Promising talents in football are worth their weight in gold. Identifying and developing young players can be crucial to the club’s development. Either by holding on to them to achieve success or by selling them on for astronomical transfer fees to then go on to reinvest in the market, or by developing their academy or scouting facilities to carry on the process all over again. Today we will look at five such Promising talents in football who we expect to have breakout seasons this year.
1. Marcos Leonardo – Santos FC
Over the years, Marcos Leonardo has consistently improved his performance. From 2020 to 2023, his number of appearances and goals have increased, indicating development and growth as a player.
At just 20 years old, Marcos Leonardo is already making a significant impact at Santos FC. His age indicates that he still has a lot of time to develop and refine his skills, which bodes well for his future.
Scoring goals is one of the most critical skills for a striker, and Marcos Leonardo has shown promise in this aspect. His increasing goal tally year by year demonstrates his effectiveness in front of the net.
Alongside his goal-scoring prowess, he has also contributed with assists, showcasing his ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
While playing at a high level and in intense matches, Marcos Leonardo’s disciplinary record is relatively clean, with a low number of yellow and red cards. This indicates a level of maturity and self-control on the field.
His participation in the Under 20 World Cup in 2023 proved his ability of showcasing his potential on an international stage.
2. Alejo Véliz – Rosario Central
Véliz has shown remarkable consistency in his performances. Having made a total of 60 appearances for Rosario Central, Véliz’s involvement on the pitch is a testament to the trust and belief the coaching staff has in his abilities.
Véliz has been finding the back of the net with remarkable ease. With 17 goals to his name, including an impressive tally of 9 goals in the 2023 season, Véliz has displayed a keen eye for goal, making him a formidable force in the opposition’s penalty area.
Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, Véliz has demonstrated his versatility by being involved in playmaking as well. With 2 assists under his belt, making him a valuable asset in building attacking moves.
Alejo Véliz has participated in various footballing arenas, ranging from league matches to domestic cups and even the prestigious Copa Sudamericana. This exposure to different levels of competition has undoubtedly contributed to his growth as a player, preparing him for the challenges that lie ahead.
As Alejo Véliz continues to make his presence felt on the football pitch, his journey is being closely monitored not only by Rosario Central supporters but also by football enthusiasts across the nation. With the right guidance and nurturing, Véliz’s potential to shine on a grander stage, even for the national team, seems all the more plausible.
3. Zeno Debast – RSC Anderlecht
The Anderlecht’s Centre-Back, has impressive defensive stats that place him among the top performers compared to other center-backs. He shows remarkable tackling skills, demonstrating his ability to thwart opposition attacks effectively.
Debast is also solid in terms of blocks, and shows a great ability to read the game with a remarkable eye for interceptions. His ball-carrying skills are noteworthy, and also ranks high in total carrying distance. His progressive carrying distance places him at the 95th percentile, further highlighting his influence in advancing the ball.
Moreover, Zeno Debast showcases strong ball recovery abilities, standing at the 8th percentile in ball recoveries and excels in aerial duels, leading the charts with a remarkable 1st percentile for aerials won, showing his dominance in the air.
Additionally, Debast demonstrates good discipline, with a low 6th percentile for errors and has an exceptional 96th percentile in total touches, highlighting his involvement in the game. He also impresses with an outstanding 94th percentile for successful take-ons and a solid 78th percentile for successful take-on percentage.
Zeno Debast’s stats reflect his defensive prowess, ball-carrying abilities, and exceptional aerial dominance, making him a standout performer among center-backs in the league.
4. Plamen Andreev – Levski Sofia
The 18-year-old goalkeeper of Levski Sofia, has shown promising performance over the course of four seasons in the Bulgarian First League. During the 2020-2021 season at the age of 15, he made 1 appearance in the league but did not concede any goals.
In the following season, at 16 years old, Andreev featured in 4 matches, making 2 starts and playing a total of 239 minutes. He managed to keep a clean sheet in 2 of those matches and saved 50% of the penalty kicks he faced.
The 2022-2023 season saw significant development for Andreev, as he became the regular starter for Levski Sofia. He played in all 32 league matches, totaling 2,880 minutes. During this season, he recorded 16 clean sheets and saved an impressive 65.6% of the penalty kicks he faced.
Andreev is surely a promising young talent in the goalkeeping position. He has shown consistency and improvement over the seasons. With a commendable save percentage and the ability to keep clean sheets at a young age. As he continues to gain experience and mature as a player. He is likely to become a crucial asset for Levski Sofia. And potentially attract attention on a broader stage.
5. Matheus Martins – Watford on loan from Udinese
Perhaps the most recognizable name in this list. At just 19 years old, the left-winger currently on loan at Vicarage Road from Udinese is making waves in the football world.
During the 2021 season with Fluminense, he showcased his skills in 7 appearances in the prestigious Série A league. Additionally, he had the opportunity to feature in 2 state league matches and 1 cup game. Gaining valuable experience on the pitch.
The following season at Fluminense marked significant growth for the young talent. He truly came into his own, participating in an impressive 30 Série A matches. Finding the back of the net 3 times. Notably, his contributions extended beyond the league to continental and cup competitions. Solidifying his potential as a rising star in the footballing world.
In the 2022-2023 season, Martins made a transfer to Udinese. But the club decided to loan him out to Watford for further development. While at Watford, he had the opportunity to participate in 6 matches in the highly competitive Championship. Although he didn’t manage to score in those appearances, his performances on the field unmistakably demonstrated his potential and versatility as a skilled left-winger.
The world of football especially in lower leagues have many such hidden gems waiting to be picked up. Keep looking out for part 2 where we will discuss more such wonderkids.