Five years from now, we expect some promising young players to bask in limelight. While others will fizzle out.
Tribuna.com takes a look at under-radar players who could dominate the game in five years.
For footballers, development happens gradually, although things do change quickly in football. One bad injury, loss of form or limited playing time can impede or truncate a player’s rise to stardom.
It’s why lots of young players exhibit immense potential only to disappear from the radar after a few years.
However, some youngsters do rise to the occasion and become superstars, almost overnight. There are numerous examples such as Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Rashford, Vinicius Junior, Erling Braut Haaland and Frenkie de Jong.
The players we'll look at are immensely talented. They aren’t getting any premium attention or media hype, yet. But these lads have the goods to dominate the game in five years.
Here they are.
But Paris Saint-Germain foresaw a future where they’d produce the world best players instead of spending massively to buy them. To that effect, the Parisiens swooped in in 2019 and poached Simons from Barca’s La Masia Academy.
Simons is touted as one of the best playmakers of his generation. The Dutch midfielder was developing remarkably at Barcelona and was expected to become a first-team player before his 20th birthday. Last week, the 17-year-old made his professional debut, but for PSG.
Simons, who can play anywhere in midfield, says he “prefers to assist than to score”. He already earns £1 million per year playing for PSG’s under-19s.
Just before the World Cup in 2018, Portuguese media compared 16-year-old Fabio Silva to Cristiano Ronaldo at the same age. What followed was a hype that more often than not turns the head of a youngster and messes up his development. That hasn’t been the case for Silva.
In 2019, Silva became Porto’s youngest scorer in a competitive fixture. And youngest-ever scorer at 17. The charming teenager then became a popular figure at the Estadio do Dragao, featuring 21 times for the first team last season.
Last September, Silva joined Wolverhampton for a reported fee of £35 million. The 18-year-old has already featured 22 times for the Premier League side, scoring just two goals - but his best is surely yet to come.
Dare-devil defenders are often in hot demand. Ibrahima Konate is one of such defenders. Standing over six-foot-tall, the towering Frenchman is only 21 but plays the game like a veteran.
Through the 2018/19 season, Ibrahima appeared 43 times in RB Leipzig defence and scored three goals while being a 19-year-old.
Ibrahima signed a contract extension in January 2019 keeping him with Leipzig until 2023, but he’s still highly sought-after around Europe. Reports say he's a transfer target for Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea.
Despite falling under the radar due to multiple injuries that kept him sidelined for most of the campaign, Ibrahima’s market value is still reasonably high at over £30 million [as per Transfermarkt].
Many in the Bundesliga consider him a future mainstay in the French national team. Could he captain the World Champions in the future perhaps?
It took one League and FA Cup game for Billy Gilmour to win the Chelsea fans' hearts last season. In fact, the petit Scotsman managed to scoop two Man of the Match of Awards from his first two starts marshalling the central midfield for the Premier League side.
Before his heroics against Liverpool and Everton, not many had heard the name Gilmour. Or remembered he made a Premier League cameo in August when Chelsea drew 2-2 with Sheffield United at the Bridge.
Gilmour joined Chelsea in 2017 following remarkable progress with the Rangers Academy. What stands out for the 19-year-old isn’t his physique but his superb technical ability. He always wants the ball and has an eye for a pass comparable to Barca legend Andres Iniesta.
Top clubs around Europe were alerted to the Spaniard's talent last year and began sniffing for his signature. One notable admirer was Liverpool, but he joined their Premier League rivals Man City instead.
Torres is a versatile midfielder with blistering pace, silky touch and shooting ability. The 20-year-old’s impressive skill and maturity set him apart from his peers and has drawn comparison with David Silva and Juan Mata.
Adil Aouchiche became the youngest player ever to start a game for PSG when he lined up against Metz aged 17 years and 46 days. Before that, he had become PSG's second-youngest scorer when he scored in Les Parisiens 6-0 victory over Linas-Montlhéry in the Coupe de France in January.
Last summer, however, he made an unorthodox move and left PSG for St Etienne as a free agent. At his new club, the 18-year-old has already made 22 appearances in Ligue 1, scored twice and provided 3 assists.
The attacking midfielder equalled Michel Platini’s record for goals at a UEFA international competition when he scored nine times at the 2019 European Under-17 Championship in Ireland.