10 young players to watch (who you probably haven’t heard of)

You will probably never have heard of the following ten players, (as chosen by our pals at IMScouting). All of them have had a terrific start to the season and if they continue in such a rich vein of form, could be plying their trade at a higher level very soon.

1. Almen Abdi (21), Attacking midfielder, FC Zürich (Switzerland) (pictured)

So far this season, the playmaker has showed that he has the right tools to take his team to the top with seven goals and four assists in 12 matches. The personal ability of Almen is unique – he passes very well, has a great shot from distance and always knows how to “kill” the defenders.

Although the numbers speak for themselves, Almen lacks a little bit of personality. For now FC Zurich are leading the table, if they win the championship, Almen will become the new hero of Swiss football. (Video evidence here.)

2. Mauro Boselli (23), Striker, Estudiantes La Plata (Argentina)

A huge talent – a natural goalscorer. Considered to be a great talent since he started to make his first steps in the Boca Juniors youth team.  This year he received his chance and for Estudiantes he has showed how much potential he has with five goals in nine matches.

According to IMScouting Boselli is a “typical striker who knows how to score from every position. He is quite a cold-blooded and precise striker.”  Boca Juniors believe that Boselli will move to Europe soon, and for this, they confirmed a clause of eight million euros with a sell-on option of 50%. (Video evidence here.)

3. Tijani Belaid (21), Central midfielder, Slavia Praha (Czech Republic)

When scouts in Europe mention Slavia Praha, they automatically mention the multi-talented, Tomas Necid, who leads the goal scorers table in his country. Necid will move in January to CSKA Moscow and the media is ready to anoint Tijani Belaid, an international Tunisian young midfielder, born in Paris, who has inspired Slavia fans with his magic.

When Tihani was young, he was part of the youth system of Inter. The years passed and the young prodigy didn’t receive the chance that he dreamed about. After one game with the Nerrazurri, Tijani went on loan to PSV but didn’t play.

His next move, to Slavia Praha, opened the door for a successful career. With Slavia Praha, Belaid is shining, leading the team, scoring goals and doing everything in order to bring the title to his team.

According to IMScouting, Tijani is a “versatile midfielder, very technical and constructive. He is strongest in the middle of midfield.” Tijani’s contract will expire only in 2012/2013 so Slavia will be hoping to cash in on their new star player. (Video evidence here.)

4. Pontus Wernbloom (21), Striker, IFK Goteborg (Sweden) (pictured)

Up until last season, Pontus was a clever attacking midfielder with great ability. This season coach Stephan Rehn decided to use his qualities of physical strength and changed his position to target striker. Wernbloom brought his simple football to the position and added some other creative tricks.

The result is that Wernbloom has been called up for the national team after scoring eight goals and providing three assists in the Allsvenskan league. The local media have already posted stories about enquiries from Germany and Denmark. (Video evidence here.)

5. Sejad Salihovic (24), Attacking midfield left, 1899 Hoffenheim (Germany)

The “village team” from the Bundesliga continues to shock Europe. When you talk about Hoffenheim’s success, you can mention certain names. One of them is Sejad Salihobic, Bosnia’s international left winger, who is capable of producing some real magic.

Salihovic, has a great left foot and he has already scored three goals this season, two of them from free kicks. In addition, he has provided two assists. The Hoffenheim management will have to fight really hard at the end of the season, as his contract expires at the end of 2008/2009. (Video evidence here.)

6. Oscar Wendt (22), Left defender, FC Copenhagen (Denmark)

The Swedish international defender is one of the best defensive players in the Danish league, and is already being tracked by Borussia Monchengladbach and Italian clubs Juventus and Siena.

The fact that Wendt was part of the Swedish 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign has given him experience and confidence. Wendt is a very strong defender who combines a physical game with good pace and technique which allows him to provide good scoring opportunities. Definitely a player to keep an eye on. (Video evidence here -1.10 on the vid.)

7. Ahmed Al Mohamady, (21), Right defender, Enppi Cairo, (Egypt)

The best Egyptian right defender during the 2007/2008 season, started the new season with high expectations. The young defender uses his unique technique to bomb forward down the wing. He has already scored two goals in six matches and has led his team to the surprising first place in the table.

Mohamady is humble and has the right appetite to learn. Despite the fact that he displayed great performances with the national team and he had a lot of offers to transfer to Ahly or Zamalek, he decided to stay at the club and is now a cult-hero with the fans. (Video evidence here.)

8. Jorge Sammir, (21), Attacking midfielder, Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) (pictured)

Like a lot of Brazilians, Sammir is a real prospect who can make a huge impact for Dynamo Zagreb.  He just started his third season at the club, and at the time of writing has scored three goals and claimed four assists.

Sammir, who is contracted to the club until season 2011/2012 has a very strong left foot and is a fast player with good ball control. According to IMScouting he is “very good at providing scoring opportunities to his team mates.” Sammir has already been mentioned in the Dutch press, but no official offer has been received yet. (Video evidence here.)

9. Filip Ivanovski, (22), Striker, Polonia Warszawa (Poland)

With six goals for the current Polish leaders Polonia Warszawa, Filip Ivanovski is the top scorer in the Polish Ekstraklasa. He is a favourite of the Polonia fans. After failing to impress with Dyskobolia, he moved to Polonia Warszawa at the beginning of the season and besides the goals, he has already provided three assists in the first eight matches.

Ivanovski has great pace, and always knows where to be. He can shoot with both feet and is always willing to work hard. If he continues with the same progress, there is no doubt that his success will make waves around Poland. (Video evidence here.)

10. Giedrius Arlauskis, (20), goalkeeper, Unirea Urziceni (Romania)

The big hope of the national team of Lithuania is Giedrius Arlauskis, the promising goalkeeper of Unirea Urziceni, the team coached by Dan Petrescu. For now, Arlaauskis is the first choice for the second team in the table, and also the first goalie for the Under-21 national team.

Arlauskis is great at one on ones, and has a great sense of when to provide defenders with a key pass when starting a counter attack. His Romanian coach recently praised him saying that he is very lucky to have such a young, talented and experienced goalkeeper. (Video evidence here.)


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