The summer transfer window brought with it some record deals and big money moves, with teams around the world dipping into their coffers in a bid to attract the biggest and brightest talents in world football to their ranks.
Interestingly, in the last 12 months we’ve seen some of the world’s greatest stars change clubs, including Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, as they enter the twilights of their careers.
But with these legends of the sport moving on to pastures new, many fans have been left wondering who the next generation of world class football players will be?
From Jude Bellingham to Bukayo Saka, there are plenty of exciting young stars gracing the world of football right now, but clubs are constantly on the look out to bring fresh new talents into their squads in a bid to both plan for the future and achieve success.
So who are the top young stars cutting their teeth in world football right now? Mail Sport identifies some of the best and most exciting prodigies that your club should be keeping an eye on over the coming season.
Lamine Yamal (middle) won his senior debut for the Spain national side during last week’s international break and enjoyed a dream start, scoring in Spain’s 7-1 win vs Georgia
Lamine Yamal, 16, Barcelona
Perhaps one of the most exciting players on the block right now, Yamal, has been dazzling crowds at the Nou Camp in the past few weeks appearing in all four of Barcelona’s opening LaLiga fixtures, notably returning two assists during their 4-3 win against Villarreal at the end of August.
The right winger, who graduated from La Masia, also dazzled for his national side Spain during last week’s international break, scoring in their 7-1 victory against Georgia.
The left-footer is comfortable anywhere across the forward line and can cause problems for teams thanks to his mazy dribbling skills and rapid turn of pace. Comparisons of Neymar and Ronaldinho have also been made of this excellent talent.
Kendry Paez, 16, Chelsea
Another player to make his senior debut for his national side during the September international break is Paez. After signing for Chelsea from Independiente earlier this summer, Blues fans will be very excited to know that they’ve signed a very exciting young talent.
In fact, he scored on his debut for Ecuador last week, helping his side defeat Uruguay 2-1, managing 70 minutes during the match at the mere age of 16. And he has already amassed a lot of experience playing at senior level, with the central midfielder playing 17 times while returning a goal for Independiente.
Kendry Paez (right) is another young star under the age of 20 to be making waves in the football world of late, and also made his senior debut for Ecuador last week
Amara Diouf, 15, Generation Foot
Senegal winger Diouf has been attracting plenty of attention during the early stages of his career, with the 15-year-old dazzling for his national side’s U17 team scoring five goals in six appearances.
He possesses bags of speed and an eye for goal, playing in a similar style to that of Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, having made his first appearance for Senegal’s senior side last week in their 1-1 draw against Rwanda.
Can Uzun, 17, FC Nurnburg
Turkish centre-forward Uzun, may be one of the brightest young strikers rising through the ranks in Europe at the moment.
You only need to look at his stats so far to see that he has a lot of potential, with Uzun scoring six goals in his nine senior appearances for Nurnberg across all competitions.
The striker can score with both feet, has plenty of game awareness and is technically brilliant on the ball. While he is not the tallest centre-forward, he has bags of speed and can turn on the ball very quickly.
Roony Bardghji, 17, FC Copenhagen
Sweden U21 star Bardghji is another pacey wide player that possesses plenty of flair.
He’s currently contracted to FC Copenhagen, having started his playing career with Malmo FF before joining up with the Copenhagen academy.
He’s since graduated to the senior side, bringing plenty of creativity to Jacob Neestrup’s attacking line up.
The 17-year-old is also lauded for his footballing intelligence which is is evidenced in the number of appearances he’s already made for his club’s senior side, playing 54 times while returning nine goals across all competitions.
Warren Zaire-Emery, 17, Paris Saint-Germain
Perhaps one of the most impressive players on this list, Zaire-Emery has established himself as a regular face in the PSG midfield, at the mere age of 17.
While playing alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappe must certainly be some learning experience, it appears Zaire-Emery is pushing boundaries himself, notably enjoying a breakout season last year.
The 17-year-old featured 35 times and score three goals, across all competitions for the senior side and has become an integral part of the Parisian’s midfield, preferring to play in the holding position.
He is a player who is constantly looking to be on the ball and works hard to get up and down the field from box to box. Having played above his age group for France’s youth teams, there’s no doubt we’ll see him featured in the national side’s senior squads in the next few years.
Warren Zaire-Emery (pictured) is another exciting talent that has become a regular face in PSG’s midfield, amassing 35 appearances and two goals for the senior side in all competitions
Endrick, 17, Palmeiras/Real Madrid
Brazilian striker Endrick was snapped up by the Galacticos in 2022, with the LaLiga giants shelling out an incredible £51m for the 17-year-old talent.
It’s understandable why they were so keen to lock him down, with Endrick being valued as one of the best and brightest emerging stars in the game.
He’ll officially complete his move to Madrid in 2024 when he turns 18, but has previously been plying his trade at Palmeiras scoring seven goals in 29 appearances for the Brazilian side this season.
