José Gomes, Portugal and Benfica
José Gomes, who will turn 18 this April, became the third-youngest player in history to play for Benfica’s senior side after making his debut earlier this season.
The striker was the top-scorer and Player of the Tournament at the 2016 U-17 European Championship, netting seven times in Portugal’s triumphant campaign.
Alexander Isak, Sweden and AIK
Young Swede Alexander Isak has already drawn comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic after bursting onto the scene last April with a brace in the Stockholm derby.
Since then, the transfer rumour mill has been linking the AIK striker to a host of Europe’s top clubs, including Manchester United, Liverpool and Juventus.
Malang Sarr, France and Nice
Nice are the surprise table-toppers in Ligue 1, and while Mario Balotelli has grabbed all the headlines, young defender Malang Sarr has been a key part of a defence that has conceded the fewest goals in the league.
The 17-year-old Frenchman can play at left-back and centre-back, and has showcased a good ability on the ball and a towering presence in the air, scoring on his league debut.
Gianluca Scamacca, Italy and PSV Eindhoven
Another player who has drawn Zlatan Ibrahimovic comparisons. PSV Eindhoven striker Gianluca Scamacca has been called the “Italian Zlatan Ibrahimovic” for his flair and explosive power.
Similar to Zlatan, Scamacca likes to venture out of the penalty box and link up with his teammates.
Matthijs de Ligt, Netherlands and Ajax Amsterdam
Matthijs de Ligt was fast-tracked into Ajax’s senior team after excelling for the club’s U-17s, and promptly marked his senior debut with a goal in September.
Known for his positional intelligence and his ability to organise a defence, de Ligt was the second-youngest goalscorer in club history, after Clarence Seedorf.
Indy Boonen, Belgium and Manchester United
Indy Boonen is already making the highlight reels for Manchester United’s U-18 team, having joined the Red Devils in 2015.
Has an uphill task to make it into the senior team, but with his creativity, dribbling skills, and finishing ability, it won’t be a surprise if Boonen is soon playing on a grand stage.
Dujon Sterling, England and Chelsea
The Chelsea youngster has already won the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup, scoring in the final of the latter competition in 2016.
Although Sterling is nominally a central defender, he has also featured in midfield and as a winger and forward.
Andreas Christensen, Denmark and Borussia Monchengladbach
One of the many players out on loan from Chelsea, Christensen is regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in Europe, and has already established himself as a regular at Monchengladbach.
If he does graduate to the Chelsea first team, he could be an ideal replacement for John Terry.
Davide Calabria, Italy and AC Milan
Part of the youth brigade fueling AC Milan’s resurgence, Calabria has already become a fan favourite for his work rate and defensive awareness.
The 20-year-old seems like the natural heir to Ignazio Abate, Milan’s long-serving right-back.
Josip Posavec, Croatia and Palermo
While Palermo have struggled in the Serie A this season, Posavec has been a bright spot, pulling off some astonishing saves. The 20-year-old has made more saves than Joe Hart, Wojciech Szczesny, and Gianluigi Buffon.
Although prone to the odd lapse in concentration, Posavec’s tremendous reflexes have helped bail out a shaky Palermo back line.
Are there any other young players you’re looking forward to seeing in action in 2017?