World Football: The Top 10 Soccer Players Under 20 on the Planet Right Now

Phil ConstableCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2011

World Football: The Top 10 Soccer Players Under 20 on the Planet Right Now

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    The greater knowledge of football's hottest teenage commodities has evolved as quickly as the technology that supplies us with more information and footage of a barely professional prospects than the most rigorous club scouts.

    In today's world a simple search of a name unbeknownst to the casual football fan can provide a metropolis of knowledge from his playing style and date of birth to how hot his girlfriend is.

    Teenage stars always provide an intriguing prospect in the transfer market. Managers are always looking out for bargains and often give in to the temptation of signing an unknown quantity, in hope that the risk pays dividends down the line when their rough diamond has blossomed into a polished gem.

    Here are 10 of the most 'in-fashion' teenagers on the planet. Some of these men are already established pros, while others may well be the greats of tomorrow.

Conor Wickham

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    Wickham, 18, joined Sunderland last week for £8m. 

    After impressing last season for Ipswich Town, the striker was heavily linked with a host of Premier League clubs including Liverpool before finally ending all speculation by joining the Black Cats a few days ago as a replacement for Darren Bent.

    If Wickham lives up to his billing he can be a very successful Premier League striker.

Stephan El Shaarawy

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    El Shaarawy, pictured on the right, is just 18 and has already sealed a big move to Italian giants AC Milan.

    The attacking midfielder was reportedly also targeted by Manchester City who tried to hijack the move for the native Italian but the deal was concluded at the end of June and now we'll have to wait and see what becomes of the former Genoa man.

Phil Jones

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    In one of the early Summer transfer sagas, Manchester United paid Blackburn around £17m for the central defender/midfielder's services.

    Seen as a long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand, Sir Alex Ferguson beat off interest from Arsenal and Liverpool to bring the Englishman to Old Trafford after an impressive season at Ewood Park.

    Jones is seen as a future England international and could well form a formidable partnership with Chis Smalling for both club and county down the line.

Erik Lamela

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    Lamela is an Argentinian attacking midfielder who has impressed at River Plate over the past two seasons.

    Linked with more clubs than Tiger Woods, reports have suggested Lamela could well play for, ready: Real Madrid, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Arsenal, Roma, AC Milan, Athletico Madrid, Napoli or Tottenham.

    With River Plate now relegated, surely a move is definite.

Raphaël Varane

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    The 18-year-old defender has just joined Real Madrid from Lens.

    The Galacticos beat Manchester United to the signing of the French Under-21 international and has been tipped to be a great success at the Bernabeu.

Romelu Lukaku

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    Seen as the next Didier Drogba, the Belgian striker is on the verge of a big transfer to another giant European club from Anderlecht where he's spent five years at both academy and senior level.

    Already fully capped by his country, Lukaku has attracted interest from Chelsea and a deal should be finalised in the very near future. 

Xherdan Shaqiri

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    His name's worth 37 points in Scrabble and if he lives up to the tremendous potential he has he could be worth well more than that number in millions down the line.

    The Swiss midfielder currently plays for Basel has been linked with a host of elite European clubs, on a Lemela-like scale. I won't list them all but if you've heard of them, they've probably been linked with Xherdan Shaqiri.

Jack Wilshere

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    Wilshere is already a household name at Arsenal and, with both Cesc Fabreags and Samir Nasri both seemingly on the way out of the Emirates, Wilshere will either have to step up immensely to fill the hole, or a few years down the line he could be the one seeking a swift exit from a club not many are predicting will make the top four in the Premier League next year.

    The English international midfielder has a huge couple of years coming in the context of his career.

Christian Eriksen

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    The 19-year-old is the latest product of Ajax's acclaimed youth system and has attracted an enormous level of attention ever since he categorically outplayed Jack Wilshere when England took on Denmark back in February.

    Another to be associated with as many clubs as you can say in one breath, Eriksen has stated he's currently happy with the Dutch champions.


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    Risky, temperamental but ultimately prodigiously talented, the Brazilan starlet is currently the centre of a £40m European bidding-war between Real Madrid and Chelsea which could well run long into the summer.

    The striker has the potential to rekindle the Brazilian spark that's been missing for the past few years and will be one of the star attractions when Brazil host the next World Cup in 2014.