As the summer transfer window approaches, speculations about the future of high-priced players such as Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, and Napoli forward Victor Osimhen have already begun. However, while Europe’s elite clubs may be vying for these established stars, they are also keeping an eye out for emerging talents with exciting potential, who may be available for a more reasonable fee.
Several young stars have already caught the attention of top-level clubs months ahead of the transfer window. Here are just a few of the rising talents who are generating buzz in the world of football.
Randal Kolo Muani
Last summer, Kolo Muani signed on a free transfer after his contract with Nantes expired. Despite being new to the Bundesliga, the versatile centre-forward has made an astonishing impact in his debut season with the club, Frankfurt. Standing at 6-foot-1 with a long stride that enables him to outpace defenders, Muani has proven to be a handful for opposing defences in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League. So far, he has scored an impressive 19 goals and provided 14 assists in 37 games.
Muani is not only a capable finisher with both feet and in the air, but he also excels in pressing, taking on defenders with the ball at his feet, and improving his hold-up game. After impressing at the 2022 World Cup, he has secured a starting spot for France, which seemed unthinkable just a year ago. Consequently, prominent clubs such as Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester United have been linked with a potential summer move for the young striker.
While Frankfurt will undoubtedly be reluctant to let him go, they may find it challenging to refuse an offer that offers them significant financial gain.
When it comes to young midfielders with the right attributes for the role, few have caught the attention quite like Veiga. The 20-year-old has made an impressive breakthrough in LaLiga this season, showcasing a remarkable blend of natural quality on the ball, physical strength, high tactical and positional awareness, as well as an excellent end product.
Playing in the No. 8 role, Veiga has the freedom to express himself, resulting in nine league goals and four assists in 26 games — some of which have been intricate efforts from the edge of the box. His ability to take on opponents in midfield and make significant gains with the ball has garnered attention from several analytics departments.
Although Celta Vigo has managed to alternate between successful relegation battles and mid-table finishes, it is doubtful that they can prevent the young star’s departure if a club pays his reported €40m release clause. Top clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool are reportedly following his progress, while the fact that Pere Guardiola (Pep Guardiola’s brother) is leading the race to become his agent means that Manchester City will also inevitably be mentioned as a potential destination.
In the event that Kolo-Muani leaves Frankfurt, the German club is reportedly considering Retegui as his replacement, despite the fact that the Argentina-born striker is more of a traditional No. 9 target man.
Retegui is eligible to play for Italy through his Sicilian grandfather and made his senior national team debut in the recent Euro 2024 qualifying games, scoring a consolation goal in the 2-1 defeat against England and another in a 2-0 win against Malta a few days later. While on loan from Boca Juniors to Tigre, he scored an impressive 19 league goals last season and has already netted seven in 10 games this campaign.
However, scouts have heavily debated Retegui’s development ceiling, questioning whether his physicality, determination, and aerial prowess can make up for his lack of mobility and technical shortcomings. Nonetheless, he has reportedly garnered interest from a number of top football clubs, including Leeds United, West Ham, AC Milan, and Inter.