10 Most Exciting Young Talents in Serie A
Ever since the influx of foreign owners and new money invading other leagues in Europe, the owners in Serie A knew they had to take a different approach to keep the Italian league competitive.
Long gone were the days of Silvio Berlusconi filling two world-class starting XIs at Milan. Now was the time to produce through youth and keep Italy financially balanced.
We've seen a plethora of youngsters in the past few years, both Italian and from abroad, who have come into Serie A and been nurtured into world-class talents. Youngsters can now find more playing time in the top flight, and it's evident when you take a look at some of the names on this list.
Here we go—the top 10 most exciting young talents in Serie A.
Luis Muriel (Udinese)
The Colombian striker currently plying his trade at Udinese has remarkable speed and a natural finishing instinct in front of goal.
Despite being plagued by weight problems earlier in his career, Muriel has been tipped by teammate Antonio Di Natale to perhaps score more than 30 goals this season if he stays healthy.
If he continues at this pace, it will be hard to see Udinese being able to keep hold of him, as he has already drawn interest outside of Italy
Mateo Kovacic (Inter)
Big things are expected from the 19-year-old Croatian midfielder after he joined from Dinamo Zagreb.
Leading a new wave of youth at Inter, Kovacic will have his chances to shine right away. He's a technical midfielder with a stocky build who loves to get forward.
Paul Pogba (Juventus)
I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Pogba in Miami when he came for the International Champions Cup. The young phenom has the right mentality to truly develop into a world-class player.
He's humble and grounded on his feet, fully aware of the position he's in with both Juventus and the French national team.
Pogba has a venomous shot from long range, the ability to defend and create, and is also an aerial threat on set pieces. Really, there is no ceiling which can be used to describe the level of talent this youngster has.
Stephan El Shaarawy (Milan)
The star known as Il Faraone managed 19 goals in all competitions last year with Milan, despite a dramatic dip in form in the second half of the season.
After losing a starting spot on Cesare Prandelli's Italian national team in the Confederations Cup, El Shaarawy returns to Milan with a chip on his shoulder looking to prove he isn't just a one-year wonder.
El Shaarawy has great pace, technique and excellent work-rate, which makes him useful even when he isn't scoring.
Mauro Icardi (Inter)
After joining Inter from Sampdoria, Mauro Icardi looks to spearhead the attack of Inter's new generation.
Surprisingly, he played his youth football at Barcelona's famous La Masia, but hardly plays like a prototypical Blaugrana product.
He's a typical No. 9—a big, physical striker who can lead the front line and play in the air. Expect his workload to continue to increase throughout the season.
Simone Zaza (Sassuolo)
The 22-year-old striker was purchased by Serie A minnows Sassuolo after terrorizing the Italian Serie B with Ascoli.
A complete forward who is noted for cool finishing and impressive aerial ability, Zaza will get valuable experience at Sassuolo as they look to start their fight for salvation right away.
He is owned by Juventus and could very well feature for them in the future if he does well at provincial sides.
Mattia Perin (Genoa)
After conceding the most goals in Serie A history with Pescara last season, Mattia Perin was shaken up over the summer and didn't know if he had a starting spot in Serie A until Genoa handed him the reins after selling veteran Sebastian Frey.
Still raw, the acrobatic Mattia Perin has a lot to learn in terms of positioning, but has cat-like reflexes which have made him stand out in a slew of games.
Francesco Bardi (Livorno)
The starting goalkeeper for the Italian U-21 national team guided the Azzurrini to their U-21 World Cup final. Despite losing to a more talented Spanish side, Bardi was exceptional throughout.
After gaining experience last season as the starter at Serie B side Novara, newly promoted Livorno took a chance on him and gave him the starting spot between the pipes this season.
He has impressed so far, making spectacular reaction saves and showing a leadership far beyond his years.
Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria)
The tall, wiry Gabbiadini is another Juventus-owned striker doing well at smaller clubs in Italy.
He's a bit different than your prototypical Italian striker. Hardly the big, rumbling predator in the box, Gabbiadini is a graceful athlete with a powerful shot and plenty of technique.
Manolo now joins Delio Rossi's system at Sampdoria, where he'll look to thrive.
He has a fantastic left foot and showed last season with Bologna that he can also play on the wing.
Adem Ljajic (Roma)
After falling out of favor with Fiorentina despite having his best career season last year with the Tuscan outfit, Ljajic finds a new home at Roma, where he made an instant impact by scoring a spectacular goal only minutes after his second-half substitution.
He can play as a second striker or winger, and really thrives on long-distance shots or set pieces. Ljajic also has great vision and creates for teammates regularly.
The 21-year-old already has plenty of experience in Serie A, and he's one of the most promising talents who is criminally underrated outside of the peninsula.
BONUS: Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
What else is there to say about Lorenzo Insigne?
The Napoli man is one of the most scintillating prospects who has won a place on the Italian national team and figures to be an integral part of next year's World Cup.
Insigne is a diminutive winger who plays on the left of a trident. He loves cutting it on his right foot and either setting up teammates or curling a ball into the top corner.