Mbappe, Sancho, Pulisic & the most valuable Under-21 players

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The latest Soccerex 20 Under-21 Report values the game’s best young talent, with a player valued in excess of €200m for the first time

Talk of a Golden Generation of talent in the world of football is nothing new, but the glut of young stars currently breaking through suggests we stand on the threshold of a memorable era.

The latest ‘Soccerex 20 Under-21 report’, produced in partnership with Prime Time Sport, offers an indication of the breadth of talent presently on the books of some of Europe’s most pre-eminent clubs.

Using Prime Time Sport’s Football Value Index to rank footballers born on or after January 1, 1998, the report takes into account the player’s age, position, current club, contract length, market value perception, international caps, minutes played, goals, injuries and technical quality from a variety of sources to arrive at a final valuation.

For the first time, there is a player valued in excess of €200 million, while there is strong representation from the Premier League. Other notable points on the latest list are the absence of any Spanish players and the lack of an out-and-out striker.

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    #20 Callum Hudson-Odoi | Chelsea | €31.7m (£28.5m/$35.5m)

    The Chelsea winger enjoyed a breakthrough year last season as he established himself as a key figure in the second half of the campaign and earned his England international debut.

    Currently sidelined by an Achilles injury, Hudson-Odoi remains a target for Bayern Munich, but Chelsea are hopeful he will sign a new contract.

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    #19 Samuel Chukwueze | Villarreal | €32.3m (£29.1m/$36.3m)

    Another winger to have enjoyed a major breakthrough last season, Chukwueze’s dazzling displays for Villarreal have drawn comparisons to Arjen Robben.

    Linked with both Liverpool and Manchester City, Chukwueze is focusing on ensuring he has regular playing time and has also featured for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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    #18 Ryan Sessegnon | Fulham | €33.8m (£30.4m/$37.9m)

    Ryan Sessegnon retains his position in the top 20, although the Fulham youngster probably didn’t make the impact expected of him in the Premier League last season during a year of struggle for his club.

    Tottenham continue to be heavily linked with a bid for Sessegnon, who can play at left-back or on the left wing.

  4. Ricardo Nogueira

    #17 Rodrygo | Real Madrid | €35.3m (£31.7m/$39.6m)

    Rodrygo is another teenager to keep his place in the top 20 and, 12 months on from agreeing a move to Real Madrid, the forward has now pitched up at the Santiago Bernabeu from Santos.

    Tipped to eventually have a similar impact to his fellow Brazilian wonderkid Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo forms part of a squad refresh in Madrid under Zinedine Zidane.

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    #16 Ibrahima Konate | RB Leipzig | €36.3m (£32.6m/$40.7m)

    The France centre-back enjoyed a stellar past season at RB Leipzig and his performances have reportedly attracted interest from Arsenal.

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    #15 Declan Rice | West Ham | €39m (£35.1m/$43.8m)

    Widely regarded as one of the most promising young midfielders in the Premier League, Rice’s performances for West Ham last season have attracted interest from Manchester City and Manchester United.

    After switching allegiance from the Republic of Ireland, he went on to make his senior England international debut and was also on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

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    #14 Phil Foden | Manchester City | €40.8m (£36.6m/$45.7m)

    Of all the emerging talent in English football right now, Foden boasts the most eye-catching credentials to be considered the next big thing.

    Established as part of Pep Guardiola’s first-team squad at Manchester City, Foden is expected to play an even greater role in the Premier League champions’ plans next season.

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    #13 Houssem Aouar | Lyon | €41.6m (£37.3m/$46.6m)

    The Lyon midfielder has risen five places in the list over the past year and impressed in the Champions League last season.

    Another promising talent to have been linked with a move to Liverpool, Lyon will be hoping they can retain Aouar’s services for at least another year.

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    #12 Matteo Guendouzi | Arsenal | €42.8m (£38.4m/$48m)

    A relative unknown when he joined Arsenal from Lorient 12 months ago, Guendouzi took the big step up to the Premier League confidently in his stride.

    Guendouzi has the potential and ability to be the cornerstone of the Arsenal midfield for years to come, and a senior debut for France next season would not be a surprise either.

