The Guru: 5 Players to Look Out For
While Virtual Football is sweeping the Footstock community by storm it is still crucial to look to the future of “real football” that will – at some point – be returning.
The crucial thing about identifying talent on Footstock is that the player can be kept in your collection until you either sell them or lose them in a Roulette game. This means that, in theory, you can get use out of young players for their full Premier League career.
As such, if we’re able to pick up the next Premier League stars we can get the best players of the future at a bargain price. Today I am going to be looking at 5 players who have the potential and talent to go a long way in the Premier League, having already made a strong impression thus far. All are aged 21 or younger and have played at least 5 games in the Premier League this season.
All prices accurate at the time of publication.
5. Matthew Longstaff
Buy Price: £1.46 Sell Price: £0.67
At 20 years-old, many had thought the talent within the Longstaff family resided only in older brother Sean. Very few will have as memorable a Premier League debut as Matthew, who fired home the winner against Manchester United in their 1-0 victory in early October. Matthew kept up his form when he scored his other Premier League goal at Old Trafford in the return fixture on Boxing Day.
A major question comes with Longstaff’s future: the tenacious midfielder is yet to sign a new contract, with his current one expiring at the end of the season. Interest has come from across Europe with the likes of Ajax, Fenerbahce and Inter Milan all linked. Hopefully the talks of a leadership takeover will be resolved soon and the local playmaker will be back playing for his beloved club next season.
Even though Longstaff hasn’t added an assist to his 2 goals throughout his 7 Premier League appearances, he has contributed 0.4 key passes per game. He has also completed 34.3 passes per game and 1.4 long balls per game. For playing in a team that doesn’t control large amounts of possession, these stats are very impressive. They, along with his 1.6 dribbles per game, illustrate his control not only on the ball, but on games as a whole.
4. Steven Alzate
Buy Price: £1.06 Sell Price: £0.52
The London born Colombian winger has found an assured spot in Brighton’s squad this season, making 12 starts in his 19 appearances for the club. While his game is by no means complete, at 21 he has showed the level of progression that could lead to him becoming a top player for Brighton. Having moved from League Two, he has seemed comfortable in his progression into Premier League football.
Alzate has shown impressive versatility in the top flight, playing on the right and left wings, at wing-back on both sides and at central midfield. This versatility led to his first international call up in November, when he made his debut in friendlies against Ecuador and Peru.
Watching him play, we get to see a confident and defensively assured player. His 1.7 tackles a match along with his 0.7 shots, 0.7 key passes and 1.8 dribbles per game show the versatility that he possesses. Alzate drops in and out of positions, offering himself up to complete passing triangles using his careful positioning to create space for others around him. Unfortunately, his versatility hasn’t lead to any goals and assists this season but in seasons to come I’d expect them to be a more prominent feature of his game.
3. Michael Obafemi
Buy Price: £1.19 Sell Price: £1.00
A 19-year-old Irish striker coming through at one of the best clubs for young players alongside compatriot Shane Long sounds rather promising. In fact, the Irish fast-tracked him into a competitive appearance so that he would avoid choosing either England or Nigeria, both of whom he was also eligible to play internationally for.
Obafemi moved around during his time as a youth player until he found his place at Southampton at aged 16. On Obafemi’s debut, he became the second-youngest player to play for Southampton after Luke Shaw at 17 years and 199 days. While his time has been limited this season due to fierce competition with Shane Long and one of the top scorers in the league Danny Ings, he has scored 2 goal in his 5 starts. He has also averaged 1.5 shots and 3.7 dribbles per 90 minutes.
While he may seem small on the pitch, his pace and running shows his power and eye for goal. His ability on the ball for a 19 year-old is unbelievable, demonstrated by his goal against Chelsea this season where he took on the defence and – using his weak foot – found the top corner.
The timing will suit Obafemi well with Long, at 33, likely to scale back his game time over the next season. With the attack that Southampton have coming through, people should keep a close eye on them.
2. Moussa Djenepo
Buy Price: £1.96 Sell Price: £1.82
Another young Southampton attacker making the list, but Djenepo has most definitely earned it. After two outstanding seasons in the Belgian Pro League, Djenepo made the £14m move to the Saints. In 18 appearances in the league this season, including 10 starts, Moussa has scored 2 goals and offered up 2 assists.
His pace and ability to attack has drawn many comparisons to former Southampton players, including those of Sadio Mane and Gareth Bale. While the 21 year-old has not always converted into goals and assists, he has the stats to show that they may come soon. He has contributed 1.9 shots, 6.4 attempted dribbles and 1.1 key passes per 90 minutes.
To compare him to one of the best in the league, Sadio Mane has 2.6 shots, 3.5 attempted dribbles and 1.8 key passes per 90 minutes. While he obviously is by no means as polished as Mane, at 21 he has all the talent to reach those heights.
In terms of Footstock, his dribbles already mean that he can produce great base scores. When he starts to be more involved in those key actions, his utility and star rating will likely go through the roof.
1. Dwight McNeil
Buy Price: £5.89 Sell Price: £4.52
At 20 years-old it feels strange to put McNeil on a list like this. The youngster has been a part of the fabric of the Premier League for the past few seasons. Having started all 29 games this season he has been a key player for Burnley, scoring 2 goals and providing 5 assists. While his price is much higher than the others here, his 3 stars already hints at the player he could become.
His talents have already earned him appearances for England U20 and England U21s. The challenge comes when he tries to break into the full England squad, with competition from the likes of Sancho, Rashford, Barnes, Grealish and Maddison.
Outside of goals and assists, his attacking stats have been outstanding. Featuring in Dyche’s 4-4-2 formation, McNeil on the wing can occasionally be bypassed by the long pass but he still manages to contribute 1.2 shots, 1.5 key passes, 2.1 dribbles and 1.8 crosses per game.
In the future, McNeil could flourish at Burnley, but could see even greater progress if he gets a transfer. With links to Man United, Newcastle and Arsenal, he could really take strides ahead in his Footstock ability.
This is by no means the definitive list of young players on Footstock, but it should give you an idea of the talent that is available on the platform. A reminder that these players are available to use for the rest of their career in the Premier League until you either sell them or use them in the games section.
Please go and check me out if you have any questions about the platform and follow me on twitter @IndexGuru. If you are new to Footstock, come and join using this link below for a series of new welcome offers.