With the new European season getting underway, we thought we’d run the rule over some of the emerging young talents who could be making a splash across the continent in the coming months.
Jordan Ayew (Marseille)
The youngest of the Ayew brothers (Andre and Ibrahim being the other two), Jordan is a lithe and lively 20 year-old striker who is quickly building a good reputation for himself.
After scoring on his Marseille debut against Lorient last winter, the young Ghanaian has been an occasional member of Didier Deschamps’ first team squad and, having featured in both of l’OM’s opening two Ligue 1 fixtures this season, could be on the cusp of becoming one of Africa’s major breakthrough talents.
Yann M’Vila (Rennes)
One of the rising stars of French football, Rennes’ defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila looks to have the strength, skill and positional awareness required to become the heir to Claude Makélélé in the French midfield.
Following a 2009/10 season which saw M’Vila make 33 league starts for a Rennes team which finished the campaign in ninth place, the 20 year-old will be hoping to help Les Rouges et Noirs to a Europa League place and, having made his senior international debut against Norway last week, establish himself as a regular for Les Bleus. There are exciting times ahead for the dynamic young midfielder.
Marco Reus (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
A tricky winger with excellent dribbling ability, quick feet and a cool head in front of goal, Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 21 year-old Marco Reus emerged as a potential star of the future last season with eight goals and three assists in 27 starts.
With his team having made steady improvements during the 2009/10 campaign, Reus’ performances will be crucial to Mönchengladbach’s fortunes in the Bundesliga and might well secure him a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs this time next year.
Philippe Coutinho (Internazionale)
Bought by Inter in 2008 before being loaned back to Vasco da Gama, 18 year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder/forward Coutinho is highly rated in Milan and is about to embark on his debut season in the first team at the San Siro.
An electric dribbler with a powerful long-range shot, the youngster impressed during Inter’s pre-season tour of North America, starting against Manchester City and getting on the score sheet against Panathanaikos in Toronto. Indeed, Coutinho’s abilities are thought to be one of the main reasons why the Italian champions were happy to sell Mario Balotelli. This could be the season the diminutive Brazilian makes a big impression on European football.
Fran Mérida (Atlético Madrid)
A midfielder who began his career in the Barcelona academy before making a name for himself as one of Arsenal’s most talented youth players, Fran Mérida will be looking to progress his career having this summer moved to the club he supported as a boy, Atlético Madrid.
An attack-minded midfield playmaker in the mould of Cesc Fabregas, Mérida, still only 20, will be hoping to become a regular starter this season under Quique Sánchez Flores and kick on to develop into one of La Liga’s finest young players.