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    #11 Nicolo Zaniolo | Roma | €45.3m (£40.7m/$50.8m)

    There is little debate about who ultimately got the better end of the deal last summer when Zaniolo joined Roma as part of the transfer which saw Radja Nainggolan move to Inter.

    An impressive season for the Giallorossi earned Zaniolo an Italy debut earlier this year and he is tipped to sign a new contract amid interest from Bayern Munich and Tottenham.

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    #10 Eder Militao | Real Madrid | €54.6m (£49.1m/$61.3m)

    The 21-year-old is part of Madrid’s spending splurge ahead of the new season after a €50 million deal for Militao was agreed with Porto in March.

    Militao has signed a six-year contract at the Santiago Bernabeu and has the potential to be a mainstay of the Madrid defence for years to come given his ability to play at centre-half and right-back

  12. #9 Christian Pulisic | Chelsea | €57.2m (£51.4m/$64.2m)

    Down one place from last year’s list, Pulisic will be playing in the Premier League next season after agreeing his move to Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund in January.

    The United States international is expected to make a major impact out wide for Chelsea and is the poster boy for the current generation back in his homeland.

  13. LLUIS GENE

    #8 Vinicius Jr | Real Madrid | €60.2m (£54.1m/$67.5m)

    The major bright spot in a dismal past season for Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr was quick to deliver on his undoubted potential at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Breaking into the top 10 in this list this time around, the Brazilian’s impressive season was curtailed by an injury which also ruled him out of his national team’s successful Copa American campaign.

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    #7 Gianluigi Donnarumma | AC Milan | €67.9m (£61.1m/$76.2m)

    Widely regarded as the best young goalkeeper in world football for the past couple of years, Donnarumma has stayed in seventh position in this list.

    Recently linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, the Italian will be aiming to hit top form in the coming season in AC Milan’s quest to recapture their former glories.

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    #6 Joao Felix | Atletico Madrid | €71.8m (£64.4m/$80.6m)

    Arguably the most exciting attacking talent to come out of Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix has recently completed his blockbuster €126 million move to Atletico Madrid from Benfica.

    Such a fee will undoubtedly increase expectations on Felix, but he looks to have the game and personality to cope with the scrutiny and demands in the coming years.

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    #5 Trent Alexander-Arnold | Liverpool | €73.6m (£66.1m/$82.6m)

    The home-grown talent used last season to confirm his reputation as one of the most dynamic full-backs in the game.

    A constant threat going forward, Alexander-Arnold ended the season as a Champions League winner with Liverpool, and the England international should be a fixture in the team for club and country for at least the next decade.

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    #4 Kai Havertz | Bayer Leverkusen | €74.2m (£66.7m/$83.3m)

    The apple of Bayer Leverkusen’s eye, Havertz was his club’s youngest ever player in the Bundesliga when he made his debut as a 17-year-old back in 2016.

    Already a full Germany international, the all-round midfielder’s star has been continually on the rise and it would be no surprise if he eventually follows the well-trodden path to Bayern Munich.

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    #3 Matthijs de Ligt | Ajax | €74.5m (£67m/$83.6m)

    The best young defender in world football, De Ligt is expected to secure a big-money transfer away from Ajax during the summer after playing a prominent role in his club’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.

    Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have all shown an interest in the centre-half, but Juventus are expected to win the race to sign the gifted Netherlands international.

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    #2 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund | €120.3m (£108.1m/$135m)

    The England international enjoyed an explosive past season in the Bundesliga with Dortmund as he contributed goals and assists aplenty in his club’s ultimately unsuccessful title challenge.

    Now firmly established in the England squad, the winger has repeatedly been linked with a £100 million move to Manchester United, but he is expected to spend next season in Dortmund.

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    #1 Kylian Mbappe | €261.6m (£235.1m/$293.5m)

    Mbappe has claimed top spot in the list for the second year in a row and the Paris Saint-Germain star has seen his value rise by nearly €70 million over the past 12 months.

    The France international enjoyed a stellar season in Ligue 1 for PSG and he remains a top transfer target for Real Madrid, who look likely to have to wait at least another year before they can fulfil their wish of bringing Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu.