10 Most Exciting Young Midfielders in Serie A
Serie A has constantly produced some of the best young players in European football over the years.
Italy has often been the desired location for blossoming talent as it provides the perfect combination of a high quality of football with a tactical diversity that will enable players to develop skills that will translate to any other league in Europe.
When tasked with coming up with the best young midfielders in Serie A, it is vital to define what we are talking about.
Although I would happily discuss players slightly older, I think it is appropriate to state an age limit. Therefore I will only be including players who are 22 years old or younger.
I would love to hear from Calcio fans in the comments section below on any names that I have missed out and whether you agree or disagree with the order that I have come up with.
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10. Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Roma
Panagiotis Tachtsidis is a particular type of player that needs to be accommodated into a specific system.
Without being particularly athletic, the Greek international more than makes up for this with an exceptional range of passing.
More importantly it is the player's positive intent on the ball that attracted Roma to swoop for the former Hellas Verona star.
It has been a difficult season for the player to adjust to Serie A, having been in and out of the side that has struggled so much for consistency under Zdenek Zeman.
It is impressive to note that Tachtsidis kept Daniele De Rossi out of the team for some time earlier in the season, further demonstrating his potential to be a pivotal figure in a top side.
9. Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Udinese
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu is a fine young midfield enforcer with incredible athleticism.
The Ghanaian has already amassed 39 caps at just 22 years of age and is capable of driving his side on in transition.
Perhaps Badu will be best known for the wonder goal that saw him nominated for the prestigious FIFA Puskas award for the best goal in the calendar year.
8. Saphir Taider, Bologna
Saphir Taider has been a key figure in Stefano Pioli's midfield over the past year.
The Frenchman is versatile in being able to operate well on both side's of the ball—pressing and winning the ball back, as well as combining well in the final third with neat passing.
Taider's movement is something that helps Bologna turn defence into attack, often picking the ball up from Diego Perez, before distributing the ball to the flanks.
7. Mateo Kovacic, Inter Milan
Mateo Kovacic was the surprise signing by Inter Milan in January and the Nerazzurri stumped up €15 million for the Croatian.
The Croatian has been compared to the great Zvonomir Boban and has been initially pinpointed as a number 10, who can influence the play in the final third.
With lovely balance and movement on the ball, Kovacic is very productive in possession, keeping it simple more often than not based on his early performances for Inter.
It appears to me that Kovacic lacks a change of pace and might feel more at ease in a deeper role.
6. Juan Quintero, Pescara
Juan Quintero is a super young creative midfielder who has just burst onto the scene having been the star man in the Colombia Under-20 national team.
Los Cafeteros won the the 2013 South American Youth Championship in Argentina and received many rave reviews for his ability to craft in the final third.
Manchester United were recently linked with him, although the 20-year-old admitted that he has an attraction to Inter Milan, according to The Mirror.
5. Pedro Obiang, Sampdoria
Pedro Obiang has been one of the revelations of Serie A this season.
A powerful, dominating centre midfielder who has been the backbone to a Samp side that looks to have achieved safety in its first season back in Italy's top tier.
The Spaniard has a huge stride and can glide past opponents with ease.
I would say his style is comparable to Abou Diaby when talking about his ability on the ball and athleticism when driving forward.
I feel Obiang has a better defensive side to his game than Diaby, often timing his tackles, sometimes from range, cleanly.
4. Andrea Bertolacci, Genoa
Andrea Bertolacci has blossomed at Genoa having been deprived of the opportunity of proving himself at Roma.
The Grifone signed him from the Giallorossi in a deal that involved Tachtsidis moving in the opposite direction.
The 22-year-old has a good eye for goal and can time his runs well into the penalty area.
Bertolacci has a powerful shot from range, too, and is not afraid to go for goal when the opportunity to find a teammate is not available.
3. Roberto Pereyra, Udinese
Roberto Pereyra is the latest winger to be transformed successfully into a centre midfielder by Francesco Guidolin.
The Argentine started his career at River Plate as a right-winger, but Guidolin—in the same way as Mauricio Isla—moved the 22-year-old inside, as a mezz'ala.
Capable of dribbling out from the back and linking with Dusan Bastan on the right of midfield, as well as coming inside, Pereyra is a terrifically versatile midfielder.
Pereyra needs to add some goals to his game to take himself to the next level, but it is apparent that he is well on the way to reaching the top of the European game.
2. Alessandro Florenzi, Roma
Alessandro Florenzi started the season as a Primavera player for Roma, earning just €30,000 per year.
Zeman threw the 21-year-old into the first team and Florenzi thrived under the pressure of winning a first team place for himself.
Up until this month, Florenzi has started all but two of Roma's Serie A matches since September.
Andreazzoli might feel that the player is close to burnout, having also made his debut for Italy under Cesare Prandelli.
An all-action midfielder in a similar mould to Daniele De Rossi, ironically keeping the veteran midfielder out of the lineup for some time.
1. Paul Pogba, Juventus
Paul Pogba walked out of Manchester United on a free transfer to sign for Juventus last summer.
That was a move that brought much debate as to whether it was the right move at this point in his career.
With United being particularly weak at centre midfield and Juventus possessing the best trio of centre midfielders in Europe, Pogba's ambition was surely tested.
The Frenchman has risen to the challenge and performed sensationally when afforded the opportunity, scoring stunning goals against Napoli and a brace of wonder strikes against Udinese.
Pogba is not just about long range strikes though. With an ability to work the ball on either foot, Pogba is the complete package, especially with his frame being an asset on the defensive end by breaking up play by anticipating where the ball is going.
Juve have a big decision to make in the near future as Andrea Pirlo can probably carry on for another year or two, while Claudio Marchisio is another player who represents the heart of the Bianconeri.
Arturo Vidal has been the best all-round midfielder in Europe over the past 18 months, but right now it appears as if the Chilean is the most likely midfielder to make way for Pogba.
If Juventus receive an attractive bid for the former Bayer Leverkusen star, it could be the necessary move to push Pogba into a starring role that he appears able to grasp right now.