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Ranking the 10 best deals of the January transfer window

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With a quiet January transfer window now complete, theScore ranks the 10 best moves made across the game’s top leagues.

10. Gift Orban ?? Lyon

Isosport/MB Media / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Gent for reported €12M fee

There were some concerns when Gent signed Orban in January 2023. His scoring record of 20 goals in just 21 starts was clearly impressive, but that was in Norway’s second tier. Those reservations were soon forgotten as he amassed nine goals and two assists over 10 Belgian Pro League appearances and struck five times in five Conference League outings. His productivity has since slowed, but €12 million for an intensely competitive 21-year-old striker could prove extremely fruitful business for Lyon. Orban’s outgoing personality should also be a welcome addition to the dressing room.

9. Timo Werner ?? Tottenham

Details: Signed on loan from RB Leipzig with reported €17M option to buy

Like many transfers in the January window, bringing in Werner presented a low-risk deal for Tottenham. If it works out, €17 million is an affordable sum for a forward of Werner’s pedigree. The German was largely ineffective over his first two appearances but was much better in his third outing, setting up Destiny Udogie and Brennan Johnson for goals in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Brentford. His incredible work ethic and pace, paired with Ange Postecoglou’s ability to instill belief in his players, could make this a great move for both parties.

8. Said Benrahma ?? Lyon

Details: Signed from West Ham in deal worth up to €20.4M

Lyon fought for this one, and it should pay off. After battling some administrative issues, the Ligue 1 side completed the deal a day later than expected, announcing Benrahma had joined on an initial €6-million loan deal that could become permanent for another €14.4 million. It’s a low-risk move that should enliven Lyon’s struggling attack. Benrahma’s a functional system player who can break games open and change their pace with the flick of a foot. Though he started just five times for West Ham in the Premier League this season, he hasn’t lost those progressive traits.

7. Marcos Leonardo ?? Benfica

Zed Jameson/MB Media / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Santos for reported €18M fee

You just know Benfica are onto something here. They always are. Leonardo arrives from Santos in a deal that could look like a bargain in the years to come. Despite playing for one of the worst Santos sides in its 111-year history, the 20-year-old still managed to score 26 goals in 66 league appearances. He’s an old-school striker who loves to hang in the penalty area, and if Benfica can provide him with the right service, he’ll have no issues doubling that goal-scoring return.

6. Tommaso Baldanzi ?? Roma

Details: Signed from Empoli for reported €15M fee

The deal for Baldanzi is perfect in nearly every sense. Roma get a long-term replacement for Paulo Dybala without breaking the bank or running further afoul of Financial Fair Play regulations. The future Italian international also satisfies the club’s long-held preference for central attacking midfielders. Baldanzi even idolized Dybala during his formative years at Empoli. He could’ve waited to go to a club fighting for trophies, but he’ll get far more playing time at Roma, especially if Dybala’s injury issues persist.

5. Adam Wharton ?? Crystal Palace

Details: Signed from Blackburn Rovers for reported initial £18M fee

Crystal Palace are no strangers to fishing in the EFL. They plucked the thrilling double act of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise from the Championship, and it took an impressive loan spell at Swansea City to convince the Eagles to sign Marc Guehi from Chelsea. Wharton is the next to join that contingent. The 19-year-old will bring some much-needed solidity to the midfield, but his admiration of Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, and Rodri hints at how much he treasures possession. He displays so much composure while he instigates attacks from the base of midfield.

4. Valentin Barco ?? Brighton & Hove Albion


Details: Signed from Boca Juniors for reported $10M fee

Tipping a player that Brighton & Hove Albion bought to shine usually works out, right? For a modest fee, the south coast club has acquired a cocksure 19-year-old who can play in any position down the left and also appeared across the midfield for Boca Juniors. Barco is a slippery operator, regularly dribbling past opponents and becoming difficult to track down once he’s wriggled free, and he’s constantly trying to ignite attacks with probing passes. It might take time for him to be a regular in Roberto De Zerbi’s lineup, but this signing should be yet another example of the Seagulls’ South American scouting network striking gold.

