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Finding the next Kvaratskhelia: 10 players to watch in Europe next season

The emergence of 22-year-old Georgian sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia at Napoli in Serie A was one of the stories of last season, as Gli Azzurri delivered their first Scudetto title in 33 years in style.

Bursting onto the scene from nowhere, signing from Georgian outfit Dinamo Batumi for a fee in the region of €12m last summer, silky winger Kvaratskhelia was able to shine in both the Italian top flight and the Champions League as Napoli's scinitillating form sent shockwaves throughout Europe.

We've taken a look at which promising young players could be set to follow in the footsteps of the man Napoli's ardent supporters now refer to as 'Kvaradona', and enjoy a breakout campaign in one of Europe's top leagues - La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

La Liga

Arda Guler (Real Madrid)

One of the most talked about young talents in world football at the moment, 18-year-old attacking midfielder Arda Guler arrives at Real Madrid with a lofty reputation after some eye-catching performances for Turkish giants Fenerbahce last season.

Deemed the future of Turkish football, the precocious Guler has been compared to the great Lionel Messi with regards to his style of play, with a low centre of gravity and outstanding close control enabling him to eliminate opposition players in one-v-one situations at will.

Capable of operating on the right wing or in an advanced midfield position, it will be intriguing to see how much gametime is afforded to Guler in his first season at Los Blancos.

Mohamed-Ali Cho (Real Sociedad)

Signing for Real Sociedad from Angers for a fee in the region of €15m last summer, 19-year-old Mohamed-Ali Cho is a forward with electric pace and breath-taking skill.

Born in France and raised in England, Cho is also eligible for both Morocco and Ivory Coast. Having played for England at Under 16s level whilst on the books of Premier League side Everton, the youngster has most recently represented France's Under 21s internationally.

Cho can play all across the front, but his stature and instincts inside the box mark him out as a player who could emerge into one of the most deadly young strikers in Europe.

Alex Baena (Villarreal)

Named in the Team of the Tournament after Spain made it to the final of this summer's Under 21s Euros finals in Romania and Georgia, losing 1-0 to England, 21-year-old midfielder Alex Baena appears to possess all of the tools required for a long career at the highest level.

Registering an impressive 12 goals and six assists in all competitions for the Yellow Submarine last term, Baena is a supremely technically gifted midfielder with the ability to make the difference for his team in the final third.

View latest La Liga 2023/24 odds

Serie A

Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta)

The first defender on this list, Atalanta's 19-year-old centre-back Giorgio Scalvini made 32 appearances for the Nerazzurri in Serie A last season.

Already capped four times by Italy, the 6ft 4in centre-back has the potential to emerge into the latest in a long line of esteemed Italian defenders.

Scalvini is technically proficient and capable of building play from the back, whilst his height allows him to win the majority of his aerial duels.

With Atalanta finishing fifth in the Italian top flight last term, the upcoming 2023/24 campaign will see Scalvini and Co compete in the Europa League.

Tommaso Baldanzi (Empoli)

Scoring four Serie A goals from an attacking midfield position for Empoli last season, 20-year-old Tommaso Baldanzi is a player with a fast developing reputation in Italy.

Diminutive in stature at 5ft 7in, Baldanzi is a silky dribbler adept at manipulating the ball in tight situations, and boasts a powerful left foot.

Capped by Italy at various youth levels and having already been invited by Roberto Mancini to train with the senior squad, Baldanzi is reportedly drawing transfer interest from Juventus and Roma this summer along with other sizeable clubs on the continent including Borussia Dortmund and Benfica.

View latest Serie A 2023/24 odds


Benjamin Sesko (RB Leipzig)

One of a number of promising young talents to be honed at RB Salzburg before turning out for affiliated club RB Leipzig - following the path taken by the likes of Marcel Sabitzer, Konrad Laimer and Dominik Szoboszlai - Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko is expected to prove a big hit in the Bundesliga.

At 6ft 4in Sesko is a tall and athletic figure, with his physicality drawing parallels to fellow former RB Salzburg starlet Erling Haaland, and the 20-year-old was able to hit 16 league goals in the Austrian Bundesliga last term.

RB Leipzig will be hoping the arrival of Sesko can help fill the goalscoring void left by Christopher Nkunku who has departed for Chelsea this summer, and with the German outfit set to compete in the Champions League this season, the Slovenian will have a big platform to showcase his talent with all of Europe watching.

Mathys Tel (Bayern Munich)

It feels as though there is a never-ending conveyor belt of elite young French talent emerging across Europe at present, and 18-year-old Bayern Munich forward Mathys Tel could be the next player to break out in a big way.

Netting five goals in 22 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich last season, there is an expectation that Tel will be afforded further first team opportunities for the Bundesliga champions in the new campaign.

A dynamic forward capable of playing all across the frontline and adept at using both feet, Tel is adaptable enough to be used in different roles by Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel which makes him a very useful option in the squad despite his tender age.

Drawing comparisons with Kylian Mbappe in light of his capacity to play regularly at the highest level at such a young age, Tel will be aiming to make an even bigger impact in the Bayern first team ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (Borussia Dortmund)

With Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham fetching Borussia Dortmund around £150m following their respective transfers to Man United and Real Madrid, there is hope that their latest English prospect Jamie Bynoe-Gittens could enjoy similar success in the Bundesliga.

Signing from Man City in 2020, 18-year-old winger Bynoe-Gittens has worked his way into the first team setup at Dortmund and scored three goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances last season.

Although Bynoe-Gittens is accomplished using both feet, he is particularly dangerous when cutting in from the left flank onto his natural right side.

View latest Bundesliga 2023/24 odds

Ligue 1

Warren Zaire-Emery (PSG)

Making 26 appearances for PSG in Ligue 1 last season at the age of 17 as the Parisians retained the title, midfielder Warren Zaire-Emery has the potential to be a mainstay for club and country for many years to come.

Boasting an all-round skillset, Zaire-Emery has typically been deployed as a defensive midfielder in his fledgling club career, and has proven efficient at reading the game and making interceptions as well as dictating the tempo of PSG's possession.

A local boy who grew up in the suburbs of Paris, it will be compelling to see the role incoming PSG boss Luis Enrique affords Zaire-Emery in his first season in charge.

Bradley Barcola (Lyon)

Part of a Lyon side brimming with young talent, with the likes of attacking midfielder Rayan Cherki and centre-back Castello Lukeba also turning heads, 20-year-old forward Bradley Barcola could be set for a big season in Ligue 1 after coming to the fore in the latter stages of last term.

At 6ft tall, Barcola is a powerful forward who typically plays out wide but can also play through the middle. Direct and not afraid to take on defenders one-v-one, Barcola registered 14 goal contributions in Ligue 1 last season - four goals and nine assists.

A homegrown academy product, Barcola will be striving to increase his stock further in the upcoming campaign in order to put himself in the reckoning for a maiden international call-up for France ahead of next summer's Euros in Germany.

View latest Ligue 1 2023/24 odds

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