Anwar El Ghazi (AFC Ajax)
The Eredivisie has lost a great deal of its appeal since the 1970s and 80s when it was, arguably, at the peak of its powers but that’s not to say it doesn’t provide its fair share of excitement to this very day. Indeed, one of its biggest and brightest starlets at present is emerging Ajax winger El Ghazi who has captured the headlines, as well as the hearts of the fans, with a glut of goals since the beginning of the current season.
In fact, the 20-year-old has bagged as many as seven goals in his side’s opening seven league fixtures. Grabbing three braces as well as a solitary strike against Excelsior, it’s little wonder the babble surrounding his prodigious talent has continued to grow by the decibel level with each passing day. Showcasing a real composure beyond his years as well as a hunger to get amongst the goals, he’s sure to be an excitingly consistent player to watch beyond 2016.
Dominic Solanke (Vitesse Arnhem)
One of a sprinkling of Chelsea players out on loan across Europe, the young attacker has been quietly going about his business in the Netherlands since departing the Blues’ set-up. By no means has he been a rip-roaring revelation so far, but he’s shown a great deal of promise, something that should please Jose Mourinho and the patient fans.
Plying his trade with Vitesse Arnhem, he has been selected with regularity since the 2015/16 campaign took off and not only does his club future look bright but so too do his international prospects. Having represented England’s U19s, the 18-year-old already has a few goals to his name across a variety of youth levels, but it’s his perpetual motor and unselfish attitude which has really made him stand out in recent weeks. Watch this space.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
A revelatory purchase for Manchester United so far, the Frenchman has dismissed many of the doubts that had hung over his ability after his big-money move from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco. Scoring four goals for the Red Devils, he might not have registered on the scoreboard in their 3-0 win against Sunderland, but he was instrumental in the win – setting Wayne Rooney up at one memorable moment.
Oozing an incredible level of confidence which, thankfully, hasn’t boiled over into arrogance, it has been difficult for many to begrudge the youngster’s fledgling brilliance. So far, he’s helped pundits paint a picture of him as a free-flowing offensive player who likes to run with the ball at his feet – and who is certainly not afraid to take on chances in the big games. In short, he’s added the attacking bite which has transformed the Louis Van Gaal experience from poorly-illuminated philosophy into concrete contenders for the title.
Oscar Hiljemark (Palermo)
When you captain your country to top spot at the U21 European Championships, the general rule is that a few admiring glances is the least one can expect to receive. Current Palermo midfielder Hiljemark is certainly no exception and the 23-year-old has begun to make the Serie A his plaything in recent weeks with plenty of high-end performances to speak of as he’s continued to make good on the promise he showed during his time at PSV Eindhoven.
Indeed, he’s not just been playing pretty football. Making an impact in some important games so far with highlights including a couple of well-taken goals against the resurgent AC Milan, he’s already proven himself to be a key team player, even if his time have struggled collectively in recent weeks.
Oliver Torres (Atletico Madrid)
The final player on our shortlist is perhaps the odd one out. There has been a great deal of chatter about Torres, but he has yet to take off since re-joining Atletico Madrid’s first team over the course of the summer. Clocking up a fair few minutes, it’s not been a case of a lack of rhythm for the prodigious starlet, but the reasons behind his slow start to life under Diego Simeone could be due to a natural dip in form which is nothing to panic about. Along with this it’s clear that the poor form of the whole team has impacted on his own ability to inspire.
So, why all the fuss? Well, without being facetious it’s because he truly is on par with the rest of the players on our list. In time, the 20-year-old ought to prove his worth, but fans and pundits alike will have to be patient with him if they really want to see him flourish, because if his stint at Porto taught us anything it was that he is certainly the innate talent many have often speculated he was.