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Who are the five most valuable players under the age of 21?

Jake Jackman

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The CIES Football Observatory have produced a list of the 100 most valuable players under the age of 21 and it makes for interesting reading, with three Premier League players in the top five.

CIES are a research group based within the International Centre for Sports Studies. It was created in 2005 and has looks to specialise in the statistical analysis of football, which is a growing field within the sport.

A lot of their studies are based in the financial side of the game and given the continued increase of transfer fees, they produce a lot of information that is of interest to clubs.

This particular study focuses on the top five leagues and it won’t come as a surprise that the Premier League features heavily.

Here are the five most valuable under-21 players according to the CIES study:

5 – Marcus Rashford (€116.7 million)

Amid all the spending that Manchester United have done in recent seasons, the value of producing your own players through your academy continues to be shown in the Manchester United squad. It is important to their supporters to have homegrown players and Marcus Rashford is one of the best that they have produced in recent seasons. According to CIES, he is already worth more than £100 million and it is remarkable to think that he may not have been given a chance if it wasn’t for injuries to Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial.

It has been a good start to the season for Marcus Rashford as he continues to get significant minutes, despite the arrival of Romelu Lukaku. Across the Premier League and Champions League, he has contributed six goals and four assists. His goal involvement is one every 113.8 minutes. Considering he has been used in various positions and not played every week, this is impressive. United need to continue showing faith in him. If they do, the sky is the limit.

4 – Ousmane Dembele (€120.4 million)

The French winger made headlines during the summer, as he was selected to be the replacement for Neymar at Barcelona. There is a lot of pressure on the 20-year-old to live up to his price tag, which was £135.5 million. There were clauses included in the deal, but the overall value is more than the £120.4 million that he has been estimated at by CIES. However, there were circumstances driving that. Namely, the desperate position of Barcelona.

Last season, he was one of the best players in the Bundesliga as he contributed eight goals and 18 assists across the two major competitions. His goal involvement was one every 108.2 minutes, which underlines why Barcelona were keen to buy him this season. An injury has hindered him at the beginning of his La Liga career, but he remains one of the most exciting young players in the game.

3 – Leroy Sane (€124.5 million)

The £37 million that Manchester City paid for the German international is looking more and more like a bargain with every passing day. CIES value the winger at €124.5 million and that underlines the improvement he has made under Pep Guardiola. He is now one of the most devastating attackers in the Premier Leaguer and it will be fascinating to see how much further he can go, as he is only 21.

His record in the Premier League this season has been remarkable and he is well on his way to contributing at least ten goals and ten assists. Sane is already on six goals and six assists, with a goal involvement every 78.75 minutes. The quality of the team helps him, but his own performances have contributed significantly to the success of City.

2 – Dele Alli (€180.2 million)

It has been a difficult start to the new season for Dele Alli, but he remains one of the most exciting players in the world. In the list of these five players, the England international is the most attainable for the biggest clubs in Europe, as Tottenham have the lowest chance of winning major trophies. It will take a huge fee to secure the midfielder and the valuation of €180.2 million from CIES is around the fee that Spurs would expect.

Since joining Tottenham as a teenager, he has been a revelation and scored 28 goals during his first two Premier League seasons. This season has been harder as he has only three goals in 15 matches, but he was always going to go through a drop-off in form at some point. The test will be how he recovers. The next few months will show us how far Alli can go in the game.

1- Kylian Mbappe (€182.8 million)

The valuation from CIES is fractionally higher than the reported fee that PSG will pay for the teenager next summer when his transfer is made permanent. He was a revelation last season and played a major role in Monaco winning Ligue 1 and reaching the Champions League semi-finals. PSG have made the move to sign him and he could become the best player in the world at the club if he is managed correctly.

This season hasn’t been as eye-catching as his debut season in senior football, but he has been very impressive still, especially when his age is taken into consideration. He has contributed nine goals and seven assists across the two major competitions, with a goal involvement of 86.5 minutes. This is incredible, but there have been some critics as he isn’t as noticeable playing alongside Edinson Cavani and Neymar. He is clearly the best young player in the world and this list from CIES reflects that.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Barcelona

Three reasons Tottenham should replace Toby Alderweireld with Yerry Mina

The 23-year-old defender is targeted by Tottenham in a loan deal.

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Mina
Photo: Getty Images

Yerry Mina’s stock has risen following his fine performances for Colombia at the World Cup in Russia and Tottenham are one of the clubs interested in the defender’s services, according to The Sun.

The 23-year-old only signed for Barcelona in January but the club are limited to just three non-EU players in their squad, which has already led to Paulinho’s surprise return to China, and continued links to Chelsea’s Willian means Mina may have to be offloaded.

A loan deal may therefore be on the cards for Mina and Spurs should be eyeing a move as a replacement for Toby Alderweireld, whose future is still uncertain, and Mauricio Pochettino should be attracted to the player for these three reasons.

Partnership with Davinson Sanchez

After a poor opening to the World Cup with a defeat against Japan, Colombia turned a corner in the group stages in their second match when Yerry Mina was brought into the defence to partner Davinson Sanchez – helping the South American giants secure a 3-0 win over Poland, keeping the likes of Robert Lewandowski quiet.

From then on, Sanchez and Mina was the partnership of choice for Colombia manager Jose Pekerman and the Barcelona man proved to be an incredible threat in attack, scoring three goals in as many matches – including the last-gasp equaliser in the round-of-16 clash with England.

