Bengaluru, September 10: With so much at stake and with transfer fees increasing by the year, the search for young talent has become ever more desperate as football's elite fight to get their hands on the players who will become the stars of the future.
It was not a common place in Football to have so many young players playing on a regular basis for top teams in the world but things have changed in recent years and it is a great advertisement for the sport.
In this article, we will look at five top under-21 players in the world right now who look like the superstars of tomorrow.
5. Joao Felix - Atletico Madrid
Joao Felix burst onto the scene just last year which was his breakthrough year in senior football. In just 43 games for Benfica, he did enough to get linked with almost every big club in Europe and to be christened as the 'Heir of Cristiano Ronaldo'. Felix's performances sparked the interest of several European clubs, with Atletico Madrid winning his signature in June for a club record transfer worth €126 million (£113 million), becoming the fourth most expensive association football transfer and the second highest ever paid for a teenager and the highest fee for a Portuguese player leaving the domestic league. The forward has made a solid impact at Atletico already and looks really really special.
4. Kai Havertz - Bayer Leverkusen
Bundesliga has been the home to some of the biggest young talents in World football over the years and Kai Havertz looks like one of the biggest prospects of the league. Just 20 years of age, Havertz already has more than 100 senior appearances for Bayer Leverkusen in his kitty and has been linked strongly with a host of clubs across Europe. A technically gifted player with sublime vision and versatile enough to play in a range of positions, Havertz also boasts a big frame of 6'2". He has been termed as the future of Germany and has what it takes to become one of the best players in the future.
3. Jadon Sancho - Borussia Dortmund
Sancho broke the trend of English youngsters not moving to a foreign league and that has worked really well for him. At just 19 years of age, he is one of the best players in Bundesliga and a key player for Borussia Dortmund who narrowly missed out on the title last campaign. Sancho is a regular name in the team-sheet of Lucien Favre and also a regular for the English national team. Sancho has been linked with almost every top European side recently but it will be tough to get him unless he is promised regular playing time which was the sole reason he chose to leave Manchester City in the first place.
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the only defender to feature in this list and it is not surprising. It is always tough for a defender or a keeper to get recognized for their efforts when compared to a midfielder or an attacker which speaks for how special the 20-year-old Liverpool wonderkid is. He is already a Champions League winner and also broke the record last season for most assists from a defender. A modern-day full-back with an unparalleled ability to find his teammates, the young Liverpool defender deserves a place in the list.
1. Kylian Mbappe- PSG
It's not a surprise, is it? A future Ballon d'Or winner if ever there was one, Kylian Mbappe was the most obvious winner of the World Cup's Best Young Player award since Michael Owen in 1998, and the records he set at the tournament suggest we may be witnessing the emergence of a once-in-a-generation talent. He became the first teenager since Pele to score a World Cup brace, and the first since Pele to score in a World Cup final, as well as becoming France's youngest ever World Cup scorer with his group stage goal against Peru. Mbappe is not only the best young player in the planet but also among the best players in the world already and he is just 20 years of age.