3. Jadon Sancho ?? Borussia Dortmund

Details: Signed on loan from Manchester United

Sancho is back at Dortmund – albeit temporarily – after leaving for Manchester United for around €85 million in 2021. The winger had a much-documented spat with Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag, and it’s difficult to envision a route back into the first team while the Dutchman’s in charge. By contrast, Sancho has been given a warm welcome in Germany, with club executives claiming he has no disciplinary issues and is in fine condition after being frozen out at United. It seems Sancho is in an ideal environment to revive his career.

2. Claudio Echeverri ?? Manchester City

Details: Signed from River Plate for reported £12.5M fee

Manchester City continue to bet on young talent during the January transfer window. Highly rated midfielder Echeverri follows in the footsteps of Julian Alvarez as the latest under-23 South American to sign for, if not necessarily join, the Premier League champions in the winter. Like Alvarez, whom City also signed from River Plate, Echeverri has been sent back to his boyhood club on loan for the year, allowing him to continue his development in a controlled environment. He’ll then arrive in Manchester in January 2025. City continue to hit the right note, never panicking while other clubs scramble for that elusive extra oomph to end the season.

1. Arthur Vermeeren ?? Atletico Madrid

Angel Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Royal Antwerp for reported €18M fee

At just 18, Vermeeren already boasts plenty of experience. He played more minutes than any other player in Belgium’s top flight over 2023 and even captained Royal Antwerp during this season’s Champions League group stage. The midfielder has already won the Belgian league, cup, and super cup, too. Vermeeren might lack some physicality – and that weakness might not seem ideal when he’s going to play under the combative Diego Simeone – but he has a Koke-esque knack of progressing play while producing more interceptions, blocks, and clearances than the Atletico Madrid veteran. An €18-million deal is a bargain for someone who could become one of Europe’s leading midfielders.

Honorable mentions: Fabio Carvalho (Hull City), Radu Dragusin (Tottenham Hotspur)

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Transfer Deadline Day Live: Breaking down all the major deals, rumors

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Transfer deadline day is in full swing. We’re providing live, quick-hit analysis of the biggest deals and rumors until tonight’s 6 p.m. ET deadline.

Give Chelsea all of your money

Chelsea are the headline act again at the transfer deadline – but playing a different role entirely. Languishing in 10th place in the Premier League standings and without Champions League football on the horizon, the cash-guzzling Blues desperately need funds to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations ahead of the 2024-25 season. Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher are reportedly up for sale, not because they’re angling to leave but because they offer the juiciest profit margin. Chelsea are raising academy graduates for financial slaughter, having pawned off Lewis Hall, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Mason Mount for tens of millions of pounds in pure profit over the last six months. Fulham are interested in taking Broja off Chelsea’s hands, just not at the quoted £50-million asking price, according to BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty. A loan deal could be a welcome compromise.

Bayern getting instant relief

M. Donato / FC Bayern / Getty

Bayern are closing out the window strong. Signing Sacha Boey from Galatasaray for a reported €30 million solves a crisis at the right-back position, where midfielder Konrad Laimer and left-back Raphael Guerreiro have split time as square-peg-round-hole replacements for the injured Noussair Mazraoui. Further injuries to wingers Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman forced Bayern to bring in 22-year-old Granada winger Bryan Zaragoza six months ahead of his expected move to the Bavarians. The deals give Bayern the depth they need to continue competing on all fronts. Given their sputtering form and a surprisingly sustained challenge from Bundesliga title rivals Bayer Leverkusen, they need all the help they can get.

No place like home for Hojbjerg

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s future at Tottenham Hotspur has been up in the air since Antonio Conte left the club in March 2023 – and it’ll be suspended in motion for a while longer. Hojbjerg, one of former manager Conte’s soldiers in midfield, has made just five Premier League starts under Ange Postecoglou. And while he remains on the periphery of Postecoglou’s plans, Hojbjerg remains committed to the cause. He doesn’t lack options – Juventus, Napoli, Ajax, and Lyon reportedly expressed interest in the midfielder – but still feels part of something big in north London. Credit to Postecoglou for making a player with such limited minutes feel connected to the cause.

