5 Under-20 World Cup Stars Who Should Be on Chelsea's Radar
For many scouts and managers, the Under-20 World Cup marks a special time of the year in the football cycle.
Of course, this summer has been packed with plenty of football action, with the European Under-21 Championships taking place in Israel, and more recently, the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
But the youth tournament taking place in Turkey will have more significance than some may believe.
Taking a look at some of the selected players for previous tournaments, you'll see household names such as Lionel Messi, Adriano, Djibril Cisse and David Trezeguet among many other players.
And that's why Chelsea, who constantly scour the world for the stars of tomorrow, treat this competition seriously by sending some of their top scouts to the tournament. They've already signed up O'Higgins midfielder Cristian Cuevas, who is representing Chile in the tournament.
And we've compiled a list of five players whom the Blues should certainly think about purchasing once the tournament runs its course.
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Usually at 18 years old, the pressure on a young player is a tad lower than a £50 million player.
But as Armindo Tue Na Bangna (better known as Bruma) is certainly aware, the pressure of being labelled the next Cristiano Ronaldo can have its drawbacks.
An exciting young winger who has made just a handful of senior appearances for Sporting Lisbon, Bruma has excelled at the Under-20 World Cup with Portugal. The Guinea-Bissau-born starlet has scored five goals and set up two in just three games as his country topped the group.
A pacy and agile winger, Bruma is capable of striking the ball with either foot, meaning he has no trouble switching from right to left when in attack.
Chelsea have held a longstanding interest in swooping for the highly-rated forward since his schoolboy days, per The Metro. The arrival of Jose Mourinho will only fuel speculation that Bruma could move to Stamford Bridge.
According to the article, Bruma's deal expires next summer, and the Blues could sign the talented winger for a small fee with the capital club resigned to losing him.
Abdul Ajagun (Nigeria)
Nigera went through to the knockout stages of the Under-20 World Cup after a shocking 1-0 win over South Korea, but they had to thank their superb captain for helping them get there.
A midfielder who has experience playing in Youth World Cups, Abdul Ajagun has been one of the bright lights as The Super Eagles finished second in their group. His goal against Cuba highlighted his natural ability.
A box-to-box midfielder with a seemingly endless abundance of energy and stamina, Ajagun currently plays for Dophins FC in his homeland, although that could well change after the tournament in Turkey.
Ajagun is a composed midfielder reminiscent of a young Michael Essien, and he is not afraid to make a tackle if need be.
Chelsea already have one Nigerian prospect among their ranks in Kenneth Omeruo, who represented the African nation at the Confederations Cup. The 20-year-old Ajagun would be available for a nominal fee if the Blues were interested.
Granted, he is far from a finished article, but the future looks promising for the Port Harcourt-born youngster. Still, a move to an Eredivisie club seems to be more likely than the Premier League.
Juan Quintero (Colombia)
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Rumour has it that as James Rodriguez left Porto for Monaco in a deal worth €45 million, the Portuguese club had already lined up the attacking midfielder's replacement. And that player is Juan Fernando Quintero.
The 20-year-old has truly set the Under-20 World Cup alight with his stunning displays, scoring twice and setting up two goals for his teammates as the South American nation topped the group standings.
His impressive performances won't come as news to any Serie A observer, for Quintero has been one of the small beacons of light in a poor season for Pescara, who were relegated from Serie A.
But his time at the Italian club came to a close and he returned to parent club, Atletico Nacional. And since then, his name has been linked with some of Europe's biggest clubs, including Juventus and Udinese, per Goal.com.
But according to ESPN, Porto have stolen a march in the race to sign Quintero, with a £10 million deal mooted. Their reputation of nurturing Colombians into world-class players could be enough to convince the starlet to move to Estadio do Dragao.
Nevertheless, don't rule out Chelsea making a last-ditch attempt to convince the youngster to make a move to Stamford Bridge.
Jese Rodriguez (Spain)
Jese Rodriguez could be tempted to leave Real Madrid by only one man. And luckily for Blues fans, that man is Jose Mourinho.
The 20-year-old midfielder is arguably one of the best players to come through the Real Madrid academy in recent years, and has been lauded by the Spanish media as their own version of Cristiano Ronaldo.
With a slight frame, Jese is surprisingly strong and possesses an inventory of skills and pace, which he has used time and time again for Real Madrid's Castilla side in the Segunda division.
There, he has scored 32 goals in 80 appearances, and as a result, has received glowing reviews from the coaches at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But he won't be plying his trade with the "B" team next season, as Carlo Ancelotti is expected to promote the highly-rated youngster into the squad alongside Spanish youngsters Alvaro Morata and Nacho.
Negotiations about extending his contract to 2018 have begun, although there is every chance that the winger could eventually decide to move to the Premier League.
Dimitri Foulquier (France)
One of the surprise packages of the Under-20 World Cup, Dimitri Foulquier has impressed at full-back for the France side.
The 20-year-old has made 17 appearances for Ligue 1 club Rennes and has impressed manager Frederic Antonetti to the extent that he's now a permanent fixture in the first-team squad.
Primarily, Foulquier is a right-back, and at 6'0", he has a strong and powerful frame. In addition to that, he possesses a fair amount of pace, which allows him to break forward and support the winger ahead of him.
He put in a performance worthy of man of the match in the Under-20 World Cup opener against Ghana, displaying his composure and consistency at full-back.
While Chelsea are well-stocked in that position with Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, Sam Hutchinson and Wallace, Foulquier has all the right attributes to become a star for the French national team, and interest in securing his signature could be high after the tournament concludes later this month.