The nominees for Golden Boy circa 2017 have been announced where six English players feature there shortlist of 25 players- no other nation has that many. The Italian paper Tuttosport organises the award as the winner gets chosen by a committee of 30 experienced sport journalists.
Players under the age of 21 are eligible for the award- previous winners feature the likes of Sergio Aguero,Wayne Rooney, Paul Pogba, and, of course, Leo Messi. Last year the award was given to Swansea’s loanee from Bayern Munich Renato Sanches who earned it through a contribution to Portugal’s Euro 2016 win and Benfica’s Champions league quarter-final run.
This year features a lot players in serious competition to win it, and a surplus amount of talent amongst nominees. These are our top 5 contenders:
- Kasper Dolberg (Ajax)
Ajax is well known for their youth academy, which has brought up some of the best players in football history. It was Kasper Dolberg who caught everyone’s attention to the Amsterdam Arena last season. The young Denmark international scored 16 goals and made 6 assists in the league as Ajax lost the title by only one point to Rotterdam side Feyenoord.
Dolberg ended the seasons as the top scorer for Ajax in all competitions, netting six goals in the Europa League, two of which were in the first and second leg against Lyon. Ajax were no match for Manchester United though in the final where they lost 2-0. Nevertheless, it was a wildly successful European campaign for de Godenzonen.
A more than impressive first season by Dolberg for Ajax has now paved his entry to world football and a continuous good form will no doubt grant him a move to a bigger club where he could really develop to a world class striker. He absolutely crushed Lyon’s defence in Amsterdam during the first leg of the Europa League semi-final while plenty of Europe’s top clubs must have shortlisted him for the next transfer window.
- Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht)
The Belgian midfielder is already looking like world-class talent and is under the radar of many top clubs. Being just 20-years old he has already won Player of the Year award in Belgium, having scored 18 goals and contributed with 12 assists in all competitions for Anderlecht. The club won the title and Tielemans was more than essential for that success.
Also winner of 2014 and 2015 edition Belgium’s Young Footballer of the Year award, he has played as a holding midfielder in the middle of the park and has without a doubt all the defensive qualities to provide satisfactory results in that role. The positions where he truly thrives though is as an attacking midfielder. Earning comparisons to Frank Lampard, Tielemans has an absolute cracker of a shot, in addition to good passing range and explosive pace.
In a shortlist of mostly attack-playing footballers Tielemans could be disregarded for playing in the midfield, though with a summer switch to AS Monaco he has guaranteed himself potential further development and contact with superior players to alongside and against. It certainly would not be a surprise if Youri receives a household status in a few years.
3.Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Gabriel Jesus had an eager start in the England’s top flight, which by itself is quite the evidence for his immense talent. In just ten league matches for Manchester City last season he scored seven times and gave four assists, following a move from Brazilian side Palmeiras. A deadly finisher with intelligent off-the-ball movement and swapping-position abilities upfront, Jesus even forced out Sergio Aguero from the starters’ lineup a number of times.
A resurgent start to the league this season banging four goals in five games has proven that last season has been no coincidence, catching the eye with his confidence on the ball. The new formation for this season plays him alongside Aguero, forming a partnership with the Argentine international that will certainly scare any manager or defender. It is certain that he will become an exceptional player by learning from Aguero and continuing to develop his abilities.
2.Ousmane Dembele (Borussia Dortmund)
The French winger set the second most expensive switch of all time, following his £96 million move to Barcelona, and it doesn’t take much time to see why. Dembele, nicknamed ‘the mosquito’ for his small figure and breakneck pace, provided 12 assists in the Bundesliga, no other Under-21 player has that many in Europe’s 5 best leagues. The winger also added in 6 assists during the Champions League campaign, contributing to Borussia Dortmund’s run to the quarter-final stage.
As Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Barcelona signed Dembele hoping he could successfully replaced the Brazilian. While the 20-year old has a lot of work to truly fill Neymar’s shoes, his incredible technical abilities, skillful dribble and good use of both feet make him a threat for any defence.
- Kylian Mbappe (Monaco)
The most wanted player during the past transfer window, has been quite the sensation last season as French giants PSG struck an incredible loan deal with Monaco to sign him. The youngster scored 26 times and contributed with 11 assists in all competitions that led Monaco to the League 1 title and a Champions league semi- final.
Mbappe as well as Monaco exceeded expectations last season, finishing eight points above PSG, beating Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in the Champions League knockout stages. Mbappe himself made the biggest impact in a Monaco side full of players who had breakthrough seasons.
Already scoring three goals in his four games for PSG so far he has certainly proven not to be a one-season wonder and a has all the capabilities to be one of the world’s best.
Taking everything into account this year’s Golden Boy award is definitely the most exciting as many young players rose to the big stage. From all quality nominees it will be incredibly difficult to choose just one as all of them had incredible seasons.