Forest keep wheeling and dealing

Nottingham Forest are sticking to their usual deadline-day formula. Having closed out the 2023 summer transfer window with an incredible seven signings, Forest are back to juggling negotiations. They’ve completed the signing of highly rated Portuguese striker Rodrigo Ribeiro from Sporting CP and Gio Reyna on loan from Borussia Dortmund. Forest are also reportedly flying in Strasbourg goalkeeper Matz Sels after abandoning talks with Crystal Palace over shot-stopper Sam Johnstone. They’re allowing some departures, too, with Serge Aurier expected to leave for Galatasaray and Orel Mangala heading for Lyon.

Other deals to watch today …

  • Said Benrahma to Lyon
  • Stefano Sensi to Leicester City
  • Tommaso Baldanzi to Roma
  • Hugo Ekitike to Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Antonio Nusa to Brentford
  • Bryan Gil to Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Enes Unal to Bournemouth
  • Serge Aurier to Galatasaray
  • Thomas Meunier to Burnley
  • Rafa Mir to Valencia
  • Maxwel Cornet to Crystal Palace
  • Matz Sels to Nottingham Forest

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The Best FIFA awards: Follow live as Messi, Bonmati eye more trophies

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World football’s top players and managers of 2023 are being recognized at The Best FIFA Football Awards show on Monday. Below, theScore is tracking all the winners of the various trophies handed out in London.

Best Men’s Player finalists

  • Erling Haaland (Manchester City and Norway)
  • Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain and France)
  • Lionel Messi (Inter Miami and Argentina)

Can Messi get one over on Mbappe yet again? The Argentine will look to retain the honor he won last year when he beat out his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate. The two superstars will face stiff competition from Manchester City striker Haaland for FIFA’s top individual prize, which was inaugurated in 2016 following the governing body’s split with Ballon d’Or organizer France Football. For this year’s award, accomplishments from Dec. 19, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2023, were taken into consideration by voters.

2022 winner: Lionel Messi

Best Women’s Player finalists

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty
  • Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Linda Caicedo (Real Madrid and Colombia)
  • Jennifer Hermoso (Tigres and Spain)

Bonmati can cap one of the most dominant individual seasons in the history of women’s soccer on Monday. The World Cup-winning midfielder, already having captured the Ballon d’Or and various other accolades over the last 12 months, is looking to succeed compatriot Putellas, who won this award in each of the last two years. The qualifying period for this year’s honor was Aug. 1, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2023, the date of the most recent Women’s World Cup final, which saw Bonmati’s Spain defeat England.

2022 winner: Alexia Putellas

Puskas Award finalists

One of the sport’s most coveted individual trophies. This year’s Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal, covers the period between Dec. 19, 2022, and Aug. 20, 2023. Finalists include a long-range strike to conclude an excellent team move, a sensational bicycle kick, and a perfect rabona.

2022 winner: Marcin Oleksy

Best Men’s Coach finalists

  • Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
  • Simone Inzaghi (Inter Milan)
  • Luciano Spalletti (Napoli)

A trio of club managers are vying for the men’s coaching award; though Spalletti is the current Italy boss, his nomination came on the back of an enchanting title-winning campaign at Napoli. The two tacticians who were on the touchline for last season’s Champions League final, Guardiola and Inzaghi, square off once again, with the Manchester City boss considered the favorite after his team’s historic treble-winning season.

2022 winner: Lionel Scaloni

Best Women’s Coach finalists

Valerio Pennicino – UEFA / UEFA / Getty
  • Jonatan Giraldez (Barcelona)
  • Emma Hayes (Chelsea)
  • Sarina Wiegman (England)

A mixture of club and international coaches are vying for this prize. Wiegman and Hayes are the two most recent winners. The England manager has taken the award home on three occasions, more than any other bench boss (male or female). Giraldez, meanwhile, is looking for his first FIFA honor.