Earlier this season, he revealed that his compatriot Vinicius Jr urged him to join the club.
Endrick is one of the most well known names on this list, with the Palmeiras star having been snapped up by Real Madrid last year – and is set to join Los Blancos in the summer of 2024
Vitor Roque, 18, Athletico Paranaense/Barcelona
Arsenal target Roque dealt a huge blow to Mikel Arteta’s transfer dealings this summer, as the Brazilian striker, who was once dubbed ‘the new Luiz Suarez, revealed it was his dream to join Barcelona.
While he remains one of the most promising talents in football right now, it was Barcelona who eventually snapped him up, and similar to Endrick, will make the move to LaLiga in the summer of 2024.
Barcelona managed to sign the star even after several other top clubs had expressed an interest in him.
Vitor Roque (pictured) will join Barcelona next year in a blow for Arsenal who had expressed a keen interest in signing him
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
Assan Ouedraogo, 17, Schalke
Schalke star Ouedraogo has worked his way through the ranks at the German outfit to make his senior debut for the club in the Bundesliga 2 last season.
Described as a box-to-box midfielder with excellent passing attributes, Ouedraogo is a versatile player who can fit into a range of systems.
Hailing from Germany, he has featured for his national side’s youth grade teams on multiple occasions.
Julien Duranville, 17, Borussia Dortmund
In recent years, Dortmund have developed a reputation of bringing through some of European football’s brightest talents. Need I say more than Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland?
Stars are still emerging from Die Schwarzgelben’s ranks, noting players like Youssoufa Moukoko and Karim Adeyemi, who are being backed as some of the most exciting young talents in the game.
Then comes midfielder Duranville, an exciting right-winger from Belgium who was poached by the Bundesliga outfit from the Anderlecht academy in January of this year.
He’s played only one game for Dortmund’s senior side but featured four times for Anderlecht’s first team before his departure.
Julien Duranville (left) came out of Anderlecht’s academy before he was poached by Borussia Dortmund
Paul Wanner, 17, Bayern Munich
Wanner is another young star emerging from the Bundesliga who is part of the generation of new and exciting young talents taking world football by storm.
The 17-year-old is a creative attacker and possesses an insane level of ball control that allows him to maze his way past defenders to get into dangerous positions on the pitch.
He’s made six Bundesliga appearances for Bayern’s senior side and has shown that he can not only create goals but finish them too by utilising his precise shooting abilities.
Paul Wanner (right) has made six Bundesliga appearances (pictured with former Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann)
Matai Akinmboni, 16, DC United
With six caps for the DC United senior side at the mere age of 16, Akinmboni is certainly set to be a a name to look out for in the future.
The centre-back featured twice for DC United last season, in their opening game of the season against Toronto, helping his side claim a 3-2 victory against Toronto before appearing in their 3-2 loss to New York City.
In fact, at one stage, he was the third-youngest player to play in the MLS in the history of the league.
He was ironically given his debut by Wayne Rooney, who was also one of the youngest players to ever play in the Premier League.
Antonio Nusa, 18, Club Brugge
Norwegian sensation Nusa is another star who is being closely monitored by top clubs around the world, including Chelsea.
Mail Sport understands that the Blues had made a bid for the forward on Transfer Deadline Day, but the deal hinged on the departure of Ian Maatsen.
With no fee coming in, the deal ultimately collapsed – but we can see why Mauricio Pochettino’s side are after the 18-year-old, with Nusa becoming the youngest player to score on a Champions League debut last season, during Club Brugge’s 4-0 win away to Porto. Since then he’s been called up to Norway’s senior international squad.
Antonio Nusa (right) is one player many clubs are keeping tabs on with Chelsea making a bid for him on transfer deadline day
Kobbie Mainoo, 18, Manchester United
England U19 star Mainoo is attracting plenty of attention for his excellent performances both for his country and for his club, Man United.
Despite having been ruled out of the first part of the season with an ankle injury suffered in pre-season, Mainoo has been rising through the ranks at Old Trafford and made his first Premier League appearance last year.
He’s even caught the attention of many United fans, with some having described him as a ‘super talent and is showing signs of having already adjusted to first team footballer’.
Man United star Kobbie Mainoo (left) is another exciting Premier League prospect, but has been ruled out of the opening games of the new campaign with an ankle injury
Arda Guler, 18, Real Madrid
Not many players in the world of football are able to pick between playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid. And perhaps that says a lot about the abilities of former Fenerbache man, Guler, who chose to play for Madrid over Xavi’s side this summer.
In fact, Carlo Ancelotti’s side actually paid more than the £15m release clause to acquire the 18-year-old Turkish wonderkid, who scored six times in 35 appearances across all competitions for Fenrbache last season.
Eighteen-year-old star Arder Guler (left) chose to play for Real Madrid earlier this summer after dazzling for his former side Fenerbahce last season