An “exceptional” young player believed to be sought after by Liverpool has made Goal’s NxGn 2020 list of top players born on or after 1 January 2001.
Lyon wonderkid Rayan Cherki has been linked with the Reds, as well as Premier League rivals Manchester City and La Liga giants Real Madrid, according to 90min.
The 16-year-old is considered to be one of Lyon’s most promising youngsters of all time, which is quite a feat considering their alumni hall of fame.
Lyon has seen the likes of Karim Benzema, Hatem Ben Arfa, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial, Samuel Umtiti and Corentin Tolisso come through the ranks over the years.
However, Cherki has already made 12 first-team appearances for the French club, scoring three goals and registering two assists – incredible stats for a player who’s not 17 until August.
A versatile attacker who can play as an attacking midfielder, on either flank and also up front, Cherki made his first-team debut in October in a 0-0 draw with Dijon.
He has been ranked at number 14 by Goal, who wrote: “Kylian Mbappe knows more than most about prodigious talent, so it is telling that the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is a massive fan of Rayan Cherki, the latest gem unearthed by Lyon.
“The 16-year-old attacker is being touted as an exciting mix of Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa and is already making history at the Groupama Stadium, having become his hometown club’s youngest ever scorer by netting against Bourg in the Coupe de France on January 4.”
When a 16-year-old has clocked up the amount of first-team appearances, goals and assists that Cherki has, it’s impossible not to take notice of him as a prospective signing.
Cherki – contracted to Lyon until 2022 – has already seen plenty of plaudits come his way, including from Mbappe and from former Lyon coach Bruno Genesio, who previously told Telefoot: “He is a player with exceptional qualities. He is mature, he has great technical qualities.”
All the hype around the teenager prompted head coach Rudi Garcia to tell Goal: “Gerard Houllier (Lyon advisor and former Liverpool boss) had this with Steven Gerrard, who he started at 17 years old.
“He played 15 games, then 25 and then started to play whole seasons. I had the same with Eden Hazard at Lille. You have to watch, see how the player behaves and be careful.”
Although Real Madrid are apparently very eager to bring Cherki to the Bernabeu, a team like Liverpool, who is already planning for the future with the likes of Harvey Elliott and Sepp Van den Berg, will likely do all they can to add him to their ranks too.