The 10 youngsters to watch in 2010 World Soccer transfer market
Yes, we're in the middle of October, and yes, you should probably keep yourself focused on what's actually happening on the field.
You know, top leagues around Europe are entering their hottest phases, and World Cup 2010 qualifiers are living their most crucial moments, as traditional powerhouses Argentina and France are all but sure to clinch a place for South Africa.
Yes, we're perfectly aware of that, and no doubt all of this "real" soccer will get our full attention through the whole year.
BUT...you know, there's not only "real" soccer. Soccer is always living for tomorrow, and 365 days a year we just want to find the Next Big Thing, as every left-footed kid from Argentina is labelled as the new Maradona (you still there, Andrés D'Alessandro?).
So, here are 10 players to watch from here to summer 2010, when they may be ready for the biggest teams in the world.
They're all under-23, they play for good teams around Europe or South America, most of them have even international experience.
But how many of them can make it to the very top of World Soccer, and earn a big money transfer in 2010? Have your say!
Number 10: Ola Toivonen
23 years old Toivonen is becoming a key player for Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
The versatile Swede can play everywhere up-front in a 4-3-3 system, but is more than capable to operate as an attacking midfielder as well.
At 6'3" (1,90m) he's a good header of the ball and an ideal target-man, but he also shows surprising dribble skills and a remarkable technique.
With veteran striker Henrik Larsson near his forties and Zlatan Ibrahimovic considering an early retirement from international football, the multi-talented Toivonen could be just the right man at the right place for Sweden.
Number 9: Michael Bradley
U.S.A. midfield general Michael Bradley is definitely a player to watch. He was brilliant at the 2009 Confederations Cup, when he led his team to an unexpected second place.
This guy can do it all: he can tackle, he can pass, he can shoot, he has an eye for the goal and impressive stamina. Plus, he plays like a veteran - and he's only 22.
Bradley is enjoying good success in his European spell, but right now modest German side Borussia Moenchengladbach may not be good enough for him.
Number 8: Steven Defour
Standard Liège skipper Steven Defour is a mainstay for both club and country.
Yet he's still just 21 and waiting to test himself in Europe's best leagues: the Belgian playmaker has led Standard to the title for the first time in 25 years, but let's face it, the Jupiler League is far from being Europe élite.
With Premier League giants Arsenal reportedly interested in Defour, we'll see if the Belgian midfield maestro can take his leadership and amazing passing skills to the next level.
Number 7: Balázs Dzsudzsák
Here's another player from PSV, Hungarian winger Balázs Dzsudzsák.
A traditional left winger, 22 years old Dzsudzsák quickly became a key player for both club and country, and you can really understand why.
He's blessed with terrific pace, excellent dribble skills and first touch, he's a great crosser and has an eye for goal, too.
The Hungarian left winger is definitely going to be amongst world's top wingers in the next years, and it will be quite hard for PSV to keep him in Eindhoven after 2010.
Number 6: Hulk
Hulk: the name says it all. A powerful yet talented attacker who can play as a center forward or as a supporting striker, this 23 years old from Brazil may be ready to explode at the highest level.
He has a hammer in his left foot, and he's more than willing to use it from every distance; good control of the ball and superb finishing are also part of the package.
Curiously, Hulk spent four years of his career in Japan (including playing in J-2, the Japanese 2nd tier), and that's where Portuguese giants Porto found this gem.
After only one year at the club, Hulk has established himself as an important first team player, and one of the most promising youngsters in Europe.
Number 5: David Luiz
Let's take a break from all of these strikers, wingers and playmakers. Brazilian centre back David Luiz is a commanding presence in the heart of Benfica's defence.
At 6'3" (1,90m) he's a towering mark-man renowned for his aerial ability, but his more than respectable technique and ball skills mean he's competent at left-back as well.
The 22 year old versatile defender is an automatic first choice for Benfica and a former youth international for Brazil, and is now expected to make the next step and earn his first cap with the Seleçao, and maybe a big time transfer next summer.
Number 4: Alan Dzagoev
Ok, this kid was born in 1990 and he's currently CSKA Moscow number 10 as well as a Russian international, so you'd think he must be some kind of special. And he actually is.
Dzagoev is a wonderful playmaker blessed with flawless technique and excellent passing skills, he's a free kick specialist and an effective goal-scorer, plus he shows a hard-working attitude and great charisma for a teenager.
A pure number 10, don't be surprised if Dzagoev develops into one of the best attacking midfielders of the next decade.
Number 3: Neymar
You know, this list could never be complete without a over-hyped, over-talked and maybe overrated South American teenager who got more big titles on the papers than goals made or trophies won, so here's my pick.
17 years old Neymar looks SO much like "The New Robinho", and it's not just the looks, that Santos kit or the shirt number.
The way he dribbles past defenders, his amazing footwork, all those tricks with the ball, and even how he likes to play on the left side of the pitch to suddenly cut inside, all of Neymar's game style feels like a déja-vu from the Manchester City star.
And at 17, it really doesn't sound like a bad place to start.
Number 2: Ángel Di María
If you're 21, you're from Argentina, you play in the same position of Messi, Tevez, Lavezzi and Aguero, and you still make it to the National team, then you can't be that bad.
Left-footed attacker Di María is a dribble artist and a gifted playmaker, usually deployed as a winger - he's equally comfortable on both flanks - or as an attacking midfielder.
Portuguese giants Benfica just renewed his contract until 2015 (with a reported 40 million euros buy-out clause), but don't be surprised if this season will reveal to be his last in the Liga Sagres.
Number 1: Luis Suárez
Top of the list, Ajax and Uruguay forward Luis Suárez. To me, this guy is top-class, right now. His scoring form has been unbelievable this year, for both club and country. I mean, this season he already had two 4-goals games!
Suárez is a versatile, complete forward who can play anywhere up-front, he's a deadly finisher and a clutch performer, and he's simply too good for the Dutch League.
Spanish giants Barcelona are said to be interested in the Uruguayan striker, as they consider Suárez an ideal replacement for aging French legend Thierry Henry.
So, it's going to be Messi-Ibrahimovic-Suárez? Sounds like you can't do much better than that.
PS First picture of the first introductory slide: Stevan Jovetic. He's not in the list, because he already plays for a GREAT team.