2022 winner: Sarina Wiegman

Best Men’s Goalkeeper finalists

  • Yassine Bounou (Al-Hilal and Morocco)
  • Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid and Belgium)
  • Ederson (Manchester City and Brazil)

Bounou helped Sevilla win yet another Europa League crown in 2022-23 before departing for Saudi Arabia, while Ederson backstopped Manchester City to a trio of titles during the club’s record-breaking campaign. Courtois is the only finalist to have won this award before.

2022 winner: Emiliano Martinez

Best Women’s Goalkeeper finalists

  • Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham and Australia)
  • Catalina Coll (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Mary Earps (Manchester United and England)

Three netminders who shone brightly at the 2023 Women’s World Cup will battle for this accolade. Coll helped Spain take home the title, while Arnold and Earps have become cult heroes in their respective countries. The latter, in particular, is one of the most popular footballers in England thanks to her combination of on-pitch excellence and off-field personality.

2022 winner: Mary Earps

Men’s FIFA FIFPro World11

To be announced.

Women’s FIFA FIFPro World11

To be announced.

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24 most exciting youngsters to watch in 2024

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Over the next 12 months, a fresh crop of footballers will establish themselves atop the men’s game. Here, theScore looks at some talented youngsters – aged 21 and under – who are set to flourish in 2024, while excluding those who made our list in previous years.

Previous selections: 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023

Jobe Bellingham ?gbeng

Club: Sunderland | Age: 18 | Position: Midfielder

Bellingham, the younger brother of Real Madrid’s Jude, was a regular starter in the Championship before he turned 18. He’s mostly appeared in an advanced role since joining Sunderland from Birmingham City last summer, and although this season’s return of four goals and one assist is fairly modest, his maturity and physicality have helped him improve at a startling rate. Former Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray identified “his greatest asset is that he wants to learn,” and the club paying no more than £2.5 million for the midfielder is a remarkable piece of business. – Daniel Rouse

Oscar Bobb ??


Club: Manchester City | Age: 20 | Position: Winger

Like Phil Foden and Rico Lewis before him, Bobb has emerged from Manchester City’s academy and is immediately comfortable in Pep Guardiola’s setup. Guardiola compared Bobb to Foden, Lewis, and Bernardo Silva when he recently praised the Norwegian’s knack for playing in tight spaces. His confidence, awareness, and aggressiveness out of possession are extremely impressive for his age. It’s a great shame that Erling Haaland, Martin Odegaard, and Bobb won’t be combining in attack at Euro 2024 due to Norway’s inexplicable failure to qualify. – Rouse

Paris Brunner ??

Club: Borussia Dortmund | Age: 17 | Position: Forward

The future is bright for Borussia Dortmund’s attack. Along with Youssoufa Moukoko, the Bundesliga side has another prodigy waiting in the wing in Brunner. After leading Germany to victory last summer at the Under-17 World Cup – he topped the scoring chart and was named player of the tournament – Brunner continued to display great instincts in front of goal for Dortmund’s U19 team, scoring 10 goals in nine league games. It shouldn’t be long before Brunner, who’s also renowned for his dribbling skills and capable of playing on the wing, breaks into the first team and challenges for a starting place. – Gordon Brunt

Levi Colwill ?gbeng

Sam Barnes – Sportsfile / UEFA / Getty

Club: Chelsea | Age: 20 | Position: Center-back

Chelsea’s loan network was previously a black hole for talented young players, but the likes of Mason Mount, Reece James, and Colwill have proved there’s now a pathway to the first team after successful temporary spells away. Stints with Huddersfield Town and Brighton helped Colwill develop his game as a ball-playing defender, and his ability to cover at left-back has helped Chelsea deal with a spate of injuries. “I think he can be one of the greatest center-backs in England,” Mauricio Pochettino declared last July after Colwill’s first appearance under him. – Rouse

Benjamin Cremaschi ??

