10 Young Players to Watch in Serie A Next Season

Matteo BonettiContributor IJune 27, 2013

10 Young Players to Watch in Serie A Next Season

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    Now more than ever, young players are able to flourish in the Serie A like never before.

    European giants led by an endless supply of money spend lavishly while the Italian league has had to accept its fate and realize that success will have to come from the youth sectors. 

    Outlined here are ten of the most promising players in Italy in no particular order that you'll need to keep your eye on next season.

Luis Muriel

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    If he stays healthy, he can score 30-goals next season in Serie A

    This is the sentiment Udinese has over their new jewel.

    Already known as the Colombian Ronaldo, Luis Muriel is yet another prized finding from Udinese's famed scouting network which continually plucks out world class prospects in South America.

    The 22-year-old Muriel managed 12 goals in 22 Serie A appearances last season with the Zebrette, even though he faced fitness issues and had a string of injuries throughout the campaign.

    Watch the Colombian striker closely enough and you'll begin to see why he's compared to the Brazilian Ronaldo. Plenty of pace, a frame which will continue to bulk up, and a natural eye for goal, these are just some of Muriel's qualities.

    Udinese know they won't be able to hold onto him for too much longer, but the player has decided to stay put for another year, knowing that the experience he'll get will prove to be invaluable in the long run.

Mattia Destro

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    Mattia Destro will have to carry the hopes of a frenetic Roma fan base next season.

    With Pablo Osvaldo out of new coach Rudi Garcia's plans next season, the Italian striker will get his chance to consistently partner up with Francesco Totti up front. Destro will look to improve his tally from last year, where he managed 11-goals in all competitions.

    He's a technical striker with good pace, a strong physique, and the ability to finish with both feet as well as the head. Destro lost a bit of effectiveness when former coach Zdenek Zeman deployed him as a winger in a 4-3-3 formation.

    To be at his best, Mattia will need to play a more central role in Roma's high-octane offense.

Mattia De Sciglio

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    Only recently a teenager, Mattia De Sciglio is one of Italy's best hopes for the future.

    The right-footed left back has not only won a place with Milan after coming up through their youth ranks, but is Cesare Prandelli's first choice on the Italian national team.

    Picking up invaluable experience in Brazil, De Sciglio has already drawn comparisons to the legendary Paolo Maldini. 

    He's a modern fullback who is just as comfortable going forward as he is defending. De Sciglio loves to cut the ball onto his right foot and send in crosses, and is hardly caught out on the defensive end.

Francesco Bardi

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    The little-known Francesco Bardi had a chance to show off his skill-set to the world when coach Devis Mangia made him the Italy U-21 Italian national team starter.

    The young goalkeeper plied his trade for Novara last season in the Serie B, but has been recalled by his hometown team Livorno which has just been promoted to the first division.

    Quick reflexes and calm under pressure, Bardi made a series of fantastic saves throughout the U-21 World Cup. However, he'll be under a constant barrage with Livorno as they're arguably the weakest team in Serie A. 

    Despite their futility, expect Bardi to pick up valuable experience and be courted by some of Italy's giants in a few years.

Marquinhos

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    The 19-year-old Brazilian central defender has been a revelation since joining Roma from his native Corinthians.

    The Capital club has had to fend off many high-profile offers from some of Europe's richest clubs as Marquinhos has caught the eye with a defensive timing and anticipation far beyond his years.

    Expect Marquinhos to stay with the Giallorossi, as they are an improving team with an ambitious project. A new stadium is in the works, and their American owners know exactly how to market their team worldwide.

Paul Pogba

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    For all of Sir Alex Ferguson's qualities, letting midfield maestro get away from Manchester United was probably one of the most regrettable decisions during his historic reign.

    Juventus snapped up the Frenchman instantly, and he's managed sneak his way into one of the finest midfield's in world football.

    Blessed with a cannon shot, Paul Pogba is a box-to-box player who can do a little bit of everything. He's physically imposing and impressive in the air, giving Juventus a modern midfielder who has also been called up to the French national team.

    While a starting place isn't guaranteed at Juventus, Paul is in the perfect situation to hone his skillset as the likes of Andrea Pirlo cannot continue forever.

Stephan El Shaarawy

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    Even though his Milan future is now in doubt, Stephan El Shaarawy is one of Italy's best prospects.

    The youngster was Serie A's leading goalscorer before Christmas, losing that tag after being mentally and physically devastated by a coach who encouraged him to track back as a faux-left-back.

    At only 20-years-old, too much has been made about his dip in form this calendar year. El Shaarawy already showed his personality by dragging a team with a historic aura out of the relegation zone in the beginning of last season, and scoring some of the most important goals, including the fantastic run against Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League.

    If he remains at Milan, expect El Shaarawy to bounce back and rekindle the form which has made him one of the most exciting players in Europe.

Erik Lamela

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    Lamela is the third Roma player on the list and perhaps the one with the most upside.

    With 15-goals last season, the 20-year-old winger has a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque quality about him. He's a tall, wiry athlete with sensational technique and a fantastic left-foot which he loves cutting onto from the right side of the attack.

    It'll be hard for Roma to keep him though, as he's had plenty of suitors in recent months. His goal-scoring tally is perhaps the most surprising and salivating part of his game, as he wasn't brought over from Argentina because of his clinical finishing. 

Mauro Icardi

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    The Sampdoria striker has been linked with a move to Inter after an impressive second half of the season which was capped off by a four-goal effort against Pescara.

    A former Barcelona product, Icardi isn't quite built from the same materials of most players coming out of La Masia.

    Physically, he's big enough to lead the attack and has positioning skills mirroring that of a young Filippo Inzaghi. Blessed with a more natural skill than a player like Pippo, Icardi has all the tools to develop into a formidable striker for a team with high ambitions.

Adem Ljajic

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    The 21-year-old old Serbian attacking midfielder really exploded onto the scene last season with Fiorentina.

    After a dramatic fall-out with former Viola coach Delio Rossi which led to him physically assaulting Ljajic on the sidelines, the youngster reclaimed his place in the formation after developing a good relationship with new coach Vincenzo Montella.

    Not only has he been an integral part in Fiorentina's rise to fame with his creative gene, but he's also showed off an impressive free-kick taking ability, as well as wonder strikes from outside the box.

    Expect Ljajic to score more than 10 goals next season with the Tuscan outfit.