It is very difficult in the modern game for young players to make a breakthrough at club level. There are clubs who are known for their production lines in terms of developing players into their first team squads and selling them on for a massive profit. The big money clubs in Europe will really take advantage of this and generally overlook the players that they have looking to breakthrough their youth teams, there is exceptions in this aspect with the likes of Athletico Madrid and Barcelona. England is looking as the most difficult league for young academy players to make the breakthrough now, with clubs looking to buy young players with a high market value.
So far this season, there have been a number of players who have stood out and are already on the target list of the big clubs around Europe.
The FC Porto youngster has broken records ever since he emerged into the first team for the club. He became the youngest player in the history of the Portuguese National League, the youngest player to captain the first team and the youngest captain in the history of the Champions League. Neves is only eighteen years of age but already has forty three appearances to his name scoring one goal on his debut. The Portugal under 21 international is expected by the experts in Portugal to become a full international by the end of the season, which shows how highly this young centre midfielder is rated. His natural position is considered to be a defensive midfielder however can play further forward; he possesses great vision for a player of his age and shows maturity beyond his years. When watching this player he looks a natural leader on the pitch, constantly communicating with players around him, the ability to keep the ball the way he does is a great skill and a comparison with Monaco’s João Moutinho looks inevitable. Neves is at the centre of speculation already surrounding clubs. Juventus, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are known to be chasing his signature. For a player this age it is important to continue his development so the addition of well-known agent Jorge Mendes who represents Cristiano Ronaldo could be an important factor for the career of Ruben Neves.
Anwar El Ghazi
The talented Ajax forward emerged last season into the first team squad, though from the start he has made this season he is now really making a name for himself. El Ghazi is twenty years of age and is now a full Dutch international, along with Memphis Depay at Manchester United, they are widely tipped to be star international players for many years. Scoring eight goals in nine Eredivisie games thus far, he looks well on his way to leading the goal scoring charts this season. Quick, direct and an instinctive awareness in front of goal El Ghazi really looks to be a player who could play inside as well as out wide. In most games he plays he will start from the right hand side, unleashing his right foot to score and create goals. Tracking back and helping defensively is not one of the strengths to his game right now but with work and discipline he could develop into a real top player for clubs around Europe. Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are known to be keeping tabs on the Dutchman, and other clubs will no doubt follow providing El Ghazi continues his early season form. Ajax is known for producing so many gifted young players with their famous academy and El Ghazi looks to another gem unearthed from this.
The Anderlecht centre midfielder is now eighteen year of age and seems like he has been around for years now. This season will be his third year in the first team of the club, making ninety-three appearances for the club scoring thirteen goals along the way. The young Belgian is an under 21 international and is another in the long list of young Belgians to emerge in recent years. Anderlecht have been known to produce players and make an inevitable profit from these players, Tielemans could be the best they have produced. Plays in the heart of midfield and is never over-awed by any occasion, for a player so young he looks a leader for the team and is the player who links midfield to attack. Not so much of a holding midfielder though he is strong, and he is a strong runner. At his tender age he can develop into different roles in and around the midfield area and also into a number ten role. Back to back young player of the year award has been presented to Tielemans and his profile is rising amongst the big clubs in Europe. Tielemans needs to keep continually playing football and looking to make a break through to the Belgium national team so when the inevitable move comes about it needs to be a smart decision for the choice of club. Arsenal have been scouting Tielemans for a year, and with Bayern Munich and Manchester United linked a potential move could be on the cards soon.