Club: Inter Miami | Age: 18 | Position: Attacking midfielder

Born and raised in south Florida, Cremaschi graduated from Inter Miami’s academy before earning his shot in the first team alongside childhood idol Lionel Messi. He impressed at all youth levels, received call-ups to the U.S. and Argentine national teams, and jumped right into the deep end in MLS, starting 21 of his 28 matches last season. A tenacious midfielder who can cover acres of space, Cremaschi has embraced the physicality of MLS and the challenge of playing in multiple areas of midfield. But he’s at home in an attacking role, and Messi will help him develop the skills to play there. – Anthony Lopopolo

Anthony Elanga ??

Ami Ford / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Club: Nottingham Forest | Age: 21 | Position: Winger

Manchester United don’t need to be reminded about what they potentially missed out on when they offloaded Elanga to Nottingham Forest in 2021. Yet, despite having an abundance of wingers, the Red Devils could sorely use one with Elanga’s ability to finish. But what makes the versatile Swedish international so effective is his ability to change speeds, burst away from defenders in the blink of an eye, and cut inside from the flank. Whether or not Forest get relegated this season, Elanga is bound to attract a long lineup of suitors in the summer. – Brunt

Julio Enciso ??

Club: Brighton & Hove Albion | Age: 19 | Position: Forward

Enciso might not return from his nagging knee injury until February. Still, his potential is obvious after he notched four goals and four assists in his last 14 Premier League appearances, with one venomous strike against Manchester City earning him a place on the three-man shortlist for FIFA’s Puskas Award. Amid all the hype, Roberto De Zerbi has warned that Enciso needs to improve his mentality. “Enciso played a fantastic game until the goal, and then he finished the game,” the Brighton boss said when the attacker seemed to switch off after a long-range stunner against Chelsea last April. – Rouse

Evan Ferguson ??

Steven Paston – PA Images / PA Images / Getty

Club: Brighton & Hove Albion | Age: 19 | Position: Striker

The combination of power, finesse, and agility should help Ferguson develop into one of the world’s elite strikers. The towering Irish teenager has shown he’s more than capable of dealing with the physical demands of the Premier League while earning a reputation as one of the best finishers in England. But his pace and clever movement without the ball separate Ferguson from his peers. While consistency has been an issue this season, look for Ferguson to score in bunches and continue to blossom. – Brunt

Arda Guler ??

Club: Real Madrid | Age: 18 | Position: Attacking midfielder

It took a little longer than expected, but Guler is about to get his chance to shine at Real Madrid. Signed from Fenerbahce in the summer in a deal that could ultimately be worth €30 million, the Turkish teenager has yet to make his debut due to injuries; he had arthroscopic knee surgery in August. As an undersized, left-footed playmaker, he’s inevitably been compared to Lionel Messi. While that’s an impossible label to live up to, Guler, who nearly joined Barcelona before Real Madrid snatched him away from their rivals, has flashed some sensational skills in training that have his teammates and manager raving. – Gianluca Nesci

Rasmus Hojlund ??


Club: Manchester United | Age: 20 | Position: Striker

It’s been a rough start to life at Manchester United for Hojlund. He wasn’t to blame for his new side’s miserable early Champions League exit after logging five goals over six group-stage outings. And while his return of just one Premier League goal is pitiful, the fact that he’s attempted fewer shots than Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Everton’s Arnaut Danjuma (who’s started three matches) hints that he’s primarily suffering due to team-wide issues. Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho (who made our 2023 list), and midfielder Kobbie Mainoo give United hope for the future. – Rouse

Karim Konate ??

Club: Red Bull Salzburg | Age: 19 | Position: Striker

Nobody has scored more goals in the Austrian Bundesliga this season than Konate, who looks like the latest burgeoning star to come out of the vaunted pipeline at Red Bull’s conglomerate of clubs. Despite his age, the Ivorian has already become a permanent fixture of his senior national team and will be one of the most intriguing young players to watch at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. It won’t be long before he makes the jump to one of Europe’s top leagues, perhaps even following in the footsteps of compatriot Simon Adingra, the electrifying winger turning heads at Brighton. – Nesci

Ethan Mbappe ??

Jean Catuffe / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Club: Paris Saint-Germain | Age: 17 | Position: Midfielder

With the future of his elder brother shrouded in uncertainty, Ethan Mbappe could soon be carrying the entire weight of his esteemed family name at Paris Saint-Germain. Living up to that standard could be an overwhelming burden; Kylian, a larger-than-life figure in France, is the club’s all-time leading scorer. But Ethan, who made his Ligue 1 debut last month prior to his 17th birthday, has the backing of manager Luis Enrique, who hailed the precocious midfielder’s quality after his brief cameo against Metz. PSG’s change in tack and focus on promoting young players bodes well for Mbappe. – Nesci

Murillo ??

Club: Nottingham Forest | Age: 21 | Position: Center-back

Forest bought over 40 players across three transfer windows before business reopened in January, and Murillo might be the best value of them all. Signed for £10.3 million from Corinthians last August, Murillo has all the physical traits you’d expect from an uncompromising South American defender – the kind that Diego Simeone loves in his Atletico Madrid backline – but he also boasts explosive pace, a willingness to carry the ball upfield, and the ability to ping accurate, long-range passes toward the attackers. Incredibly, Murillo only made his senior club debut in April 2023. – Rouse

Vitor Roque ??

David Ramos / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Club: Barcelona | Age: 18 | Position: Forward

Barcelona are following Real Madrid’s blueprint with the signing of one of Brazil’s most promising teenagers. Madrid struck gold with Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo and hope to do the same with Endrick. Barca, meanwhile, see the future in Vitor Roque, who has considerable technique despite being a bully in the penalty area. He has experience, too. He played in the Copa Libertadores final with Athletico Paranaense and ended the most recent Brazilian Serie A season as one of the top scorers. Cash-strapped Barca need all the help they can get up front, with Robert Lewandowski in and out of the lineup, Ferran Torres struggling for consistency, and Joao Felix prone to cold spells. – Lopopolo

Giorgio Scalvini ??

Club: Atalanta | Age: 20 | Position: Center-back

Scalvini is an old-school defender with incredible aerial ability. But he isn’t as static as his 6-foot-4 frame makes him seem. Scalvini, named Italy’s best Under-21 player in November, plays like Giorgio Chiellini but with the feet of Leonardo Bonucci. He likes to dribble but also enjoys a good tackle. You’re just as likely to see Scalvini heading a ball clear as you are to see him carrying the ball forward. What’s most impressive is his experience. He’s already made seven appearances for the Italian national team and 75 in all competitions for Atalanta since making his senior debut in October 2021. – Lopopolo

Alex Scott ?gbeng

Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth / AFC Bournemouth / Getty

Club: Bournemouth | Age: 20 | Position: Midfielder

Scott’s impact in the Premier League was hindered by a troublesome knee injury, but he’s ready to kick on in 2024. He built his reputation with second-tier Bristol City mostly through his brilliance on the ball – his meticulous dribbling and knack for finding space earned him the “Guernsey Grealish” nickname – but his maturity and intelligence allow him to flourish in roles that aren’t natural to him. “He understands the pressure. He understands everything,” Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola said after Scott anchored the midfield in October for his first full competitive outing in almost six months. – Rouse

Antonio Silva ??

Club: Benfica | Age: 21 | Position: Center-back

There’ll be no shortage of interest if Benfica’s talented crop of youngsters live up to expectations. There’s already a ton of hype surrounding midfielder Joao Neves, 19, but Silva may be the safest bet to succeed out of the two Benfica starlets. The center-back has firmly established himself in the first team, partnering with Nicolas Otamendi to limit opponents to seven goals in 13 Liga NOS games together. Along with his reputation as one of Portugal’s best tacklers, Silva’s discipline with the ball and ability to score separate him from his peers. – Brunt

Xavi Simons ??

picture alliance / picture alliance / Getty

Club: RB Leipzig | Age: 20 | Position: Attacking midfielder

Simons has always bet on himself. After making a name for himself at Barcelona’s La Masia academy, the Amsterdam-born midfielder left for Paris Saint-Germain, but minutes were sparse, and a move to PSV Eindhoven soon followed. His playmaking ability wowed the Eredivisie – he finished as joint-top scorer with 19 goals and nine assists in 34 matches last season – and it convinced PSG to buy him back. Now 20 years old and on loan at RB Leipzig, Simons is again shining bright. He draws fouls often, takes on defenders with reckless abandon, and combines incredibly well with teammates, making him one of the most entertaining watches in Europe. – Lopopolo

Mathys Tel ??

Club: Bayern Munich | Age: 18 | Position: Forward

Starting opportunities will always be scant when you’re competing for playing time with Harry Kane, but luckily for Tel, he’s proved capable of thriving in a variety of attacking positions early in his career. The Frenchman is making the most of his opportunities, too. Among those with at least 10 Bundesliga appearances on the season, his strike rate of 1.27 goals per 90 minutes is third behind only Serhou Guirassy and Kane. Former Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann said he envisions Tel bagging 40 goals in a campaign at some point, a feat only Robert Lewandowski and Gerd Muller have ever accomplished in Germany’s top flight. – Nesci

Destiny Udogie ??

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty

Club: Tottenham Hotspur | Age: 21 | Position: Left-back

The hype surrounding Udogie reached another stratosphere after September’s north London derby. The Italian full-back picked up an early yellow card and Bukayo Saka was relishing the heated atmosphere, but Udogie grew into the game, waiting for the Arsenal winger to take a touch before engaging with him, and was arguably the winner of their thrilling duel once the final whistle sounded. He dealt with the occasion with the composure of an experienced Premier League campaigner while showcasing the explosiveness and strength that’s endeared him to so many fans. – Rouse

Arthur Vermeeren ??

Club: Royal Antwerp | Age: 18 | Position: Midfielder

It’s safe to say Royal Antwerp trust Vermeeren. The midfielder had more game time than any other outfield player in Belgium’s top flight (3,755 minutes) in 2023, and he was ever-present during Antwerp’s six Champions League group-stage outings this season. He was even named captain against FC Porto. Although some have expressed reservations about his supposed lack of strength, his eagerness to collect the ball from the base of the lineup and produce line-breaking passes has led to links to numerous European clubs in recent months. – Rouse

Lamine Yamal ??

Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency / Getty

Club: Barcelona | Age: 16 | Position: Winger

The latest gem from Barcelona’s La Masia may end up being the brightest to emerge from the revered youth academy in some time. Hailed by coach Xavi as a player with the potential to “define an era,” the hype around Yamal has eclipsed the buzz around other recent distinguished graduates, like Pedri and Gavi, and with good reason, as the teenager has passed every test since making his historic senior debut at the age of 15. While it’s far too soon to compare Yamal, still just 16, to a certain La Masia graduate of Argentine descent, the skillful Spanish winger is well on his way to enjoying a distinguished Barcelona career. – Brunt

Kenan Yildiz ??

Club: Juventus | Age: 18 | Position: Forward, attacking midfielder

Juventus moved quickly in 2022 when it became apparent that Yildiz wouldn’t renew his contract with Bayern Munich. The Italian club sensed that being proactive would pay dividends in the future. As it turns out, they didn’t have to wait very long. Yildiz, 18, became the youngest foreign scorer in Juve history last month, finding the net in his first start for the club. Surrounded by three defenders and with seemingly nowhere to go, he cut through them and unleashed a wicked low shot into the bottom corner, showcasing the inventiveness, skill, and confidence that have so many, including Max Allegri, touting the prodigious Turkish international as a future star. – Nesci

Warren Zaire-Emery ??


Club: Paris Saint-Germain | Age: 17 | Position: Midfielder

Zaire-Emery’s composure and ability to control games should help soften the blow if Mbappe leaves PSG. At just 17, the midfielder has already proved he’s worthy of a spot in PSG’s first team, scoring twice in 14 Ligue 1 appearances this season, while catching the eye of France head coach Didier Deschamps. Although an injury while scoring his first goal for France briefly disrupted his breakout campaign, Zaire-Emery continued to dominate from the middle of the pitch upon his return, giving PSG fans hope for the future regardless of what happens with Mbappe. – Brunt

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