XPOOZE Ed Dove picks six young African starlets who could be destined for great things this season
#6 Ibrahima Diallo
Anyone who’s witnessed the young defensive midfielder’s showings for Brest over the past season and a half will be unsurprised by his array of qualities—particularly his composure in possession—although few expected he would look so comfortable against the reigning English champions.
#5 Samuel Chukwueze
Will this be the year that Chukwueze finally realises his immense potential?
After starring against La Liga defences upon his arrival at Villarreal, his impact has dimmed in recent seasons, and it’s clear that he needs to offer more of an end product if he’s to hit the heights that were once expected of him.
It remains to be seen whether he can muscle his way into Unai Emery’s starting XI on a consistent basis, but if he can, Chukwueze must capitalise on the opportunities presented to him.
He may still be young, but having recently become the youngest Villarreal player to ever play 100 matches for the club, the Super Eagle no longer has the excuse of being inexperienced.
#4 Silas Wamangituka
The Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Month in November, Wamangituka looks set for a blockbuster 2021.
He’s stolen the show on several occasions for VfB Stuttgart so far this season, having a hand in 10 goals so far this season, including three in the unexpected 5-1 rout of Borussia Dortmund at the home of the German giants.
The young Congolese attacker also has the rare distinction of being booked for scoring a goal, having received a yellow for unsporting behaviour against Werder Bremen after he cockily rounded the keeper before walking the ball into the net.
It was a moment that is testament to just how comfortable the Central African is in this rarefied environment.
#3 Mohammed Kudus
Signed by Ajax as they rebuild following the departures of Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek, Kudus settled quickly with the Amsterdam giants, translating his form from the Danish top flight to the Eredivisie with ease.
After excelling for Nordsjaelland last term, he contributed three assists and netted one goal in his first three appearances in the Netherlands.
It was a searing start, and while injury has subsequently slowed Kudus’s contribution, he should hit top form when he returns.
#2 Tariq Lamptey
What a year 2020 was for Lamptey; who pushed to move from Chelsea in January as he went in search of more gametime.
He got his wish at Brighton & Hove Albion, where he’s proceeded to become one of the most exciting young right-backs in the top flight.
Could the Blues’ loss prove to be the Gunners’ gain?
#1 Youssoufa Moukoko
Moukoko has already made history in the Bundesliga, despite only turning 16 in November.
The young attacker broke records aplenty at youth level-terrorising youth defences across the German academy structure—and was named in Borussia Dortmund’s league squad despite being only 15 at the season’s start.
Since then, he’s become the youngest player—and the youngest goalscorer—in the history of the German top flight, while his partnership with Erling Haaland has the potential to be the most exciting in world football.