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B/R Football Ranks: 10 Players Who Could See Their Value Explode This Season

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 26, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Joe Willock of Arsenal celebrates his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Every new season brings new opportunities; a chance for a new cast of players to make their mark.

It's one of the most exciting narratives to follow in football: A young, talented player being given a shot to impress and absolutely nailing it, propelling themselves to stardom in the process.

Think along the lines of Kylian Mbappe and Joao Felix, or Nicolas Pepe and Krzysztof Piatek.

Here, B/R Football has selected 10 players who could well follow a similar path this season. We've tried to anticipate the flows of the market and pick players whose values could explode this term if things go well for them. Many of them have already put together the foundations of a sensational campaign.

For each player we've included a "start value" (approximate value now) and a "potential value," which is the sort of price range we anticipate they could enter by summer 2020.

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10. Todd Cantwell, 21, Winger

Norwich City / England

NORWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Todd Cantwell of Norwich celebrates scoring to make it 1-1 during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Chelsea FC at Carrow Road on August 24, 2019 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Promoted Norwich's approach to their first three games in the Premier League have divided the masses. Are they naive, brave, a bit of both, or just a bit silly to be playing so expansively against top sides?

While no one can quite agree on the answer—at least between factions—we have found a consensus on something else: Todd Cantwell, Norwich's home-grown winger, is pretty damn good.

He shone even in the opening 4-1 loss to Liverpool, providing the sort of energy and neat play in tight spaces required against the Reds. He laid on two goals against Newcastle in his next game, then scored his first Premier League goal at the weekend at home to Chelsea.

Even for Canaries fans this is somewhat out of the blue; Cantwell featured in the second tier a fair bit last season, but fell out of the side towards the end. This explosion in form wasn't expected, and an explosion in his value will surely follow.

Start value: £10m

Potential value: £30m

9. Victor Osimhen, 20, Striker

Lille / Nigeria

LILLE, FRANCE - AUGUST 11: Victor Osimhen of Lille during the French League 1  match between Lille v Nantes at the Stade Pierre Mauroy on August 11, 2019 in Lille France (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Whenever Lille sporting director Luis Campos picks out a player, sit up and take note. The man's a genius, one of the best in his realm, and often finds gems in among the hysteria of the market.

This summer, Campos secured the signature of Osimhen from Charleroi, making him the Nicolas Pepe replacement they clearly needed in the wake of their star's departure to Arsenal. Or perhaps he's the Rafael Leao replacement? Regardless, they needed an attacking body and they secured a good one.

His debut brought two goals, one of them a truly brilliant chest-down-and-hit, giving Lille that direct option of running into space and stretching defences, just like Pepe did.

Osimhen was bought for around £10 million last month. That could look extremely cheap in seven more.

Start value: £10m

Potential value: £30m

8. Ben White, 21, Centre-Back

Leeds United (on loan from Brighton) / England)

SALFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Ben White of Leeds United and Jake Beesley of Salford City compete for the ball during the Carabao Cup First Round match between Salford City and Leeds United at Moor Lane on August 13, 2019 in Salford, England. (Photo by Cha
Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

We're just five games into White's Championship career but already the hype is building. That's what happens when you play well for a Marcelo Bielsa side.

Nestling in at centre-back in place of the sold Pontus Jansson, he's been one of the club's best performers through their unbeaten start, showcasing a snap in the tackle, a strong sense for an interception and a wand of a right foot when distributing.

He's extremely calm on the ball, making him the perfect defensive anchor for a Leeds side that dominate possession in games. Few, even in England, knew who he was before July this year; now many are remarking what a wonderful developing talent Brighton have.

Start value: £5m

Potential value: £25-30m

7. Joe Willock, 20, Central Midfielder

Arsenal / England

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Joe Willock of Arsenal celebrates his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

There have been plenty of positives to glean from Arsenal's first three Premier League games this season, chief of which have been Joe Willock's commanding performances.

The academy product got the nod on the opening weekend against Newcastle United and positively glided through midfield on that day, always pushing forward and often shrugging challenges.

The Burnley game was similar, and against Liverpool this weekend—even though they lost—Unai Emery felt the 20-year-old took "another step," per Sky Sports (h/t Metro).

Rewind two months and Eddie Nketiah (now on loan at Leeds) and Reiss Nelson were probably the hottest names among the academy graduates at Arsenal; now Willock has shot to the top.

Start value: £15m

Potential value: £40m

6. Martin Odegaard, 20, Attacking Midfielder

Real Sociedad (on loan from Real Madrid) / Norway

VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 17: Martin Odegaard of Real Sociedad reacts during the Liga match between Valencia CF and Real Sociedad at Estadio Mestalla on August 17, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Did you forget all about Odegaard? No shame if you did; he's been tucked away in the Netherlands on loan for the last few years, meaning his stock has fallen mightily since he was crowned "the next big thing" four years ago.

But he's used that time in the Eredivisie to hone his craft and build his confidence, and last season put together a highly productive season for Vitesse Arnhem, bagging nine goals and 12 assists in 33 league starts.

He averaged a whopping 3.5 key passes per game, slicing opposing defences at will and laying chances on platters. That earned him a move to Real Sociedad, and if he puts up numbers like that this season, he's going to propel himself back to relevancy.

