Top 20 Teenage Transfer Targets in World Football

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2014

Top 20 Teenage Transfer Targets in World Football

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    The transfer window in the football world might be closed, but that isn't stopping plenty of the top teams looking to the future to try and secure the best youngsters around.

    Barcelona are about to sign Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb, as per Sky Sports, while Tottenham have been linked with moves for more than one teenager this week.

    Here we collect 20 of the best teenage talents around who are being monitored by other clubs and could well make a move this summer—players who either are still 19 or under, or only turned 20 during the current season.

Alen Halilovic

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    We may as well start with Halilovic himself.

    Barca boss Tata Martino says, as per Sky Sports, talks have been ongoing for up to four years to bring the talented attacking midfielder to La Liga.

    The 17-year-old is already a full international for Croatia, has appeared in the Champions League and has played almost 50 senior games for his current club. 

Dennis Praet

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    Anderlecht's Dennis Praet has been linked with a move to the Premier League for a couple of years already, despite only being 19 years of age.

    The talented attacking midfielder was most recently linked with Liverpool, according to Mirror Football, but plenty of other top European teams are said to retain a watching brief.

    Praet has scored three times in 25 Jupiler League games this season.

Will Hughes

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    Will Hughes is perhaps the best-rated young player in England outside of the Premier League, with most top-flight clubs impressed by the Derby County midfielder.

    Equally comfortable in a central or a more attacking role, he has been reported by Mirror Football to have seen his club agree a first-option deal with Liverpool, though a January move did not materialise.

    Hughes and Derby are chasing promotion to the Premier League this season, in the play-off spots and just five points off an automatic promotion place.

Ismail Azzaoui

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    Tuesday's rumours have Tottenham Hotspur with Ismail Azzaoui in their sights.

    Azzaoui is a midfielder with Anderlecht who has turned down the chance to sign a professional deal with his club, according to the Daily Star.

    At just 16 years of age, the Belgian midfielder is not perhaps one to star immediately in Tottenham's side, but the White Hart Lane club have always been keen to add youth prospects to their side in the hope of bringing them through afterwards.

Ross Barkley

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    Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is one of a couple on the list who have just turned 20 and left their teenage years behind.

    The powerful central midfielder usually plays in an offensive role but can also perform in a more controlled box-to-box position, using his great ability to carry the ball forward to help his side move quickly up the field.

    The Telegraph have already linked him with Chelsea as Juan Mata's replacement, but Manchester United are also said to have a big interest in him.

Juan Iturbe

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    Juan Iturbe's career took a bit of a nosedive while at Porto, but now on loan at Hellas Verona in Italy, he is once again showing his capabilities and is interesting plenty of big clubs.

    TalkSPORT claim Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are all interested in the Argentine-born forward, who has netted five times this season in Serie A.

    Juve and Roma also want to keep him in Italy.

Luke Shaw

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    Southampton's left-back Luke Shaw has already gained many admirers, and those aren't going to become any less in numbers after his inclusion in the full England squad.

    Shaw, aged 18, has already totalled more than 50 appearances for his club side and is one of the most exciting young prospects in the league.

    The Independent reports that Saints want to keep him, naturally, but that his list of suitors includes Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Julian Green

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    Bayern Munich's young forward Julian Green isn't exactly at the centre of a transfer tug-of-war, but he is wanted for a switch—at international level.

    Having represented Germany at youth level including under-17s and under-19s, the Florida-born attacker is training with the United States national side ahead of their midweek international friendly.

    So far there is no indication he has filed the necessary report to make the switch to playing permanently for the country of his birth, but they certainly want to call him their own.

Max Meyer

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    Schalke's talented attacking midfielder Max Meyer has drawn plenty of attention from outside the Bundesliga already.

    Chelsea are reported to be interested, as per Mirror Football, though Schalke are confident of holding on to him.

    The 18-year-old has become a regular this season, scoring five times in 19 league games and also featuring in the Champions League.

Rodney Kongolo

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    Mirror Football are reporting two of the top three teams in the Premier League want Feyenoord midfielder Rodney Kongolo.

    Manchester City and Liverpool are after him—although it was thought Manuel Pelligrini would sign him for City last summer initially.

    The midfielder is a 16-year-old anchor man, likened to Patrick Vieira.

