Even though it may not feel like it outside at the moment, summer is approaching, and with it comes the transfer window. Now, with fans returning to grounds and club finances hopefully improving, this window could see an upturn in spending once again.
We are not expecting Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to move in 2021, but what about some of the wonderkids of world football? Crack open that FM21 database, here are five upcoming stars who could make the move this summer...
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
The one you’ve all heard of. ‘Upcoming’ is hardly the right word to describe Erling Haaland. He is without a doubt the hottest striker in world football right now, having brought up 20 Champions League goals in record time. It took the Norwegian just 14 games to hit that mark, in comparison to 56 games for Ronaldo and 40 games for Messi. The kid is a goal-scoring machine and has a £65m release clause that comes into play in 2022.
He may have only joined Borussia Dortmund in January 2020 but 34 goals in 32 games for the German giants means that the vultures are circling. Barcelona are interested, but their club finances mean they are unlikely to spend big, Real Madrid are always an option but appear weaker than they have been in the past decade, while PSG are already stretched with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar on their wage bill.
Could he come to England? Manchester City, United and Chelsea are all feasible options, and with Aguero on the way out of the Etihad he could make the perfect replacement, but perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows just how to tempt his countryman to Old Trafford. It would be simply seismic for the club if they could tempt Haaland to join Manchester United.
Eduardo Camavinga (Stade Rennais)
What isn’t there to love about Eduardo Camavinga? He’s 18 years old, a fully fledged France international and with all the attributes to flourish into a top midfielder. Having made his Stade Rennais debut at just 16 years and four months old, becoming their youngest ever player, he now has 55 appearances to his name.
He is on the radar of all of Europe’s top clubs, having come through the same academy system as Ousmane Dembele and even has an international goal to his name, becoming the youngest goalscorer for his country in over 100 years. Camavinga’s strength and size, along with his incredible technical ability mean that he is likely to flourish in any division across Europe. His contract expires in 2022, so this could be the last chance for Rennes to maximise the money they receive for him.
Jonathan David (LOSC Lille)
Jonathan David only joined Lille last summer, but the 20-year-old striker’s stock has risen and risen in Ligue 1. He has hit nine goals in 28 games so far this season, which although isn’t in the same stratosphere as Haaland, is impressive for his first season with a new club. As a teenager at previous club Gent, he averaged a goal every two games, hitting 30 for the club in total, but it has been internationally that he has really shone.
Born in New York to Haitian parents, David eventually settled in Canada and, as a result, decided to represent the latter internationally. He has now scored 11 goals in his first 12 international appearances, set the record for most goals scored in a calendar year for Canada (eight) and won the 2019 Canadian Men’s Player of the Year award. Lille paid €30m for him last summer on a five-year deal, so he certainly won’t come cheap, but that price tag could get stratospheric if he continues to score goals for club and country.
Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax)
No surprises here. The Ajax production line that has unearthed so many great players, most recently Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, has hit the jackpot once again with 17-year-old Ryan Gravenberch. His manager, Ronald de Boer, rates him so highly he is now regularly featuring in the first team for the table-toppers while he has already taken Clarence Seedorf’s record as the youngest ever Ajax player in the Eredivisie.
“Matthijs might have been exceptional at that age but Gravenberch has unrivalled qualities,” De Boer told Fox Sports of the teenager who has three goals and four assists to his name in the league this season. He’s contracted until 2023 and will cost a huge amount of money, but players like him don’t come around often.
Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV)
From one future Dutch star to another. Mohamed Ihattaren made the Netherlands incredibly happy when he declared for them internationally rather than his birth country of Morocco. An attacking midfielder with close control, pace, technique and bags of ability, he is set to light up major tournaments over the coming years.
A constant threat on or off the ball, Ihattaren is one of those players who gets you on the edge of your seat having just turned 19. Ihattaren even told Goal: "I must admit that I don’t really like talking about myself, but I do think I’ve got something special." Clubs around Europe will be well aware that his current contract expires in 2022.