As Europe’s top leagues gradually edge towards returning to action, with the Bundesliga the first to test the waters, some teams will already be looking towards the summer and the chance to transform their squads. We take a look at five young stars who might have caught the eye of Europe’s big-spenders.
Lautaro Martinez, Inter Milan
Martinez has quickly built a deadly partnership with Romelu Lukaku, pushing Inter into Serie A contention before some recent struggles. Still just 22, he has 11 league goals to his name this season and is on the path to joining the world’s elite forwards. A move to La Liga could be in the Argentine international’s future, with Real Madrid and Barcelona no doubt keeping tabs on his progress. When Messi eventually steps aside at the Nou Camp, Martinez has to be considered a leading candidate to try to fill that void.
Ruben Dias, Benfica
When it comes to the next generation of great defenders, Dias has to be mentioned. He brings the sought-after combination of aerial prowess and technical ability, with the confidence to carry the ball out from the back and start attacks. Benfica are just a point behind leaders Porto in the league table and Dias is a big reason that they have shipped only 14 goals in 24 games. A move to the Premier League or La Liga this summer is certainly on the cards, though his hefty release clause could be a stumbling block. Manchester City and Manchester United have already been linked.
Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig
Sticking with the centre-back theme, Upamecano is another likely transfer target for some of the European big boys in need of a commanding presence at the heart of their defence. At 6”1 and quick enough to clean up any lapses across the back line, he has few flaws in his game, even at just 21 years of age. Like Dias, it will take a monster transfer bid to pry Upamecano away from Leipzig, who have built a squad capable of competing for the Bundesliga title.
Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen
Havertz has wasted no time dominating the Leverkusen midfield, displaying confidence and calmness not typically seen from a 20-year-old. He has an eye for goal too, finding the net ten times so far this season. Liverpool are thought to be one of several teams pondering a bid for the emerging midfielder, who rarely wastes a pass. If Leverkusen miss out on Champions League qualification this year, it might be the right time to cash in on Havertz.
Matteo Guendouzi, Arsenal
Guendouzi has plenty of Premier League action under his belt, but is still just 20. Though Arsenal are once again well adrift in the title race, the Frenchman has made significant strides as a relentless midfielder ball-winner. The Gunners would be well served to build around Guendouzi as they try to turn their fortunes around, but a sizeable bid from a European powerhouse could be hard to turn down. If PSG were to enter the fray, for example, it could be a natural fit.