Barca target Martinez and Argentina's young stars to watch out for in 2017-18

ShareClose Comments
The prolific striker being pursued by both the Blaugrana and Atletico Madrid is just one member of an exciting crop of Primera Division starlets


COMMENT

Europe's summer transfer window is always a nervous time for Argentina's top clubs, and 2017 has proved no exception.

The Primera Division's most talented players enter the spotlight as sides from the likes of La Liga and the Premier League look to find the next Lionel Messi or Sergio Aguero, and many end up moving while still in their teens.

Argentina 9/1 to win World Cup 2018

Racing Club's whizzkid Lautaro Martinez is one such example: having attracted attention from the likes of Arsenal and Valencia earlier this season, the 19-year-old forward is now being closely watched by Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. 

He is far from the only player, however, lighting up the Primera. Indeed, keep an eye out for the following names, as they may end up joining a major European side very soon...


LAUTARO MARTINEZ (RACING)


lautaro martinez racing club primera divison argentinien 061317

Not even a broken metatarsal sustained right at the end of the 2016-17 season can keep Lautaro Martinez out of the transfer limelight, as interest continues to mount for Racing Club's striking sensation.

Martinez has enjoyed a sparkling 2017 to date, making the breakthrough at his club to help them gain a Libertadores place and also standing out for Argentina in Under-20 competition. 

Messi stands between Barca and mediocrity

Strong, quick and with a brilliant eye for goal, the teenager's talents have attracted none other than Barcelona, although it is Liga rivals Atletico Madrid who appear closest to landing the youngster.

However, Racing hope Lautaro will sign a new contract that would see his buyout clause increase to at least €20 million before they consider cashing in on their most prized possession.


SANTIAGO ASCACIBAR (ESTUDIANTES)


Ascacibar Argentina Colombia Sudamericano Sub20 02022017

At the tender age of 20, Santiago Ascacibar has already made the heart of the Estudiantes midfield his own, following in the footsteps of Juan Sebastian Veron in bossing the engine room for the La Plata club.

The 5'7'' (1.7m) midfielder is a fierce competitor, and has gone on already to represent his country at last year's Olympic Games as well as the Under-20 World Cup this year, where he took the captain's armband. He is seen as the natural long-term successor to Javier Mascherano in the Albiceleste side, as the Barca man prepares to move back to central defence under new coach Jorge Sampaoli. 

Estudiantes, meanwhile, are fighting a losing battle to keep him at La Plata. Zenit St. Petersburg tried and failed to make Ascacibar the latest member of their Argentine legion, while Alaves have also seen a bid fail. Those two, however, will surely be only the first of many suitors, with a top Italian club also rumoured to be watching the starlet with a view to a summer switch.


EZEQUIEL BARCO (INDEPENDIENTE)


Ezequiel Barco Independiente

Not since Sergio Aguero made his debut as a scrawny 15-year-old waif has a young talent so electrified the Independiente faithful. Ezequiel Barco looks the real deal and, at 18, has already carved out an undisputed place in the Rojo first team. 

Barco has named Juan Roman Riquelme as one of his idols and that influence shines through in the stellar passing that marks him out from other young attacking talents. Naturally, those abilities have not gone unnoticed. 

'Dizzy' Barca ridiculed over Dembele claim

Independiente stood firm in turning down a bid from Benfica back in April, just days after their wonderkid's 18th birthday, and that approach looks to be the first of many.

The kid from the Rosario metropolitan area that was the birthplace of Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi and scores of other stars has the brightest of futures, and 2017-18 should prove his breakout season. 


JOSE LUIS GOMEZ (LANUS)


Jose Luis Gomez Lanus 2016

As Pablo Zabaleta's career at the top level begins its final stages, Argentina has its eyes set on one player to step straight into the new West Ham signing's boots. Jose Luis Gomez is established as the Primera Division's top prospect at right-back and, at 23, the Santiago del Estero native has all the time in the world to shine for his nation as well as for a top European club. 

Lanus' capture of Gomez from first club Racing was one of the steals of the decade in Argentine football. After seeing his rather wayward attitude restrict his chances at Racing, Gomez managed to straighten himself out and is now a model professional, as well as a potent presence down the right flank. 

One of the few natural wing-backs Argentina possess, he has attracted attention from local giants Boca Juniors over the summer but will only be sold to Europe, should the right offer come in. 


CRISTIAN PAVON (BOCA)


Cristian Pavon Boca River Campeonato Primera Division 2015

Watching Cristian Pavon strut his stuff in the Bombonera, comparisons with the young Angel Di Maria are all but inevitable. The 21-year-old Boca starlet is immensely talented and has a natural ability in front of goal, but needs to sharpen his decision-making if he is to push on towards the elite of world football. 

It is a learning process, but one that Pavon is slowly mastering. The ex-Talleres forward was ever-present in Boca's title-winning campaign last season, scoring nine goals and assisting a further nine to play a vital role in that Primera triumph. Playing off main striker Dario Benedetto or on either flank, he has the ability to drive defenders to distraction. 

RUMOURS: Spurs warn Barca off Alli

Paris Saint-Germain and the inevitable Zenit have been linked with a move for Pavon, but Boca are determined to get their money's worth from their brightest star. A new contract signed at the start of August bumped his release clause to a whopping €30 million, and the Xeneize will want every penny if they are to countenance a transfer.


JUAN FOYTH (ESTUDIANTES)


Juan Foyth Veron

Strong at the back and equipped with enviable distribution and ball-carrying talent, Juan Foyth is the archetype of the cavalier South American defender who is not content to just stop attacks, but rather start them too from deep in his own half.

The 19-year-old Estudiantes centre-back finds himself in the eye of a fierce battle between Tottenham and PSG for his signature. The Parisians had appeared to be in the driving seat after agreeing a €10 million deal, but Mauricio Pochettino is a confirmed fan of his compatriot and will not let him go without a fight. 

Be it London or Paris, or even a little longer in La Plata, Foyth will continue to develop. He and Zenit youngster Emanuel Mammana are considered the future of the national team and both are names to watch over the course of this season.


TOMAS CONECHNY (SAN LORENZO)


Tomas Conechny

Article continues below

San Lorenzo starlet Tomas Conechny is one of the top talents at the Primera giants and already a fixture in Argentina's Under-20 squad having turned 19 only in March this year. But the most startling thing about the forward is that he almost didn't make it at all after a freak FIFA-related accident. 

Conechny managed to fall out of a first-floor window while playing the video game with team-mates during the 2015 South American Under-17 Championships, avoiding serious injury despite plunging 10 feet (3 metres). It has not held the youngster back, however, as this year he broke into the San Lorenzo starting line-up for the first time and impressed onlookers with his vast array of skills. 

The current window is probably too soon for a European move, but Conechny will be keen to step up a gear and play a bigger role in Diego Aguirre's first team. If the forward can stake out a place, the sky is the limit.

Next article:
Pulisic banned from winning Man of the Match due to American alcohol laws
Next article:
Manchester United 0 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Sanchez returns in uninspiring draw
Next article:
Cedric Bakambu fires Beijing Guoan past Tianjin Quanjian
Next article:
Barcelona pay tribute to Mexico legend Marquez
Next article:
International Champions Cup 2018: Full list of teams, fixtures & location of pre-season tournament
Close

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Show more Accept