Who will be next season's Kylian Mbappe? Football Manager picks out five future European stars clubs could break the bank on

Joe Hall
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Kasper Dolberg transfer Ajax
Could Kasper Dolberg be next summer's Kylian Mbappe? (Source: Getty)

Hands up if you knew this time last year that two of the most sought-after players of this summer's transfer window would be a 17-year-old striker at Monaco or a central midfielder signed by a recently-promoted Bundesliga club?

Only those deeply familiar in the scouting scenes of European football would have been clued up enough to tip Kylian Mbappe or Naby Keita as imminent targets of the Premier League's top clubs commanding price tags likely to break any interested club's transfer record.

Mbappe and Keita aren't the only ones. Manchester City's newly acquired left-back Benjamin Mendy and goalkeeper Ederson, Manchester United's new centre-back Victor Lindelof, Everton's Jordan Pickford and Barcelona's Nelson Semedo have all emerged from relative obscurity to command huge fees previously reserved for well established household names.

In order to spot next summer's transfer market stars from the continent, Football Manager's Tom Davidson dug into their database - the largest collection of football statistical data in the world, put together by on-the-ground scouts - to give us an idea.

Carlos Soler - Valencia, defensive/central midfield, 20

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga
Soler (l) signed a new deal with Valencia this summer (Source: Getty)

  • Technique: 15
  • First touch: 13
  • Passing: 13
  • Pace: 13

Football Manager: "Last season saw Soler breakthrough into the first-team at the Mestalla as the Valencia native notched up 15 appearances and found the back of the net three times. He looks nailed on for more action in the starting XI this season and can build on what is already a solid playing style that could easily be lifted straight into the Premier League."

Read more: Final Premier League spending tally this summer could top £2bn

Matthijs De Ligt - Ajax, central defender, 17

De Ligt is only 17 but has already played twice for Holland (Source: Getty)

  • Tackling: 14
  • Passing: 14
  • Agility: 14
  • Marking: 12

FM: "De Ligt dislodged the experienced Nick Viergever from the centre of Ajax's defence at the tail end of last season having been the shining light in the Dutch giants' renowned youth team in the first months of the season. Top flight football didn’t phase him and he quickly settled into life in the Eredivisie, ending the season with two goals to his name and even a couple of international caps for Holland. Like all Ajax youth products, there’s a real emphasis on passing and technique in his game but he doesn't shy away from a defensive confrontation either."

Kasper Dolberg - Ajax, striker, 19

Dolberg became the youngest non-Dutch player to ever score a hat-trick for Ajax last season (Source: Getty)

  • Acceleration: 15
  • Agility: 15
  • Dribbling: 14
  • Technique: 14

FM: "Dolberg is another Ajax youngster who proved himself on numerous occasions at senior level last season. His 23 goals in both league and European games spearheaded Ajax’s title challenge as well as their run to the Europa League final. His performances have already earned him comparisons with Dennis Bergkamp from the Ajax faithful and led him to be linked with Tottenham and Everton in January."

Read more: Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy claims lavish Premier League spending is unsustainable

Youri Tielemans - Monaco, central midfield, 20

Tielemans has twice been named Belgian young player of the year (Source: Getty)

  • Technique: 16
  • First touch: 15
  • Passing: 15
  • Long shots: 14

FM: "A must-buy for Football Manager players over the past three years, Tielemans finally got his big move earlier this summer when Monaco paid €25m (£22.6m) for his services. Having made his debut for Anderlecht in 2013, he went on to make 139 appearances for the club and scored 26 goals including several from outside the box. Given Monaco’s track record in recent years for nurturing youth talent there’s every chance the French side could be making a profit on Tielemans at the end of the season."

Keita Balde Diao - Lazio, Left wing/striker, 22

Keita Balde Lazio
Keita Balde scored the fastest Serie A hat-trick since 1975 last season (Source: Getty)

  • Dribbling: 16
  • Technique: 16
  • Acceleration: 16
  • Finishing: 15

FM: "Keita notched 16 league goals for Lazio last season and played with a confidence that caught the eye of many of Europe’s top clubs. The Senegalese international spent seven years in Barcelona’s youth team and his dribbling ability and technical skill has all the hallmarks of Catalan’s finest. His goal scoring form at the end of last season was impressive – he scored in five of his last six games – and included a brace against fierce rivals Roma and a five-minute hat-trick against Palermo. Expect him to hit the ground running once the Serie A season starts."

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