Who are the world’s most promising young footballers?
We have seen the world’s (or Europe’s, depending on your point of view) best footballers shortlisted this season for the FIFPro and Ballon D’Or awards this month, but what of the hidden gems in Europe and elsewhere in the world of football who are solid, talented footballers without the media hype of a Walcott, a Pato, a Benzema or a Gomez?
IMScouting.com, an excellent football database for scouting footballers, has produced a ‘first XI’ list of the world’s most promising young stars (their words, not mine).
Here are the XI players – have a read, and tell us what you think about these players and their future prospects in the comments section:
Giedrius Arlauskis, (20), goalkeeper, Unirea Urziceni (Romania)
The big hope of the national team of Lithuania is Giedrius Arlauskis, the promising goalkeeper of Unirea Urziceni, the team coached by Dan Petrescu. For now, Arlaauskis is the first choice for the second team in the table, and also the first goalie for the Under-21 national team.
Arlauskis is great at one on ones, and has a great sense of positioning in his box. His Romanian coach recently praised him saying that he is very lucky to have such a young, talented and experienced goalkeeper.
Oscar Wendt (22), Left defender, FC Copenhagen (Denmark)
The Swedish international defender is one of the best defensive players in the Danish league, and is already being tracked by Borussia Monchengladbach and Italian club giants Juventus and Siena.
The fact that Wendt was part of the Swedish 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign has given him some valuable experience and confidence. Wendt is a very strong defender who combines his physical game with good pace and technique which allows him to provide good scoring opportunities.
Ahmed Al Mohamady, (21), Right defender, Enppi Cairo, (Egypt)
The best Egyptian right defender during the 2007/2008 season, started the new season with high expectations. The young defender uses his unique technique to bomb forward down the wing. He already scored two goals in six matches and has led his team to the surprising first place in the table.
Mohamady is humble and has the right appetite to learn. Despite the fact that he displayed great performances with the national team and he had a lot of offers to transfer to Ahly or Zamalek, he decided to stay at the club and is now a cult-hero with the fans. He will be undertaking a trial at Blackburn Rovers in the coming weeks.
Breno, (19), Centre Back, Bayern Munich (Germany)
Breno is being tipped as a future captain of Brazil having come through the Sao Paolo youth team. He arrived at Bayern Munich this season for 11.5m euros and at 19 is clearly one for the future.
IMScouting report Breno to be on 1.6m euros a season up until 2012 and describe him as an excellent reader of the game. He is definitely one for the future.
Sejad Salihovic (24), Attacking midfield left, 1899 Hoffenheim (Germany)
The “village team” from the Bundesliga continues to shock Europe. When you talk about Hoffenheim’s success, you can mention certain names. One of them is Sejad Salihobic, Bosnia’s international left winger, who is capable of producing some real magic.
Salihovic has a great left foot and he has already scored three goals this season, two of them from free kicks. In addition, he has provided two assists. The Hoffenheim management will have to fight really hard at the end of the season, as his contract expires at the end of 2008/2009.
Tijani Belaid (21), Central midfielder, Slavia Praha (Czech Republic)
When scouts in Europe mention Slavia Praha, they automatically mention the multi-talented, Tijani Belaid, an international Tunisian young midfielder, born in Paris, who has inspired Slavia fans with his magic.
When Tihani was young, he was part of the youth system of Inter Milan. The years passed and the young prodigy didn’t receive the chance that he dreamed about. After one game with the Nerrazurri, Tijani went on loan to PSV but didn’t play.
His next move, to Slavia Praha, opened the door for a successful career. With Slavia Praha, Belaid is shining, leading the team, scoring goals and be very consistent in his performances to try and bring the title to his team.
According to IMScouting, Tijani is a “versatile midfielder, very technical and constructive. He is strongest in the middle of the park.” Tijani’s contract will expire in 2012/2013 so Slavia will be hoping to cash in on their new star player.
Almen Abdi (21), Attacking midfielder, FC Zürich (Switzerland)
So far this season, the playmaker has showed that he has the right tools to take his team to the top with seven goals and four assists in 12 matches. The ability of Almen is unique; he passes very well, has a great shot from distance and always knows how to attack the defenders.
FC Zurich are currently leading the table, if they win the championship, Almen will become the new hero of Swiss football.
Jorge Sammir, (21), Attacking midfielder, Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
Like a lot of Brazilians, Sammir is a real prospect who can make a huge impact for Dynamo Zagreb. He has just started his third season at the club scoring three goals and claiming four assists to date.
Sammir, who is contracted to the club until season 2011/2012 has a very strong left foot and has exceptional pace with excellent ball control. IMScouting describe Sammir as very good at providing scoring opportunities to his team mates. His reputation is growing having already been mentioned in the Dutch press, but no official offer has been received yet.
Mauro Boselli (23), Striker, Estudiantes La Plata (Argentina)
Mauro is a huge talent, a natural goal scorer considered to be one of the best since he started to make his first steps in the Boca Juniors youth team. This year he received his chance for Estudiantes and he has shown the potential he posses with five goals in nine matches.
According to IMScouting Boselli is a “typical striker who knows how to score from every position. He is quite a cold-blooded and precise striker.” Boca Juniors believe that Boselli will move to Europe soon, and for this, they confirmed a clause of eight million euros with a sell-on option of 50%.
Pontus Wernbloom (21), Striker, Goteborg (Sweden)
Up until last season, Pontus was a clever attacking midfielder with great ability. This season coach Stephan Rehn decided to use his qualities of physical strength and changed his position to target striker. Wernbloom brought his simple football to the position and added other characteristics and creative tricks to his game.
The result is that Wernbloom has been called up for the national team after scoring eight goals and providing three assists in the Allsvenskan league. The local media have already posted stories about enquiries from Germany and Denmark.
Filip Ivanovski, (22), Striker, Polonia Warszawa (Poland)
With six goals for the current Polish leaders Polonia Warszawa, Filip Ivanovski is the top scorer in the Polish Ekstraklasa. He has become a fans favourite with the Polonia fans. After failing to impress with Dyskobolia, he moved to Polonia Warszawa at the beginning of the season and besides the goals, he has already provided three assists in the first eight matches.
Ivanovski has great pace, and always knows where to be. He can shoot with both feet and is always willing to work tirelessly. If he continues with the same progress, there is no doubt that his success will make waves around Poland.
All information provided by IMScouting.com.