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Copa America superkids: 5 young guns Europe's biggest will be watching

With the Copa America set to get underway we take a look at the most exciting youngsters set to participate in the competition.


DAVID NERES

David Neres proved to be one of the brightest young stars in Europe following his superb displays for Ajax in the 2018/19 Eredivisie season.

Neres, 23, is a magnificent dribbler who often utilizes outrageous moves when an opportunity to do so presents itself – his flair has boosted his popularity across Europe and he's even been likened to his countryman, Neymar who boasts a similar style of play.

He managed to bag eight goals and register eight assists in 20 starts for Ajax.

Neres is likely to get a chance to feature in Brazil's Copa America run on a regular basis as Neymar has been ruled out of the competition because of an ankle injury.

The competition will give him a huge stage to convince the likes of Manchester United, PSG and Liverpool that his services are worth acquiring before the transfer window draws to a close.

He'd fit in better at Manchester United, though, considering they're lacking quality forwards at the moment.


EXEQUIEL PALACIOS

River Plate starlet, Exequiel Palacios is set to feature for Argentina in the Copa America with Lionel Sebastian Scaloni looking to integrate the next generation of Argentine superstars into the national team's XI.

Having only featured for Argentina's senior national team on two occasions, Palacios is inexperienced on the international front, his composure, though, which has been evident ever since his debut for River Plate back in 2015 against Newell's Old Boys, will allow him to play his natural game without being hindered by the pressure.

Palacios primarily features as a box-to-box midfielder for River Plate, often running across the pitch to contribute to the team's attacking plays whilst maintaining his defensive duties in an Arturo Vidal-esque manner.

The 19-year-old is also an excellent passer of the ball as he's able to make quick one-two passes and distribute the ball to the flanks with precision.

He's currently on Real Madrid and Arsenal's radar with both clubs looking to bolster their respective squads after experiencing relatively disappointing seasons – a great showing from Palacios in the Copa America should prompt them to engage in a serious battle for his signature.


NAHITAN NANDEZ

Nandez is one of the most talented central midfielders in the Argentine first division having proven himself for Boca Juniors in their run to the Copa Libertadores final back in December.

Nandez, 23, has top level experience under his belt having featured for the Uruguayan national team on 23 occasions. He played a key role in Uruguay's impressive displays at the 2018 world cup and is set to feature for them once again at the Copa America.

Standing at 5'7, Nandez isn't one to engage in aerial dues, instead; he always looks to track runs and intercept the ball.

Whilst he's not a goalscoring midfielder, he's always looking to make late runs into the box to pounce on rebounds and provide an extra passing option where necessary.

He's on Leicester City's radar but Arsenal are also interested in acquiring his services. He'd fit in quite nicely in both teams considering his skillset, but a move to Arsenal would see him form a partnership with his countryman Lucas Torreira.


WUILKER FARINEZ

Venezuela's Wuilker Farinez has been tipped to replace Jasper Cillessen as Barcelona's second-choice goalkeeper, with the Dutchman looking to become the number one goalkeeper elsewhere.

Standing at 6'0 Farinez has a great reach between the sticks thanks to his superior jumping ability as well as his agility.

Farinez, 21, plays for Millonarios in the Colombian first division and managed to catch Barcelona's attention following his impressive performance against Argentina back in March.

Barcelona, though would face a problem with registering him for the new season as their non-EU spots are currently occupied by Malcom, Arthur and Vidal.

His performances for Venezuela, though, will determine whether Barcelona put in the effort to acquire his services.


TAKFUSA KUBO

Takefusa Kubo, dubbed 'the Japanese Messi' is one of the most exciting youngsters set to feature in the 2019 Copa America.

The 17-year-old Japanese youngster is widely tipped to become a world-class player having already impressed in Barcelona's youth ranks between 2011 and 2015 when he honed his skills at the famed La Masia academy.

Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were poised to fight for his signature after the Copa America. However, he has just been confirmed as a Real Madrid signing.

Kubo, who is leaving FC Tokyo for Real, is due to start next season with Castilla.

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Phillip Ekuwem
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Phillip Ekuwem

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