If you read the intro to Part 1, you can skip the intro here! 

Young player mania is in full swing and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. 

Generally, for the well known ones we are dealing with potentially good players, and the issue is price rather than talent. There are a few exceptions at the higher end where people confuse being good at football with being good on the Football Index. It’s not the same thing. 

But on the whole, the Mbappe’s, the Rashford’s, the Sancho’s, Dembele’s and the Vinicius Juniors have potential to be big players, even if some aren’t obviously performance suitable. At the moment, Vinicius and Dembele are looking the best of that bunch in FI performance suitability terms. 

However, the prices are restrictive. Because people assume those players are going to be global stars already, they are already priced to match. The reward for being right about their future world domination is no longer huge, and the penalty for being wrong if they fail is high. 

Then in the next tier we have some more up and coming players. Pepe, Havertz, Jovic, Werner, Felix, Thorgan Hazard. Apart from Werner, whom I converted to in December at about the £3.50 range because he showed a big improvement, I have been highlighting those as big potential players on the site since very early in the season.  (I was also relatively late to Jovic as I waited until he showed consistency – I got him at £3.96.)

But they are no longer the trades they were. You can do what you like with them because they are quality players. Either take profits now or wait until the Summer when almost all of them have big transfer links to pick up. If you are holding quality you make life easy for yourself.

But here is my main point and the point of this article. Because people buy players who are rising because they are rising, there are good young players that are equally talented with good prospects who are being overlooked.

This week, I spent hours and hours combing through this seasons stats of all players aged 24 and under from the big 5 European leagues to find the most FI suitable candidates. I have rooted out players showing the same levels of ability as the Pepe’s, Havertz, Felix and Thorgan Hazards (ok he is 25). In some cases, they even match some of the £8+ players stat for stat. 

Once we have narrowed down the list, we then need to think about the softer factors like potential transfers and international appearances so we can consider who might be getting lots of attention and the chance of a first team spot at a big club.

There will be another part to this as I have another batch to share once I’ve done a bit more research on them. 

I will also do another article in the coming weeks on more long range, unknown players who have the right sort of stats but need a big club move. 

The Players

All the players below I believe to be of very high quality.  They represent some of the best prospects that have not yet risen to very high prices. Some may get attention soon and others are more long range, but they all show signs of being very strong FI players.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic - £3.31

Position: Central Midfield
Age: 24
Club: Lazio
Nationality: Serbia (10 caps) 
Market Value: €75m
Contract Expiry: 6/2023
Rumours: Previous links to AC Milan and Manchester United. 

Performance Suitability: 

Strong, with a good combination of involvement and goal threat. 

Recent Form:

A very poor season for him off and on the Index. He notched 5 big scores last season and has rarely threatened this term. He looks a bit better since December but still below his standards. He has fallen out with the fans at Lazio and these issues must be affecting his performances because he is a quality player. 

Thoughts and Changes:

A hugely disappointing season for one of the most hotly tipped transfer targets of last Summer and one of the strongest looking performance players before the season start. 

But, his transfer value is high and his unpopularity with the fans will lead to strong speculation about an exit.

All of this negative sentiment has beat him down to a very reasonable price for such a big ticket player with performance potential and a good chance of a Summer transfer to a big team. 

Current Ratring: 3 out of 5 stars
Potential Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

James Maddison - £4.09

Position: AMC
Age: 22
Club: Leicester
Nationality: England (0 caps) 
Market Value: €30m
Contract Expiry: 6/2023
Rumours: Various, including Spurs and Manchester United but his contract could make him an expensive buy. 

Performance Suitability: 

Wins are going to be hard to come by at Leicester but at a more dominant club, he has all the ingredients to be a very strong player. Good involvement with strong passing accuracy and good goal threat. Should only improve.

Recent Form:

A long dry spell which may reflect Leicester’s struggles more than anything. He is getting chances but not putting them away and this is definitely his own fault. But he has shown he has the ability earlier in the season and perhaps under Rodgers we can hope for an upturn in form. 

Thoughts and Changes:

He’s just crept out of the under £4 price range in the last few days due to the new manager bounce but I’m including him anyway. 

I would be all over this trade if the transfer links were stronger. My gut feeling is that with the contract the way it is, and a new manager to play under, it may be a season too early for Maddison to make his move. But, for traders looking beyond the next transfer window into next season, I peg him as a very strong future player particularly when he starts breaking into the England side which he surely will. 

Current Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Potential Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Cengiz Under - £3.46

Position: Winger
Age: 21
Club: Roma
Nationality: Turkey (17 caps)
Market Value: 35m
Contract Expiry: 5/2022 
Rumours: Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Juventus… you get the idea. 

Performance Suitability: 

A solid player. He usually sees plenty of the ball and should have decent baselines. His expected goals are good enough and he should be challenging a 5-6 times a season minimum. Could improve at a very dominant club.

Recent Form: 

Good, has some rotation issues but his goal threat recently has been particularly strong for him so I would not be surprised to see a big score in the near future. 

Thoughts and Changes

He does seem to pick up a fair few links to big clubs but with 3 years left on his deal I wonder whether it will be a season too early for the big move. Well worth monitoring though as has a lot of talent for the price and some chance of getting some transfer rumours to the right clubs. And, he is capable of challenging for wins for the rest of the season at Roma who are a solid club.

Current Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Potential Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Brais Mendez £2.51

Position: Winger
Age: 22
Club: Celta Vigo
Nationality: Spain (1 Cap)
Market Value: 18m
Contract Expiry: 6/2021 
Rumours: Nothing firm, but he is increasing in stature and may pick up some links. 

Performance Suitability: 

Decent. Capable of a win with a matchwinner due to good all round involvement. Has shown goal scoring capability with a fantastic run in November/December of 5 goals. Also scored on his recent debut for Spain and won the match for them. 

Recent Form: 

Broke a long scoring drought recently vs Levante, although they lost the game so he managed only 111. Capable of challenging for a win even at Celta Vigo if he continues to threaten. 

Thoughts and Changes

He does pick up occasional links although in November some of them were to Leicester which is not ideal. Still, he is having a good season and the match winner for Spain on debut is going to get him some attention. Definitely increasing in transfer value and becoming well regarded. Could be good for Summer transfer speculation but it may be a season too early. Has had a price drop due to his goal drought which makes him more budget friendly. 

Current Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Potential Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Rodrigo De Paul £2.06

Position: Winger
Age: 24
Club: Udinese 
Nationality: Argentina (4 Caps) 
Market Value: 16.2m
Contract Expiry: 5/2023 
Rumours: Roma, Tottenham, Napoli, Inter, Milan

Performance Suitability: 

Good, potentially very good in a team that gave him more chances. His baselines are high and should get higher at a big club. If a bigger club helped him turn those 4-6 goals a season into 8-10 he could be a regular contender. 

Recent Form: 

A long scoring drought, with not many good chances apart from the recent Torino game where his penalty was saved. Baselines are decent so if he does nick a goal he could post a big score. I wouldn’t be betting a ton on it though.

Thoughts and Changes

There are plenty of transfer noises but he did extend his contract just in November. This could be an attempt to raise the price rather than in hope of keeping him much longer. He has changed agents leading some to believe he is preparing for a Summer move. And he has no shortage of big name suitors. 

Current Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Potential Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (bumped up from 3, that was probably a bit harsh looking again). 

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