Football clubs are becoming liberally loose with the amount they spend on teenage talent and with the transfer window approaching, here’s some of the best attacking prospects the game has to offer.
When you think of young forwards delivering quality in abundance, you think of Marcus Rashford. Last season we saw the Manchester born striker burst onto the scene, showing devastating pace and a matured style of play. However, being a regular for his boyhood club of late, it’s almost certain to say he wont be available this coming window, or any other for that matter.
Another forward who has shown similar qualities and may even supersede the aforementioned England international in worldwide praise is Kylian Mbappe-Lottin. Likened to fellow Frenchman Henry, he has dazzled in the latter half of this season, making 37 appearances (23 starts) and netting on 22 occasions, distributing goals between both feet and his head showcasing his diverse ability. He boasts one of the best goal-per-minute ratios in Europe, 90 minutes per goal in all competitions, and has broken various records in Ligue 1 so far this season with AS Monaco. With interest coming in from the likes of Real Madrid, Mbappe is certainly one of the most coveted and desired forwards this footballing season.
Staying in France, Yann Karamoh has been a diamond in the rough for the struggling Ligue 1 side SM Caen. Making 31 appearances this season and chipping in with 5 goals and 3 assists, his stats do not reflect his importance to the team. Coming from the same academy as current French superstars N’Golo Kante and Thomas Lemar, Karamoh has been the source of counter attacks and inspiration for his first professional club and if Caen drop to the second division, he would be a useful purchase for any club in search of attacking reinforcements.
Yet, he should be looking for guaranteed game time and not become a loan minion, as many youngsters have the tendency to be. Tammy Abraham of Chelsea will be keen to avoid this, too. He has spent his first senior season in football on loan at Bristol City and has been immaculate. 26 goals in 46 appearances so far, he has started all 38 league games he’s been available for and has shown why Premier League clubs were bidding upwards of £10 million for him in January. Power, pace, height and an innate eye for goal are all in his locker, demonstrating at times this season the aptitude needed to break into a squad such as Chelsea’s. 74 goals in their youth setup and a further 9 for England’s, Tammy Abraham will have to discuss at great length Conte’s first team plans for him if they are to avoid interest from watchful rivals.
Recent news, however, has seen that Manchester City may be unable to keep hold of one of their teenage sensations. Turkish international Enes Ünal has spent the past season and a half on loan in the Netherlands, racking up 25 goals in 40 appearances and showing enough flair to draw praise from current City boss Pep Guardiola. Despite this recent plaudit, work permit restrictions might force the former Bursaspor forward out of England and into the hands of anyone who’s offering. Recent reports suggest a few Calcio A clubs are counting out £15 million to hand over in exchange for Unal, but chances are he may go for much less in the summer.
Another sensation tearing up the Eredivisie this season is Kasper Dolberg, by now a player most people are familiar with due to being heavily linked with Merseyside clubs Everton and Liverpool. This season, Dolberg has managed a goal tally of 19 and as impressive as this is for a 19 year old, this is not his only justification for recognition. His defensive work rate is often missing but this aside, Dolberg has just about every asset a manager can desire; pace, passing ability, finesse, long range shooting ability, aerial threat – the list goes on. He is the most tackled player in his league, an accolade shared by players such as Eden Hazard and Riyad Mahrez in recent seasons, which further represents the style of player he is. Snapped away from Danish side Silkeborg IF in 2015 by Ajax at no cost, Dolberg will be on many shopping lists this window despite his contract running until 2021.
Due to this, he will be an expensive option most clubs wont have the luxury in entertaining. For a more budget price, they could look to Malaga’s Moroccan international Youssef En-Nesyri. Although he doesn’t boast impressive stats, Youssef has shown signs of promise and could be a cut-price option. 6 goals in 6 pre-season games earned the 6ft 4″ striker a professional contract at Malaga, where he has scored 1 goal this season off the bench and is yet to start a game. However, he put on an impressive display in this year’s AFCON tournament, scoring against Togo and being a general nuisance up front for the opposition, and his £125,000 price tag in 2015 means he may be a viable option for those clubs eyeing up a bargain.
Rui Pedro for FC Porto can also fall into this category, making 6 appearances off the bench this season and scoring twice, one strike coming against league rivals SC Braga in a narrow 1-0 victory for Porto. With Andre Silva stealing the limelight at the Portuguese club, Rui Pedro certainly looks impressive and with one year left on his contract, teams with shallow pockets should be keeping an eye on him.
Another name worth a mention is Nicholas D’Agostino who plays down under for Brisbane Roar in Australia’s Hyundai A League. The Sydney born striker has netted twice in seven appearances from the bench but all in just 62 minutes, and possesses all of the attributes of a future Premier League poacher.