Football is the most followed sport in the world and the most entertaining part at the start of the year of course, is to analyse the emerging prospects.
So, here is a list of ‘em players who can make it big this year:
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy, AC Milan)
Bursting into spotlight last season, the AC Milan showstopper is currently regarded as one of the best (or the best?), he has been on every major club’s shortlist this year, including Juventus, who are searching for the replacement to the legendary Italian goalie Gigi Buffon, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and will retire after the 2018 World Cup.
Donnarumma is known for his lightning quick reflexes and positioning behind the goal for Milan. 17 games this season, 6 clean sheets, 61 saves.
And his age? 17. Go figure.
Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria, Manchester City)
The 20 year old Wunderkid from Nigeria, Iheanacho set the Premier League ablaze towards the end of last season, and is gifted with a powerful left foot.
He loves to have a go from distance, and despite starting 11 games last season, he had an incredible 14 goals, only behind Sergio Aguero, the Argentine forward and Kevin de Bruyne, the attacking midfielder who is another all-round attacking midfielder.
His opportunities have been limited this season and he has been linked with a loan spell away from the club this transfer window.
Football fans must be rubbing their hands with anticipation now. Iheanacho too.
Dele Alli (England, Tottenham Hotspur)
He is one player who has grabbed the spotlight like no other, and has scored 20 times in 52 Premier League games, one of the fastest ever to get to that mark, and has looked in ominous form, especially after he scored a brace against Chelsea yesterday. The 20 year old attacking midfielder who can play in other positions too, he has been a revelation of sorts considering he was playing in League One in England 20 months ago, which is two tiers below the top flight in English Football.
Now he is being courted by various top flight clubs and Tottenham will do well to keep the now-England international.
Pace, agility and work off the ball have been his strengths.
Leon Bailey(Jamaica, Genk)
One of the hottest properties on the transfer market right now, Genk winger leon Bailey has been linked to a host of top clubs like Manchester United, to name one.
He has been a constant worry for the opposition defenders and has exquisite skills and searing pace to match. He has proven his European pedigree by scoring 4 times in 6 matches in the Europa league, Europe’s second tier competition.
He is highly ambitious too, with him stating he has to have a place in any team’s starting XI.
Such ambition may force this 19 year old to bury Manchester United’s hopes, but we are not the ones to judge are we?
Niklas Sule (Germany, 1899 Hoffenheim)
The player who has been on the tips of every scout’s tongue probably.
He is the centre back every team would want. Tall, strong and a level headed player who has incidentally been booked just 7 times in 83 Bundesliga (the German top flight) matches and can read the game very well. Why look anywhere else?And to top it all off, he’s just 21 years old, and is a threat going forward as well, considering the fact he started out as a striker.
He was imperious for Germany in the 2016 Olympics to, and probably his only weakness is that while he is not slow, strikers and wingers who are mobile can cause him some problems.
But, the number of strengths in his game far outweigh his weaknesses, and whichever club lands him now (Liverpool, Chelsea, Napoli all are in the running) would do good to utilise the talents of this already world-class youngster.
There you go. Watch out for these youngsters people. And also, drink some coffee, for we need some adrenalin pumped into our veins.