Top 8 whizkids Premier League clubs must watch at the U20 World Cup
With the U20 World Championships kicking off in Turkey this week, scouts from every Premier League club will be in attendance to run their eye over the game's best young players. We nominate our own eight exciting talents Premier League managers should be trying to bring to England next season.
Richmond Boakye (Ghana)
Played a big role in helping Serie BSassuolo win promotion to Serie A. Was watched by Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham last season. His registration remains in co-ownership with Juventus. Can play on the right flank, but made his biggest impact when played through the middle by Sassuolo. Quick feet, capable of playing with his back to goal, Boakye is capable of creating goals as well as being consistently on the scoresheet.
They say: "I've always said this, I'm ready, so give me the opportunity and I'm ready to show what I have." - Boakye.
Stipe Perica (Croatia)
Subject of a bid from Tottenham last month, Perica has confirmed interest from Manchester City and Everton in the local Croatian press. Big, powerful centre-forward, who scored crucial goals for NK Zadar last season. Perica is no lumbering giant, displaying great reflexes inside the opposition penalty area and a mobility that has attracted admirers from across Europe. NK Zadar will be reluctant sellers, but hope a big World Championship will invite an auction for their star asset.
They say: "England? It would be nice to play there." - Perica
Cristian Cuevas (Chile)
Already signed by Chelsea, Cuevas expects to move to London immediately after Chile's campaign. Wonderful on the ball, Cuevas has been likened to Barcelona signing Neymar and can play on either wing, although he favours the coveted No10 role. Has a wand for a left foot and his crossing is already at a high class level. Will need to develop physically to make it in England, but Blues fans will enjoy seeing Cuevas in action in Turkey this month.
Kurt Zouma (France)
The St Etienne defender famously visited both Manchester United AND Manchester City last season before committing to a new deal with Les Verts. However, Zouma continues to court the interest of Europe's biggest clubs and this month's World Championship is sure to serve as a shop window. A right-sided centre-half, Zouma boasts great acceleration and is a clean tackler. His power in the air can make an impact at both ends of the pitch, with the youngster capable of getting on the scoresheet in regular fashion. Along with the Manchester clubs, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is also a self-confessed admirer.
They say: "Kurt has improved playing with better players. He's a bright kid and knows he can hurt his career leaving us too soon." - Christophe Galtier, St Etienne coach
Geoffrey Kondogbia (France)
After his breakout year with Sevilla, Kondogbia will be one of most coveted players at the World Championships. In tandem with Paul Pogba, the Juventus favourite, will form the most powerful midfield in the tournament. Kondogbia is likely to play just behind Pogba in Turkey, though is capable of getting forward and scoring goals himself. Famously came close to signing for Reading last summer, but now has Real Madrid and Barcelona battling for his signature. Manchester City are also keen, where sports director Txiki Begiristain is a big fan.
The say: "He is a vacuum; excels in recovering the ball and often wins his clashes with opponents." - former Lens coach Bijotat Olivier
Rated the best they've seen at Sporting Lisbon since Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruma seems destined to join older brother Mesca, of Fulham, in England. A deal could even be done during the World Championships, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all eager to do business. Though his sacking of super agent Pini Zahavi could see any Premier League move delayed 12 months. Exciting on the ball, with the courage to take responsibility, Bruma also showed a capability to bounce off rough tackling in his first season of senior football. Can light up the tournament this month.
They say: "He still has plenty to learn, but is a player you only see once every three years or more." - former Sporting coach Jesualdo Ferreira
Tiago Ilori (Portugal)
Every Liverpool fan around the world will be wanting to see the Sporting Lisbon defender in action for Portugal. A tall, slender centre-half, Tiago was given a first team chance in midseason by former coach Jesualdo Ferreira and didn't look back. Liverpool are attempting to close a deal for around £3.5 million, but may be forced to wait until after the World Championship. London born, with an English father, Tiago has settled his international future by committing to Portugal for the tournament.
They say: "This is a player of great quality, who needs time and space to develop." - former Sporting coach Jesualdo FerreiraJese Rodriguez (Spain)
Can play on the wing and through the middle, Jese was coveted by Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United as a teenager. He goes into the World Championship on the back of breaking a goalscoring season record with Real Madrid Castilla, taking the mantle from legend Emilio Butragueno. Has drawn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo and ironically is ready to quit Real with the likes of the star No7 blocking his way to the first team. A move to Germany has been mooted, though with more his countrymen moving to England this summer, the Premier League could still be the next destination for this exciting talent.
They say: "He's had a spectacular season. He took it upon himself to take more responsibility with his goalscoring." - Castilla coach Alberto Toril