When Real Madrid sent Zinedine Zidane to try and lure a then, 14 year old Kylian Mbappe to the Bernabeu then you know there is something special there. Despite Los Blanco’s best efforts the youngster decided to sign a professional contract at Monaco on the basis he wasn’t ready to leave his motherland. His progress has been rapid ever since as he broke Thierry Henry’s 21 year old record of being the youngest-ever debutant and would then proceed to usurp Henry in February this year as Monaco’s youngest goalscorer at 17 years and 62 days.
The hawking eyes of Europe’s elite haven’t wavered with anyone who’s anyone from the likes of Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG all keeping strong tabs on the precocious teen.
Mbappe has now made 20 appearances for Leonardo Jardim’s men with his shining moment being a hat-trick in the 7-0 Coupe de la Ligue win over Rennes.
No two ways about it, 2017 is going to be a massive year for the forward and don’t be surprised if he becomes a house hold name by the season end.
It was known for a while that Bazoer would leave the Ajax and the Amsterdam Arena and whoever did snap up the young central midfielder would be getting a real coup. There was reports that the 20 year old may favour a move to La Liga, but it was Wolfsburg that ultimately snared him away from the rest of Europe’s top clubs.
The German clubs’ boss Valerien Ismael is clearly building his team on young dynamic and versatile types with Bazoer, 24 year old Yunus Malli and 22 year old Yannick Gerhardt arriving so far this January.
But already a Dutch international Bazoer is the biggest swoop of the lot with his energy, skill and vision seeing him being likened to Frank Rijkaard. Despite interest from England and Spain a move to the Bundesliga may end up being a smart one, with the league fast becoming one of the most enthralling around.
This one may seem odd, the Porto man has been around for ages. Yes this is true, the Portuguese teen made his debut in 2014 at the age of 17, but as we enter the fallow months of 2017 he still is ONLY 19.
A raucous crowd have been hovering around the youngster for a while now with his superior technical ability, calmness and maturity becoming increasingly distinct.
The 19 year old may feel his best move, would be to stay put for now in a team that dominates there league and puts up a fight in Europe. However with another season to hone his talent then admiring glances from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United may just become even more prominent.
The ‘Chosen One’ they call him in Italy. The youngster has been anointed as the man to replace Gigi Buffon as the Italians ‘portiere’ elect. The Milan stopper already has two caps for the national team after an incredible rise to fame in 2016.
Donnarumma has drawn plaudits from his idol, Buffon as well as goalkeeping legend Dino Zoff as he fast becomes the darling of the Milan fans at the San Siro.
He made his debut at 16 years and 242 days in a league match against Sassuolo in late 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. He displaced both Diego Lopez and Christian Abbiati and established himself as the most promising young keeper in Europe.
2017 will surely be another year of firsts for the 17 year old but one where he can also add to the Coppa Italia trophy he won last season and firmly establish himself in preparation for the 2018 World Cup.
When Leicester City triggered Demarai Gray’s release clause of just £3.7 million this time last year it looked like an absolute steal! However with Claudio Ranieri’s team in the thick of a title challenge the manager was reluctant to change his starting line up.
Nonetheless Gray began to become a player that could be relied on as he came off the bench to help see out games or provide added dynamism that would ultimately end up in a Premier League title crown.
A winger renowned for his speed, agility and guile the 20 year old has really come into his own this season, with the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy not reaching the heights of the previous one. Leicester may be fighting at the wrong end of the table this campaign but this has allowed Gray to showcase his skills that made him so sought after.