Good Young Players – Part 2
These are a group of what I consider to be good young players with good prospects on FI.
I’ve stopped short of calling this batch “wonderkids” but they are still high quality and can be profitable trades.
20 year old Ajax and Netherlands U20 midfielder. Hasn’t seen too many minutes for the seniors but has been playing regularly for Ajax II.
In February – March 2020 he featured in 3 senior games though. And with Ziyech and possibly others leaving in the next window, space may free up in the team for him next season.
His Ajax II record has been solid with 12 goals this term plus 1 for the senior side and 3 for Netherlands U20. Decent assist potential too.
The drawback is the soft underlying numbers – I don’t actually expect huge baselines and a goal may not really be enough for him.
But, he’s cheap at £1.28 and he has been up at £1.55 in January. All he’ll really have to do is start for Ajax and score some goals and he should start rising. He’s capable of that.
There is some IPD value there. Whether he actually looks like a regular FI performance winner is in question but at lower prices we do not need perfection. Especially in an ineligible league where any poor scores will not be revealed quickly.
I like him as a trade at this price, but I’d be watching any Ajax starts and assessing whether he has real appeal or not later.
Still just 20 and has never got going at Lille after his move last Summer.
I’ve reviewed Weah positively before in pre-season, unfortunately, a string of bad injuries meant he has never had a chance to live up to his promise. He’s managed just 84 minutes for Lille all season.
Historically though, his stats are very good for a forward ( ?) even accounting for them being from his time at Celtic who play in a soft league.
There is a reason I liked him, he is capable of performance wins. And the price is right, knocked down to just £1.23 now. He’s been into the £1.30’s twice – in pre-season and in February when he was making his injury comeback.
The issue here is his injury record as it isn’t just one injury, it’s recurring injuries which always set alarm bells ringing.
But it could just be bad luck. At 20 years old I think it’s a bit too early to ship him off to the knacker’s yard.
I’d have a look at the injury history and see if you are happy with this because that element is a gamble. I’m confident in his FI potential though.
As an odd aside that would only ever matter in the often mad world of FI, players with a famous Dad often pick up buying easier if they start doing well. George Weah in this case.
Maybe there is something about familiarity that leads to buying. Maybe people think it’s like breeding horses. Maybe people are just crazy. But I’ve seen it often enough to call it a minor factor worth being aware of.
Once one of the hottest prospects around, both in reality and on FI, Diaz has had a quiet year.
He has real performance potential though. And we have to remember he is still just 20. Players appear on our radar so young on FI that we can forget how old they really are. We could mistake Diaz for a veteran he’s been discussed for so long.
When he does get minutes, I like what I see. A lot. He gets in my potential ratings and I do not give those out easy.
For a forward he’s got really strong involvement and his baselines should be very strong. He’ll just need to add goals and we know he can if given the chance.
The difficulty here is uncertainty about the next step in his career. Whether that is more minutes for Real, a loan, or a transfer, we can’t be sure.
What would surprise me though is if such a talent was just left to rot next season. I think given the price at £1.29 it is worth the gamble on something positive breaking for him over the next 6 months or so.
It’s a really strong value price for a very high potential Real Madrid player who is still just 20. Other than minutes played and the current pecking order there is no reason why Diaz is not matching Vinicius or Rodrygo – I’d say his FI numbers are better than both of them, certainly better than Vinicius.
I first highlighted 20 year old midfielder Elmas on 16th Sept after a great game for Napoli where he managed a 124 score in 77 mins without a goal or assist, yet had chances. It highlights his strong baseline potential.
Combined with a decent goal scoring history, that became of interest as he was only £1.04. He went on to do really well, heading up to £1.40 just a few weeks later after more good displays.
Since then though Napoli’s late 2020 nightmare plus his heavy rotation hasn’t helped him and he’s back at £1.05 now.
He’s still just 20 though and to have played 715 minutes so far this season for Napoli – that’s pretty good development wise.
He’s got quality but it doesn’t show up on his historic FI scores because of rotation and awful Napoli form in late 2019.
Young players trying to break through are always a punt but Elmas has the quality, a good team, and is back to a strong value price again.
Good for a patient trader who’s happy to hold for 6 months or more.
Larsen is a big talent that has struggled for minutes at Dortmund. But he moved to Hoffenheim in January for first team football and should get the chance to become a first team regular there.
That’s not a bad thing and is much preferable to languishing on the bench at Dortmund. He’s got a real chance to establish himself there.
But can even a good player win performance scoring at Hoffenheim? Probably not. Maybe as a one off.
He is only £1.11 though so it’s not a bad punt – he could establish and score some goals, getting a rise off that as people look for IPD and a new young talent.
This could be one for a very long term minded trader (a year+?) or a good one to put on a watch list. I would not charge into him now but he is worth being aware of and seeing how he gets on at Hoffenheim.
He could do really well and start picking up bigger club rumours later, but it is probably later later.