In the three games with Sanchez and Mina at the back, Colombia conceded just one goal – and that was a penalty netted by Harry Kane.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Pochettino can get the best out of Mina

Since arriving at Tottenham from Southampton in 2014, Mauricio Pochettino has crafted Spurs into a very dangerous squad and has brought the best out of the players at his disposal – moulding Kane, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier and Dele Alli into crucial players for England.

Christian Eriksen has also established himself as a key-part of Spurs’ ranks, while Hugo Lloris is up their amongst the best in the Premier League. These players all impressed in different ways prior to Pochettino’s arrival but the Argentina has taken things up a notch.

Yerry Mina would benefit from the same sort of attention from Pochettino, who has earned a stellar reputation as a figure who can help players of any age fulfil their true potential.

(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Another developing star

Make no mistake about it, the next few years for Tottenham are crucial in the club’s development as they look to cement themselves as top-four regulars. Three consecutive appearances in the Champions League have put the Lilywhites on their way but the pressure is on ahead of the move to the new White Hart Lane.

Spurs do not have to look far to see the sort of issues that moving to a new stadium can produce, as arch-rivals Arsenal suffered plenty of problems following their switch to the Emirates Stadium, but those concerns can be avoided with the signing of young talents.

Tottenham’s squad is breaming with exciting young player and the reality is Spurs may not be able to turn away significant bids if they emerge on the market. However, they can secure the maximum price for their players due to the inflated transfer market and the ages of their prized assets – and Mina fits that bill if a permanent move was to arise further down the line.

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Barcelona

Liverpool to move for Barcelona’s Yerry Mina after impressive World Cup

The Reds are reportedly keen on the Colombian World Cup star

Liam Thomas

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Mina
Photo: Getty Images

Colombian international Yerry Mina has caught a lot of attention for some stellar performances in this summer’s World Cup, and now reports are claiming Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is intrigued by the idea of the centre back joining his side next season.

According to a story by Turkish outlet Fotomac, as reported by Sports Witness, Liverpool have entered the race to sign the Barcelona defender and will compete with Süper Lig giants Fernabache to acquire the 23-year-old’s signature.

Another challenge the Reds will face in the race to sign Mina is the fact he only signed for Barcelona six months ago and is contracted at the Nou Camp until 2023.

(Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

Despite this, Liverpool are certainly in the market for a central defender, especially one with the talent Mina possesses and the fact he is still only 23 years of age means he has the time to develop into an even more well-rounded player.

The Reds will be wary about the “World Cup curse”, however, as it was not long ago where they signed Serbian winger Milan Jovanovic after his impressive tournament outing, only for the move to dramatically not work out for either party.

Nevertheless, Mina certainly fits the bill for the type of defender Jurgen Klopp likes to have at the heart of his defence.

He is 6ft 5, powerful and got an eye for goal, something he demonstrated in Colombia’s World Cup group game’s where he scored two headers to send his team into a last 16 tie against England.

Could Mina be the man Liverpool have been crying out for to partner their £75 million man Virgil Van Dijk? He’s certainly got the attributes and pedigree to suggest so.

It’s still unclear how much Liverpool would have to fork out for the Colombian international, however, signing Mina could end up being a very shrewd bit of business from Jurgen Klopp.

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Would Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele make Liverpool title contenders?

Jurgen Klopp has expressed his interest in the 20-year-old.

Josh Kerr

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Dembele
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool should make a move for the La Liga ace Ousmane Dembele if the Barcelona winger becomes available this summer.

Manager Jurgen Klopp spoke of his fondness for the 20-year-old in a press conference yesterday and suggested he may be interested in signing the French international.

In quotes reported by the Daily Mail, Klopp admitted he was interested in the former Borrusia Dortmund forward by saying: “Is he on the market? Now I’m interested.”

Klopp’s interest may not actually lead to the club pursuing Dembele.

However, with a current squad losing bodies by the day following a large number of injuries to crucial players, Dembele would be a perfect addition for the Reds.

Some would argue he even may be capable of challenging Sadio Mane in the club’s starting eleven.

(Photo by Cristina Quicler/Getty Images)

Reports linking the club with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann could spell concerns to the 20-year-old that he isn’t in Ernesto Valverde’s future plans.

The arrival of Dembele’s fellow countryman will make it significantly more difficult for him to keep his place alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Dembele endured a tough first season for the La Liga champions, which included only nine Primera Division starts due to a long-term hamstring injury.

Understandably, a club as competitive as Barcelona can’t afford to wait around for Dembele to fulfill his outstanding potential and, therefore, a move may make sense.

The world’s third most expensive player certainly has the talent to be one of the brightest stars in the game.

If Liverpool genuinely want him, they will have to fork out a lot more than the initial £96.8 million that Barca paid less than 12 months ago.

Following Barcelona’s drawn-out pursuit of former Reds talisman Philippe Coutinho, the tables could now turn.

This time, it would be Jurgen Klopp’s side testing the Catalan giants resolve in their attempts to pry away a once-prized possession for an astronomical fee.

Dembele was initially considered a panic buy after the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint Germain and the Catalan’s failure to sign Coutinho in the same window.

(Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Having now captured Coutinho, and with the club being linked with Griezmann, both of whom can slot into Barcelona’s famous front three, it is difficult to see what Dembele’s role in the team will be next season.

At just 20 years of age, the Frenchman is too talented to sit on the bench and with Liverpool proving themselves to be among the best in Europe this season, he could be the perfect player for Klopp to break the bank, to ensure the Reds continuing improving under his control.

With Naby Keita set to join this summer, and considering Virgil van Dijk’s immediate impact, the addition of another top player, in the form of Dembele, could be the move that allows Klopp’s side to seriously contend for the Premier League next season.

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