With the football season finally under way, it’s time for fans to set expectations and hope for the best. I myself have high expectations to see both PSG and Arsenal win major silverware this year – not to mention France’s opportunity to triumph again at next year’s Euro.
Here are 6 young superstars in the making I’d love to see make a big breakthrough this year.
The Ox (22, Arsenal)
I think Oxlade-Chamberlain is a real talent. Unlike many young wingers, he’s gifted with great strength as well as the more conventional speed.
With a lot of competition in Arsenal’s attacking lineup (Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez among many), he’ll have to provide a meaningful contribution and add goals to his game to play. He’s had a promising start to the season with a great goal against Chelsea, and was decisive at Newcastle also. I hope he’ll stay fit and get a run, because he has the potential to become a top player.
Lucas Moura (23, PSG)
Once regarded as Brazil’s greatest young talent along with Neymar, he’s struggled to live up to the hype and secure a first team spot at PSG and for Brazil.
Blessed with great feet and lightning pace, Lucas is everything people love about football. Although he’s a very direct player, he needs to become more decisive in the final third. Oh, and nick a place off Cavani, Ibra or Di Maria. How hard can that be?
Paul Pogba (22, Juventus)
Already a recognised face at the top of European football, it’s hard to expect more from the younger Frenchman – but he’s so talented we should! Last year, he was part of a sensational midfield along with the now departed Pirlo and Vidal.
This year, Pogba’s been given Juventus’ famous number 10, previously worn by countrymen Zidane and Platini – no pressure. Last year, he was a key player. This year, he’ll need to be a leader as well.
Serge Gnabry (20, Arsenal)
Another young Gunner to add to the list. At only 20 he’s even further down the pecking order than the Ox, which is why he went out on loan to West Brom. I saw glimpses of the German’s talent before he was sidelined with injuries last season, and he looks very good indeed.
If he can make a place for himself and gain some Premier League experience at a lesser side as Wilshere once did with Bolton, he could come back to Arsenal a better player and real first team contender.
Jack Wilshere (23, Arsenal)
Speaking of- last Arsenal player I promise – it’s a big season for the Englishman, who’s injured again. When fit and in good form, Wilshere is everything I want from an Arsenal player, combining great technical ability with authentic passion and desire.
He’s been in and out of the first team for years now. Although still only 23, he really has to start making a name for himself. Arsenal have plenty of quality players in his position, and the financial power to attract the best from outside if necessary. No one wants Wilshere to be remembered as Francis Jeffers II.
Raphael Varane (22, Real Madrid)
The best young centre-back in the world at the moment, Varane has not chosen an easy route to first team football by signing for Real Madrid at only 18 years of age.
Despite the big ask, he’s slowly worked his way into the first team and keeps Ramos and Pepe on their toes. Realistically, Ramos won’t lose his place so he needs to show himself better than Pepe whenever he gets the chance. A year away from the Euro in France, it’s essential he plays every week.