With club football in full flow and the 2018 World Cup occurring at the end of the season, Free bets have picked out U21 players to watch from several of Europe’s finest leagues. Here are our 5 ‘U21 players to watch’ from France’s Ligue 1:
Linked with big money moves to Arsenal and Liverpool in the summer, Monaco winger Thomas Lemar played a pivotal part in Monaco’s excellent title-winning campaign. In just his second season with the club, the 21 year old made a strong impact on the left flank domestically and in Europe before earning his first of many France international caps. Blessed with remarkable pace, close control, tricky dribbling and end product to boot, Lemar will almost certainly end up at one of the world’s biggest clubs.
Brazilian winger Malcom joined Bordeaux back in January 2016 from Corinthians, though his initial impact was quiet. Then just 18 years old, Malcom showed fleeting signs of an aptitude for tricks, skilled dribbling and set pieces. After fighting for his place in Jocelyn Gourvennec’s starting eleven in his second year, the Brazilian stepped it up – so much so that when Napoli came in for highly rated winger Adam Ounas, Bordeaux knew they had a real talent ready to step in consistently. Excelling already in 2017, this winger can continue to progress in France.
He needs no introduction really! PSG’s Golden Boy Kylian Mbappe caught the eye at just 17. Mbappe earned his way into the starting eleven of the eventual Ligue 1 champions, breaking all sorts of goal scoring records and taking an enormous €180m move to rivals Paris Saint-Germain. At the age of just 18, Mbappe has made 77 appearances and scored 39 goals, including eight caps for the French national side. With a whopping nine goals in six games with the league leaders, Mbappe is skilled at taking his chances in front of goal, tight dribbling, outrageous pace and a tremendous ability to find space.
Burkina Faso born Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont has slipped under the radar due to the emergence of young star Gianluigi Donnarumma in Italy, along with Hugo Lloris’s consistency for France. Currently possessing the record of the youngest keeper to feature in Ligue 1, Lafont has been starting regularly for Le Téfécé since 2015. Lafont is tied down with Toulouse until 2020 as it stands, but there’s likely to be plenty of interest in his signature for years to come. The 6 ft 4 shot stopper already has a portfolio of outrageous saves and a reputation for his courage and bravery when coming off his line – keep one eye out for his progression.
Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans has been hyped since the age of 16 when he was featuring for his native Anderlecht. The midfielder continued to make strong progress for Belgium’s under 21 national team, earning two consecutive Belgian Young Player of the Year awards. Following a statistically strong year in the Pro League last season, more than doubling his previous record goal tally of six, Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco forked out €25 million on Tielemans. With terrific vision, strong playmaking ability, adept long shots and supreme levels of composure despite his age, Youri Tielemans is destined to go far in the game.