Alejandro Garnacho has further boosted his profile as one of the best young players in Europe with Manchester United this season.
Europe has been the biggest stage for football at club level. Most young players dream of playing in one of the top European leagues.
Regularly, youngsters announce themselves to the world on the European stage. In the last few years, we’ve seen the likes of Erling Haaland, Jamal Musiala, Rodrygo, Jude Bellingham and Mykhailo Mudryk.
In this post, FootballOrbit presents you with 20 young players to keep an eye on in Europe this year (2023).
1. Xavi Simons (19 years — PSV)
Xavi Simons progressed through Barcelona’s academy and became one of the most highly rated youngsters at La Masia.
In 2019, he moved to PSG after failing to agree a new contract with Barca. The Parisian club reportedly offered him up to €1 million annually.
Due to the presence of the likes of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, Simons found playing time difficult at PSG.
Last summer, he secured a transfer to Dutch side PSV, and has been impressing since.
His performances earned him a place in the Dutch squad to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
2. Mathys Tel (17 years — Bayern Munich)
Mathys Tel became the youngest player ever to represent Rennes — breaking a record earlier set by Eduardo Camavinga.
Bayern paid a large sum of money to sign him. The forward subsequently became the youngest player to score for the German giants, aged 17 years and 126 days.
Tel possesses frightening potential and goalscoring instincts.
3. Alejandro Garnacho (18 years — Manchester United)
Alejandro Garnacho joined Manchester United’s academy from Atlético Madrid in 2020, and has been shining since then.
He won the club’s 2022 Young Player of the Year award after leading the Red Devils to the FA Youth Cup title.
This season, the Argentine teenager has become an important member of the first team — scoring late winners in the Premier League and the Europa League.
Earlier this month, Garnacho became the youngest player to assist in a Manchester derby in the Premier League.
4. Goncalo Ramos (21 years — Benfica)
Goncalo Ramos made headlines at the 2022 FIFA World Cup as he netted an hat-trick for Portugal when he was started ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 21-year-old striker came through Benfica’s academy and has established himself as an integral player for the club.
5. Nico Williams (20 years — Athletico Bilbao)
Arguably an even more heralded prospect than older brother Inaki, Nico Williams is a tricky winger with dazzling skills.
He nailed down a starting spot at Athletico Bilbao this season. His performances saw him named as part of Spain’s squad to the 2022 World Cup.
6. Anthony Gordon (21 years — Newcastle)
Anthony Gordon is a typical modern inverted forward who has the ability to cut inside and shoot in the opposition boxes.
The English youngster came through Everton’s youth system to establish himself in the first team.
Chelsea showed interest in signing the 21-year-old last summer.
Due to Everton’s struggle this season, Gordon recently joined Newcastle in a transfer worth an initial £40 million — potentially rising to £45 million in add-ons.
7. Crysencio Summerville (21 years — Leeds)
Crysencio Summerville progressed through Feyenoord’s academy but made his first senior appearances on loan at FC Dordrecht and ADO Den Haag.
He won the 2018 UEFA U-17 Euros with Netherland, scoring a goal in the group stage and appearing as a substitute in the final.
After turning down an offer to extend his contract with Feyenoord, Summerville joined Leeds United in 2020 and has since established himself in the Premier League.
His performances this season has caught the attention of the top sides.
8. Heorhiy Sudakov (20 years — Shakhtar Donetsk)
Shakhtar Donetsk might have just sold Mykhailo Mudryk to Chelsea this month, but they still have more bright prospects in their squad.
Among them is midfielder, Heorhiy Sudakov, who has regularly displayed maturity beyond his years.
Sudakov made the headlines when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began last year, with Shakhtar’s youth coach, Fernando Valente, revealing that the youngster and his pregnant girlfriend were hiding and living in a bunker due to the war.
9. Nicolas Seiwald (21 years — RB Salzburg)
Midfielder, Nicolas Seiwald, plays for Austrian giants RB Salzburg.