He could also be a nice low key pick ahead of Euro 2021 as he might be in the Denmark team by then.
21 year old Wolfsburg and Croatia midfielder.
Has risen in popularity (and price) recently due to a 3 goal streak in February, including 2 Europa League goals vs Malmo.
Boosted European scores tend to make players look better than they are. Oddly, I’m not sure many people realise this as big European scores get lots of buying even if they would be unremarkable also rans on a normal match day.
Brekalo is capable of better scores than his peaks around the 200-220’s indicate, but a lot would have to come together. It’s tough to be a regular contender at Wolfsburg and I don’t expect this.
As a longer term prospect though, he does have a chance of a bigger club move in future and at a good performance team he is capable of improving and becoming a contender.
Baselines are a touch low for a midfielder, but the goal threat and assist potential are very good. I can forgive the soft baselines a bit – we can reasonably expect these to improve for a player like this in a better team.
Price is a bit of an issue, he’s seen a big rise in recent weeks. Part of that might be to do with optimism for the Bundesliga returning. There isn’t another obvious reason for the ~30p rise. I don’t like that much – it suggests involvement of a pumping group or similar.
On the other hand, he was £1.62 just in February and had a big drop, so if you take his last 6 month average he hasn’t moved all that much.
Given his potential I think £1.69 is a decent price. I particularly like his consistent Croatia minutes – a factor that will come in handy with a whole year of looking forward to Euro 2021 ahead.
22 year old Barcelona midfielder, in a similar situation to Brahim Diaz. Lots of talent, good levels of FI suitability, no way so far of proving it without regular minutes.
His stats are hard to read because they are so broken up with very few 90 minute games, even at Real Betis where he has been on loan since January.
But there is enough there to convince of solid baselines if we dig, his distribution in particular is excellent and his passing accuracy top class. He has lacked goals but does show threat particularly if we go back a couple of seasons to Barcelona II where he scored 11 goals in a season.
He’s a gamble for two reasons. He hasn’t proven his performance suitability yet, but I think he has potential. And is certainly better than his scoring record suggests.
Secondly, like Diaz, you can find a rumour to match any future you want ranging from having a role at Barcelona next season to another loan or even a transfer to Inter. Holders will need to hit a bit of luck with either Barcelona minutes or a good move.
Far from perfect but at this price you are always taking a punt. The question is does the price make that punt good value?
At 98p down from a high of £1.45 in just January then in my opinion it is.
21 year old PSV forward who was hitting great form before football was suspended with 3 goals in his last 3.
At his November 22 review when he IPO’d I thought he had some potential but looked well behind other Dutch talent.
That was true then. It’s less true now. Lots of those Dutch talents who were ahead of him are already being snapped up by bigger clubs and he may be more prominent next season, especially in this kind of form.
What he needs to appeal from an ineligible league is hatfuls of goals if we want him to rise in price and he’s doing that now. This is also, unfortunately, why he is ~20p more expensive than a few months ago.
But overall £1.64 is a decent price for a player who could be in hot demand if this scoring rate continues.
I don’t think he is a special performance player. He shows better than average stats for a forward but my general assumption is these will decline a bit when/if he moves to a more competitive league. But they are just good enough to call him a decent FI prospect at .
22 year old Fiorentina and Serbia centre back.
I don’t cover many defenders in this sort of article. The reason being that in this current scoring system so few of them are actually any good and capable of winning reliably.
The field is too large and too average so it ends up trading wins between each other, with very few able to emerge as the consistent frontrunner.
This particularly applies at centreback.
I will however highlight Milenkovic though because he does fit the type of CB who does better on FI, due to his excellent passing ability. That is also a trait currently very in demand at top clubs, and it’s no surprise he is getting big transfer rumours including Manchester United and Barcelona.
I also like his consistent minutes for Serbia who still have a decent chance of qualifying for Euro 2021 through the playoffs.
He’ll need a bit of luck to drop on the right transfer for sure. But now would be the time to take that punt with him down to just 82p having spent most of the last 6 months closer to 90p.
Not a huge drop but he’s also closer to his potential “lucky” moment than ever as the transfer window approaches (hopefully!).
22 year old midfielder for Sassuolo and Italy U21 with transfer rumours including to Inter and Juventus.
He’s not my typical sort of player because he’s too deep to be a regular threat. But I will make exceptions where warranted. His baselines are top drawer, and to be getting these kind of involvement numbers (passing accuracy in particular) at a smaller club shows his quality.
He could have Alcantara levels of involvement in the right team.
Where he falls down is a lack of goal threat, although 4-5 a season wouldn’t be too much to ask. That could make him an occasional contender.
Also, for people who (wrongly) shop by average performance score, they will confuse him for a potential world beater. And lots of people do misuse statistics like that.
That can mean that he sees extra buying if he does make a move and his current £1.20 price which has been stable for 3-4 months now looks very fair to me.