5 emerging stars the European heavyweights should monitor
European football has hit top gear. The leagues around the continent have produced some scintillating games in recent months, riddled with drama and excitement. While the heavyweights aim to maintain position atop the food chain, the underdogs have sights set on reaching the summit.
These “underdogs” have given rise to numerous outstanding individuals this season. Some bright stars’ performances have improved their respective teams no end. By maintaining consistency and producing excellent form, such talented prospects must’ve caught the attention of Europe's elite.
If a big-time offer was coming, these young players would definitely look to take a big leap forward. Knowing the great work they've done this campaign, certain top clubs are no doubt scouting them vigorously.
Here's a look at five emerging stars who should all be on the European heavyweights' radar.
Matthijs de Ligt is regarded as the most promising young defender in world football. After watching his game, not many choose to argue against that. The 19-year-old is doing some incredible work for Ajax. At international level, too, where he recently helped the Netherlands shut out France's star-studded attack.
De Ligt is quick, strong and has the composure of a 30-year old pro. His intelligent demeanour, as well as fantastic game-reading abilities, makes him a wanted product in the market. Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool are only some big clubs monitoring him.
Barca would relish signing De Ligt as Pique’s upgrade. Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk would welcome an opportunity to mold his young countryman at Liverpool. There could be a tug-of-war for the blooming centre-back in the summer. If he continues performing this well, he’ll break a fair few transfer records.
Ryan Fraser’s shining brightly this season, having played a significant part in Bournemouth's terrific start. He's been proficient in churning up attacks, perfectly immersing into Eddie Howe’s exciting style. The Scottish winger has scored three goals and provided six assists.
Fraser’s more prolific than some high-profile stars at big clubs nowadays, causing nightmares to opponents with his dangerous movement and close-control. Impressive dedication towards stitching up the Cherries' fast-paced attacks must’ve stirred interest in him among Premier League giants. Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea & Arsenal would all benefit from such a budding talent. He’d also help fulfil the home-grown quota.
Fraser’s electric work in the wings along with his fantastic final balls make him an asset. If he sustains his growth, the future is bright for the 24-year-old.
Fiorentina have unearthed another gem in Federico Chiesa. He's lit up the Viola with some incredible performances this campaign. The 21-year-old Italian is delightful to watch, zooming around in the final third with grace. He’s scored twice this season, while also giving two assists.
While Chiesa's stats may deceive, he's been extremely influential in Fiorentina's exciting attacking moves. His fantastic dribbling ability, as well as pace and intelligence on the counter-attack, would make him an asset to any side. He's averaging two key passes and three dribbles per game in Serie A.
Chiesa’s excellent work has already earned him a national team cap. He's definitely since being eyed by many. Juventus and Inter Milan can thrive having such a pacy, skilful winger, one who will continue to produce majestic moments in Italy's top flight.
Celta Vigo might be in a tough spot right now, yet Maxi Gomez has managed to produce some fireworks this season. He's accompanied the brilliant Iago Aspas perfectly, providing another potent goal-scoring option.
Gomez’ excellent awareness inside the final third and fantastic scoring touch has enabled him to net six times, as well as provide four assists, in 10 appearances this campaign. Though only 22, he's brimming with talent. His predatorial instinct is what every prominent striker needs.
Gomez could be snapped up by a bigger Spanish side like Atletico Madrid in the near future. He may also attain suitors in Italy and Germany. Inter Milan and Bayern Munich would both benefit from having a strong, relentless forward.
Luka Jovic has taken the Bundesliga by storm this season, producing some utterly brilliant moments for Eintracht Frankfurt. At 20 years old, he’s already proving one of the division's best strikers. The Serb currently tops the goal-scoring chart on nine. He's assisted twice so far, too.
Helped by his partners in crime, Sebastian Haller and Ante Rebic, Jovic is loving life right now. His unpredictability is yet to be deciphered by opponents. Clever movement, foxy nature as well as terrific finishing ability make him deadly in the box. He is key for stitching up many of Frankfurt’s goals this campaign.
A genuine heavyweight, Bayern Munich would jump at having Jovic replace Robert Lewandowski. Offers from Italy and Spain could also be on the table. The youngster is rising as Serbia's next big thing and can reach even greater heights should he sustain prolific form.