Rising football stars: 10 players to watch in 2017

28 December 2016 01:59
Gabriel Jesus, about to join Manchester City, and Liverpool’s youngest goalscorer, Ben Woodburn, are among the game’s best prospectsKeïta was relatively unheralded outside Austria when he left RB Salzburg – to all intents a sister club to Leipzig – in the summer after a two-year stay but he had already been named the country’s player of the year and cannot be a million miles from a similar honour in Germany. Four years ago he was playing for Horoya in his native Guinea, getting his breakthrough in Europe with the French second-tier club Istres; Europe’s biggest names have been interested for some time and it is not hard to see why. A dynamic, box-to-box central midfielder, he has drawn comparisons with N’Golo Kanté but distributes the ball with a range and accuracy that has evoked parallels with Deco. That is a potent enough mix without a keen eye for goal: Keïta was on the scoresheet a dozen times for Salzburg last season and there have been four more in the Bundesliga this season – including an opening-day winner against Borussia Dortmund and a cracker in the victory at Mainz. Keïta is fundamental to the high-intensity pressing game taught by Ralph Hasenhüttl and characterises the fresh, positive feel behind the entire Leipzig team; they must hope their achievements match up to their prize asset’s potential in the seasons to come. Nick Ames Related: Gabriel Jesus: ‘I like a challenge. The biggest battles go to the biggest warriors’ Related: Transfer window January 2017: all the latest moves and news – interactive Related: Mino Raiola: a fearless negotiator who got his revenge with Paul Pogba deal Related: Ben Woodburn sets record as Liverpool break Leeds to reach EFL Cup last four Continue readingreadfullarticle

Source: TheGuardian