Adnan Januzaj

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    Adnan Januzaj has been making headlines since breaking into the Manchester United lineup this season, but even so, it would not normally be expected that a young star would be tempted away from Old Trafford.

    Such is United's plight this season that PSG seem confident of signing him on a big-money deal, with Mirror Football reporting they had a bid rejected for him in January. Other media outlets insist PSG will return with a bigger bid in the summer.

    Januzaj's close control, movement and vision make a mockery of the teenager's years.

Gerard Deulofeu

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    Gerard Deulofeu isn't likely to be heading anywhere on a permanent deal this summer, but there will be a lot of transfer interest in him just the same.

    Following from his so-far successful loan season with Everton in the Premier League, clubs in the English top flight and elsewhere will almost certainly be keen to benefit from a similar deal.

    Pacy, blessed with great dribbling skills and an improving end product, Deulofeu is a quality attacker with a chance of making it at one of the best attacking sides in the world—though the 20-year-old could yet benefit first from a season of being a regular starter elsewhere.

Julian Draxler

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    Another Schalke player now is attacker Julian Draxler, who has just turned 20 this season.

    Arsenal have long been linked with a move for the left-sided player, who is a regular for his club and has a reported buy-out clause of £37 million, as per Sky Sports.

    Draxler looks set to be involved in the Champions League again next season even if he doesn't leave, with Schalke currently fourth in the Bundesliga.

Doria

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    Brazilian centre-back Doria is a big transfer target for a number of huge clubs in Europe, though he has perhaps been most heavily linked with a move to Italy.

    The 19-year-old has attracted interest from AC Milan, Juventus and Roma, though in England Chelsea and Tottenham both have more than just a watching brief, according to Mirror Football.

    He has already been capped once at senior international level, is rated at around £11 million and still has another year on his contract to run at his present club, Botafogo.

Jurgen Locadia

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    PSV Eindhoven forward Jurgen Locadia has scored eight times this season in the Eredivisie and the 20-year-old looks to be one of the next talented Dutch attackers to depart.

    He signed a long-term contract with PSV last season, but his pace and ability to shoot from all angles has seen an increase in interest in him, with Aston Villa one of those reported to be considering him before the last transfer window, as per Mirror Football.

Lazar Markovic

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    One of the summer transfer stories to watch will be that of Lazar Markovic.

    The Serbian international, who just turned 20 this week, is reported to be "owned" by Chelsea, as per Sky Sports, while the Express reports that Benfica will enjoy his services on loan for two seasons.

    With Markovic enjoying such a good campaign with the Liga Sagres leaders, it remains to be seen whether he remains in place next year, is recalled by Chelsea...or whether they have to buy him outright.

Angel Correa

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    San Lorenzo's 18-year-old striker Angel Correa is wanted by Manchester City, according to Mirror Football.

    The young Argentine forward has, predictably enough, been labelled as the new Sergio Aguero, having scored in the Copa Libertadores this season and netting four in domestic league action, too.

    Barcelona, Napoli and Arsenal are also keen on the £10 million-rated attacker.

Jose Campana

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    There aren't really too many rumours surrounding Jose Campana at the moment, but don't be surprised to see them start up in summer.

    The classy and elegant passing midfielder is a star in the making...and could hardly find himself at a more unsuitable club. Crystal Palace appointed Tony Pulis earlier in the season and, what with the clash of styles, Campana didn't feature at all under him.

    He's been on loan in Germany at Nuremberg, but someone will certainly look to sign him permanently in the summer.

Raphael Varane

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    Real Madrid's enormously talented centre-back Raphael Varane has seen his chances limited somewhat this season, with Chelsea and Arsenal said to be fiercely motivated by the thought of signing him.

    Jose Mourinho will pay £25 million to bring the French 20-year-old to Stamford Bridge, reports the Express.

    Manchester United are also said to be interested—though in truth, if he were available, probably every big side with a big transfer kitty would want to try and sign him.

M'Baye Niang

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    We finish up with AC Milan's powerful and exciting—though raw—forward, M'Baye Niang.

    Niang was linked with a move to both Arsenal and Tottenham before the January window, as per Metro, but he eventually joined Montpellier on loan. He has scored three goals in eight games in his time in Ligue 1, though has also suffered with off-field issues.

    Whether Milan opt to loan him out again or give him a fresh start by selling him, there will be no shortage of takers for the 19-year-old striker, who has shown ability both centrally and on the wing.