The 21-year-old prospect broke through the ranks at Salzburg last season, and has really come into his role this season — excelling both in the Champions League and in the Austrian Bundesliga.
10. Giorgio Scalvini (19 years — Atalanta)
Scalvini is a centre-back who plays for Atalanta in the Serie A.
The Italian has good technique and is very good at headers due to his height of 1.95 m.
Despite Italy having very experienced centre-backs at their disposal, the 19-year-old has already made 3 appearances for the national team.
11. Quentin Merlin (20 years — Nantes)
Quentin Merlin came through the youth teams at Nantes and made his senior team debut in 2021.
The 20-year-old was a mainstay for Nantes last season as the team shockingly went all the way to win the Coupe de France.
Capable of playing anywhere down the left side of the pitch, Merlin is very dangerous with his set-piece and crossing abilities.
12. Moisés Caicedo (21 years — Brighton & Hove Albion)
Moisés Caicedo is an all-action and aggressive central midfielder. He has taken centre stage at Brighton following the departure of Yves Bissouma.
He further boosted his profile when he impressed with Ecuador at the last World Cup in Qatar.
Caicedo scored the equaliser in the last group match tie against Senegal.
He is currently being linked with a big money move to either Arsenal or Chelsea.
13. Malo Gusto (19 years — Lyon)
Right-back, Malo Gusto is one of the hottest prospects in French football and is already closing in on 50 first-team appearance for Lyon.
He played as an attacker in his youth and retains those attacking instincts — regularly using his quality delivery and pace to good effect.
Gusto recently signed for Chelsea, but will remain on loan at Lyon till the end of the season.
14. Piero Hincapié (20 years — Leverkusen)
Piero Hincapié is an Ecuadorian young player who plays as a centre-back for Bundesliga club, Bayer Leverkusen.
Hincapie stands out as a typical modern central defender. His ability with the ball at his feet is one of his strongest attributes.
The 20-year-old is regarded as one of the most promising defenders in football.
15. David Datro Fofana (20 years — Chelsea)
David Datro Fofana racked up 15 goals in 24 games as Molde stormed to the Norwegian title last season.
He also earned his first two caps for the Ivory Coast in November 2022.
Thanks to that form, Chelsea signed him up this month. The 20-year-old is being compared with Erling Haaland.
16. Zeno Debast (19 years — Anderlecht)
Zeno Debast has been a ray of light in a disappointing season for Anderlecht in 2022/23.
The ball-playing centre-back appeared in every league game this term before the World Cup, forcing his way into the Belgium squad for the tournament.
17. Arda Güler (17 years — Fenerbahce)
Dubbed the “Turkish Messi” due to his dribbling ability and penetrating passes, Arda Güler became the youngest goalscorer in Süper Lig history last season.
This term, he has caught the eye in the Europa League and also became the youngest player to represent Turkey since 2008.
18. Mohamed-Ali Cho (18 years — Real Sociedad)
Mohamed-Ali Cho signed his first professional contract with Angers in May 2020. In doing so; he became the second youngest player to sign a professional contract in France after Eduardo Camavinga.
Initially, Angers planned to use him in the reserve teams, but he quickly became part of the first team.
His displays earned him a transfer to Real Sociedad last summer, and he is gradually finding his feet in Spain.
Born in France, raised in England, and of Ivorian and Moroccan descent; Cho is eligible for the 4 countries.
19. Armel Bella-Kotchap (21 years — Southampton)
Centre-back, Armel Bella-Kotchap, impressed for VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga and was earmarked as one of the best young defenders in Germany.
In June 2022, Bella-Kotchap joined Southampton on a 4-year deal. He instantly established himself as a regular starter in the Premier League.
His exploits earned him a place in the German squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
20. Lucas Chevalier (21 years — Lille)
Lucas Chevalier is a youth academy graduate of Lille. He was third-choice goalkeeper of club during their fairytale league title win in 2020/21.
To gain more playing time and experience, he went on a season long loan at Valenciennes.
Chevalier impressed on loan and returned to Lille as the first choice ‘keeper. The Frenchman has been outstanding this season.