He's off to a good start in that regard, netting the winner against Mallorca at the weekend. More will surely follow and his value will begin to rise and rise as a result.

Start value: £15m

Potential value: £40m

5. Mason Mount, 20, Attacking Midfielder

Chelsea / England

NORWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Mason Mount of Chelsea celebrates scoring his teams second goal with Tammy Abraham during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Chelsea FC at Carrow Road on August 24, 2019 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ca
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Mount's stock at the beginning of the 2018-19 season: Loaned to Championship side Derby County to see where he's at development-wise.

Mount's stock at the beginning of the 2019-20 season: The future of Chelsea's attacking midfield.

That statement is only partially tongue-in-cheek; he's impressed so much over the last few weeks, fuelled by the belief of his manager Frank Lampard, and if he carries this on he'll be a senior England international in no time at all.

Mount's always had the potential to become a special player, boasting a skill-set and style few other English players have and consistently producing in the final third, no matter the team, league or stage.

Start value: £20m

Potential value: £50m

4. Dani Ceballos, 23, Central Midfielder

Arsenal (on loan from Real Madrid) / Spain

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:  Dani Ceballos of Arsenal
during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Burnley FC at Emirates Stadium on August 17, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Ceballos has reached the stage of his career when he can no longer rest on his potential. He needs to play, to impress, to improve—and he knows it.

That's why he opted to move away from Real Madrid on loan this season. Unable to trust Zinedine Zidane to award him the minutes he probably deserves, he's taken his talents to the Premier League and Arsenal, where he's very quickly made a splash.

But with no buy clause set in the deal, Arsenal have no way to control his price should they wish to buy him. If they thought he might be worth £40 million this summer, there's every chance that price will double by 2020. He's that good.

Ceballos is the one who holds all the power this year. He's going to show everyone how great he is, then either secure a berth in Real Madrid's midfield...or move for a big, big fee.

Start value: £40m

Potential value: £80m

3. Lisandro Martinez, 21, Centre-Back

Ajax / Argentina

VENLO, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 17: Lisandro Martinez of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between VVVvVenlo - Ajax at the Seacon Stadium - De Koel on August 17, 2019 in Venlo Netherlands (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Ajax wasted no time this summer stocking up on centre-backs, fully cognisant of the fact Matthijs De Ligt was leaving and Daley Blind has his circumstantial limitations (his lack of physicality and height is problematic at times).

So they bought three: Lisandro Martinez (21), Edson Alvarez (21) and Kik Pierie (18). 

Was it a "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" approach? Or did they know which of these men would be able to step into the void and impress all along? Whatever the thinking, Martinez has emerged as the outstanding candidate already, impressing greatly in Ajax's early fixtures both domestically and in the Champions League qualifiers.

A super-aggressive, athletic centre-back who reads play and intercepts high up consistently, he's a lot of fun to watch and is already turning heads. The €7 million Ajax paid for him already looks way too cheap.

If a club enquired about his services even now—let alone after the season—the asking price would likely be triple or quadruple that figure.

Start value: £6.3m

Potential value: £40-50m

2. Eduardo Camavinga, 16, Central Midfielder

Rennes / Angola

Rennes' French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga (R) heads the ball during the French L1 football match between Rennes (SRFC) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on August 18, 2019, at the Rosharon Park stadium in Rennes, northwestern France. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/Getty Images

Just over a week ago, a 16-year-old midfielder dominated reigning Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain as his club, Rennes, waltzed to a surprise victory.

His name was Camavinga, and he's now Europe's hottest young property off the back of it.

It wasn't his first sensational performance for Les Rouge et Noir, but it was by far his most noticeable due to the calibre of the opposition. He swanned around the centre of the park, shrugging off challenges and playing pinpoint passes. His performance peaked with an incredible lofted cross that created the winning goal.

The microscope is on him now, so it'll be interesting to see how he deals with the attention—not just from the public, but from opponents too. A few more showings like the one he produced against Kylian Mbappe and Co., though, and the bids will come rolling in.

Start value: £10m

Potential value: £60m

1. Jadon Sancho, 19, Winger

Borussia Dortmund / England

COLOGNE, GERMANY - AUGUST 23: Jadon Sancho of Dortmund celebrates after Dortmunds 3-1 lead scored by teammate Paco Alcacer (not in frame) during the Bundesliga match between 1. FC Koeln and Borussia Dortmund at RheinEnergieStadion on August 23, 2019 in Co
Jörg Schüler/Getty Images

Sancho's early season form has so many excited.

If he keeps this pace up (two goals, two assists in two games), he'll not only end the campaign as BVB's most important and productive player, but he could be in the running for Bundesliga Player of the Year categories.

This summer his valuation appears to be near the £100 million mark—per the Sun—but what's holding any transfer back is Sancho's commitment to his current club. He's happy where he is and there aren't that many better places to go; Dortmund are a fine incubator of young talent and, in many ways, the ideal place to grow.

But come next summer he may fancy a change, as he may well be close to fully developed. The problem for potential buyers, though, is that at the rate Sancho's improving he could conceivably be worth double the current valuation—and maybe even trouble that world-record fee Neymar set (€222m).

Start value: £100m

Potential value: £200m

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