On the radar
Nicolo BARELLA (Cagliari)
“I had an Aston Martin, the big house, anything a person could want – but you can’t help what’s in the brain” Former Wales midfielder David Cotterill on his battle against depression
In need of all the young talent he can lay his hands on after the Azzuri’s failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, new Italy coach Roberto Mancini has singled out the box-to-box midfielder as one of his building blocks for the future.
Sardinian born and bred, the 21-year-old was called up for the recent national squad and has looked the part in the last couple of Serie A seasons, winning admiring glances with his ferocious tackling, excellent range of pass and powerful shot from distance.
Last season he became Cagliari’s youngest-ever captain – at 20 years, 10 months and nine days – and according to the rumour mill a number of leading Italian and English sides are hot on his trail, with Internazionale and Juventus thought to head the queue to bring him on board.
His one major fault is a lack of selfcontrol and he picked up 13 yellow cards and one red card last term, the worst individual rap sheet in the top flight.
“Going in for tackles is the way I’m made, though I do have to improve those numbers,” he admits. “I can’t afford a yellow card every game.”
Lucas PAQUETA (Flamengo)
The 21-year-old attacking midfielder made his debut in Brazil’s recent friendly against the USA and is being tracked by a number of leading European clubs.
Arne MAIER (Hertha Berlin)
The 19-year-old Germany under-21 midfielder is already a regular for Hertha, who began the season in impressive style.
Ousmane DEMBELE (Barcelona)
The French youngster, whose first season at Barca was blighted by injury, has made a fine start to the new campaign. He has scored some impressive goals, including a spectacular long-range shot in the Champions League against Roma.
Hatem BEN ARFA (Rennes)
After 17 months on the sidelines, the former Paris Saint-Germain exile scored an injury-time winner on his debut against Jablonec in the Europa League.
Leandro TROSSARD (Genk)
The left winger earned his first call-up to the Belgium squad after an energetic start to the new campaign saw him pile up the goals and assists for his club.
The Ivory Coast forward, who is now back in Europe with Parma, scored an outrageous goal for his new club against Cagliari, running almost the entire length of the pitch before firing home.