5 Young Players Teams Should Break the Bank for
As the transfer window nears, we take a look at five of the brightest young talents that clubs should break the bank to sign this summer.
All of the players included in this slideshow have been linked with a move away from their respective clubs and must be 20 or younger to qualify.
These five choices are arranged in the order that we feel best reflects their desirability in the transfer market, with the best coming in at No. 1. The rankings are determined by the players' experience, the position in which they play and the skill they have demonstrated in their careers so far.
Is there anyone you would add to the list? Let us know below!
5. Will Hughes
Club: Derby County
Derby County's Will Hughes will see his name cropping up in plenty of transfer talk this summer.
One of the hottest prospects in English football, Hughes has already been linked with a number of top-flight clubs including, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, as reported by David Wright in the Express last October.
Had Derby managed to secure promotion to the top flight via the play-offs last month, the question mark over Hughes' future would probably have disappeared. However, by failing to advance from the Championship it's now likely that several big clubs will be interesting in bringing him to the Premier League.
Hughes already possesses excellent technical ability and, since the age of 17, has been earmarked as "the next Steven Gerrard," as seen on Skysports.com.
Hughes played 47 games (in all competitions) for the Rams this season.
What They Say: The Sky Sports Scout, commenting on the England Under 21 international in May, said:
He gets likened to many players - but for me, he is the closest thing to a young Steven Gerrard I have seen in a long time. Less likely to play a Hollywood cross-field pass than Gerrard, that is in his locker, but it is his drive and his will to win, coupled with his God-given natural ability which makes it easy to compare.
Many players get tags as the next big thing, but similar to when the likes of Gascoigne, Gerrard, Wilshere emerged, Hughes is the real deal, and it is clear to see that.
4. Viktor Fischer
Position: Left wing/attacking midfield
When it comes to producing a long line of young midfield talent, Ajax never disappoint. One of the latest to impress in recent years is Viktor Fischer.
Fischer joined the Ajax academy in 2011, after being scouted from Danish side FC Midtjylland. Just 19, the winger already has two Eredivisie titles to his name, not to mention being named Danish Talent of the Year and Ajax Talent of the Year in his debut season, 2012/13.
He has since made 68 appearances for Frank de Boer's side.
Two years ago, he was already being linked with a move to the Premier League with Manchester United and Manchester City, as reported by the Mirror's Simon Mullock.
These days, it seems that Barcelona, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are keen, according to Adam Shergold and Simon Jones in the Daily Mail.
Fischer's current contract does not run out until June 2017, but a big-money offer could be enough to prise him away from the Amsterdam Arena. European big-hitters, ready your chequebooks.
What They Say: In January 2014, Elko Born wrote in FourFourTwo:
Even before Fischer signed for Ajax at the age of 15, he was on every scout’s radar and, to this day, an ever-growing stream of rumours is constantly linking him to some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Only 19 years old, he’s already been capped six times. Fischer simply seems destined for greatness.
3. Luke Shaw
Recent rumours indicate that Luke Shaw is already "close" to agreeing a move to join Manchester United, as reported by Alex Harris in the Express.
Shaw has had an excellent season at St Mary's, where he racked up 35 Premier League outings over the course of the 2013/14 campaign—earning himself a call-up to England's World Cup squad in the process.
The young teen—whose performances for the Saints first caught the eye in 2012/13—is wise beyond his years, technically superb and with a lethal left foot, he is strong, a good tackler and possesses an incredible turn of pace. He would make a key asset to many clubs across Europe.
With a price tag said to be in the region of £27 million, Manchester United must ensure that they pay big if they want to get Shaw on board.
What They Say: England striker and former Southampton teammate Rickie Lambert told The Independent's Sam Wallace, "There are not many weaknesses in Luke, he has everything. Not many people get past him. The best wingers in the Premier League won’t get the better of him. I can't remember one."
2. Julian Draxler
Position: Attacking midfield
It feels like Julian Draxler's name is a permanent fixture in the rumour mill and, in the face of much speculation, it's impressive that Schalke have managed to keep hold of him for so long.
Included in Joachim Low's Germany squad for the approaching World Cup (per FIFA.com), Draxler has been most recently linked with moves to Arsenal and Manchester United, as reported by Dave Filmer in Metro.
Arsenal have a long-standing interest in the young midfielder, who bagged six goals and 10 assists (in all competitions) for Schalke during the 2013/14 season.
Last year the Gunners were linked with the 20-year-old, as reported by Ben Jefferson in the Express. And again, during the January transfer window, Draxler was rumoured to be on his way to the Emirates, according to David Hytner in The Guardian.
This summer, Arsene Wenger's side need to pull out all the stops and spend big, to make sure they get their man.
What They Say: Schalke general manager Horst Heldt was quoted in The Guardian in January, saying: "We continue to hope that Julian will remain with us. But there are factors that we cannot influence."
Position: Central defence
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
As one of the most promising young talents in World football, Marquinhos has already been the subject of a big-money transfer—swapping Roma for PSG last summer for a fee of almost £30 million.
If reports are to be believed, he could be on the move again this summer and any top side in need of a central defender (there are many) should be prepared to pay through the nose to sign the Brazilian.
According to John Drayton in the Daily Mail, Barcelona look like they could be on the verge of signing Marquinhos, who made 21 appearances in Ligue 1 during the 2013/14 season.
Manchester United have also been linked with his name, with Marquinhos admitting last month that he will discuss his future when he returns from international duty with Brazil at the Under-21 Toulon Tournament.
He told Globo Esporte (h/t Skysports.com), "I always want to evolve and grow but I need to talk to my agent and PSG about my future. I'm pleased Barca think of me. It proves I'm doing my job on the pitch. When I've finished this tournament I'll speak with my agent and PSG and we will decide on my future."
Be it Barcelona or elsewhere, clubs should prepare for serious bank-breaking to snare Marquinhos this summer.
What They Say: Last summer, Goal.com's Mark Doyle wrote:
While he is tremendously composed with the ball at his feet, Marquinhos is no wannabe David Luiz, an attacker trapped in a defender’s body. He will not risk neglecting his defensive duties by recklessly setting off upfield in search of goals or glory. He is far too humble for that. This is a player to whom so much has come so quickly, and yet he has managed to maintain an endearing modesty.