bizarre move made all the more questionable over the following two years; the Portuguese winger would play just 55 minutes under Simone Inzaghi, while Jordão would register just 87 minutes for Le Aquile. It’s why, on August 2, 2019, Neto and Jordão joined Wolves for a combined fee of £18 million.

At first glance, it seemed like another case of superagent Jorge Mendes selling two young, unproven players to his preferred English buyer for an outrageous price, but while Jordão has fallen by the wayside before joining Famalicão on loan, Neto has flourished at Molineux. After becoming the first teenager to score a Premier League goal for Wolves in a 2-1 loss to Watford, Neto firmly established his place in the starting line-up and even caused Diogo Jota to depart in search of greater first-team opportunities, eventually joining Liverpool in the summer. The 21-year-old has proven to be a breakthrough sensation at the West Midlands, combining a swift change-of-direction with deft control and quick dribbling, and while he isn’t the most efficient finisher yet, he has the ability to make an impact on either flank with his unpredictable nature, equally capable of driving to the byline and putting in a cross or twisting defenders inside out before cutting in and testing the goalkeeper. While he will miss out on the European Championships after suffering a patella injury, Neto has what it takes to become an essential part of Portugal’s attack for the coming decade and one of the most jaw-dropping players in the Premier League.

Honorable mentions: Reece James, Mason Greenwood, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Maxence Lacroix, Ryan Gravenberch, Noa Lang, Emile Smith Rowe, Arnaud Kalimuendo, Ilaix Moriba, Yacine Adli, David Carmo, Daryl Dike, Anatoliy Trubin, Oliver Skipp, Gonçalo Inácio, Maxence Caqueret, Silas Wamangituka, Florian Wirtz, Alphonso Davies, Angel Gomes, Wilfried Singo, Charles De Ketelaere, Joe Willock, Brian Brobbey, Beto, Jadon Sancho, Vinícius Júnior, Pascal Struijk, Boubacar Kamara, Benoît Badiashile, Moise Kean, Antony, Jonathan David, Alexander Isak, Samuel Chukwueze, Bryan Gil, Jamal Musiala, Ilan Meslier, Pedro Porro, Sofiane Diop, Loïc Badé, Adrien Truffert, Abdallah Sima, Christos Tzolis, Terem Moffi.

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