A player hailed as the 'next Fabregas' features in this run down of top talent - Which Premier League clubs should rush to snap them up, and will they make it big?
As we say au revoir, adios, and chao to 2012 and enter the New Year, here are some picks of the crop of young players from the continent to watch out for in 2013.
First up is Lyon-born Alexandre Lacazette – hailed as the brightest star of the new generation as Lyon look to retrieve their hold over Ligue 1 amidst revolution at Paris Saint-Germain and renovation at Marseille.
At just 21 years of age, he’s already broken though the ranks at his boyhood club and has scored 7 goals – utilized currently as a winger, he possesses the quality and technique of a striker and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him deployed more centrally as he matures.
Similarly his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Insigne has been recalled back to his hometown of Naples to bolster the attacking options in the absence of Ezequiel Lavezzi. Insigne, also 21, already has the capability of being a 20 goal per season forward for Napoli, as he proved out on loan the past three seasons.
He made his senior debut for the Italian national team this year and his versatility – he can play on either flank or through the centre of attack – he will likely find more regular first-team opportunities as the season goes on.
Next we head to La Liga where Real Sociedad have developed a 20 year old who has the potential to become one of the best midfielders in the world. Ruben Pardo has already featured a number of times for Spain at youth level and will be looking to make more of an impression on the league next year.
He needs a good few seasons to develop but I wouldn’t be surprised to find him making a ‘big move’ in the next couple of years – he’s a quality playmaker in the making in the same vein as a Cesc Fabregas or an Isco – he might just be ‘the next next Cesc Fabregas’.
And, finally, we end where we began at Lyon – this time it’s 18-year-old striker Yassine Benzia – he has the potential to become an absolute goal-machine. He netted 9 goals in 9 appearances for France’s U18 and has subsequently been promoted to the U19 squad where he’s continued to impress.
I imagine he’ll have to wait for the World Cup 2014 to get a call up to the senior squad but, between him and Lacazette, Lyon and France have two of the most dangerous future stars on their hands. Watch out world.
image: © korobukkuru