Brahim Diaz, Guehi & 10 hidden gems this season
The beauty about a new footballing season is the prospect of some new, unheralded players suddenly emerging as fully-fledged stars.
Often these will be youngsters who develop and explode into top-class players. On other occasions these will be footballers who have been flying under the radar – or perhaps late-bloomers – who finally get mainstream recognition.
Football Transfers presents 10 hidden gems to watch out for this season.
Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)
March Guehi is just one of a long line of hugely talented youngsters who grew up in the Chelsea youth academy.
The defender was one of the most impressive players in the English Championship last season and helped Swansea into the playoffs.
The decision by Chelsea to sell him to Crystal Palace for £18 million caused uproar with fans from Stamford Bridge, who believe he is set for the very top.
Harvey Elliott (Liverpool)
Liverpool have been in the market all summer looking for a replacement for Gini Wijnaldum, who left the club for PSG on a Bosman transfer.
However, it is possible they don’t even need to sign a new midfielder following the return of Harvey Elliott.
The youngster impressed on loan at Blackburn last season and has been just as impressive in pre-season for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp himself had this to say about Elliott: “He made a big step in this pre-season. If Harvey stays fit then the football world can be really excited about that.”
potential to explode this season.
Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)
Raspadori is thought of so highly in Italy that the inexperienced attacker was taken to Euro 2020 by Roberto Mancini in order to gain experience.
He made only one short substitute appearance in the group stage against Wales but there is no doubt this is a player with a big future.
The 21-year-old is small, fast and a fine dribbler with the ability to play and shoot off both feet. He scored six goals last season, expect him to at least double that number this term.
Brahim Diaz (Milan)
Brahim Diaz was a highly-rated youngster at Manchester City and Real Madrid but struggled to find space at either star-studded clubs.
He moved to Milan on loan last season and showed flashes of the magic he possesses, but he mainly was a backup to Hakan Calhanoglu in the number 10 position.
With Calhanoglu now moving to Inter, Brahim has been promoted after returning on another two-year loan. The skilful and creative Spaniard has been excellent in pre-season and looks like he has the
Konrad de la Fuente (Marseille)
The young American was at Barcelona until the summer, where he was pushed out not due to a lack of talent but because of the club's financial problems.
Marseille have benefitted from the arrival of the teenager, who has already looked bright in pre-season and in competitive action.
After scoring a wonderful goal against Saint-Etienne in a friendly, the left-sided player gained an assist on his competitive debut against Montpellier in a thrilling 3-2 win.
His end product has been cause for concern in the past, but if he can maintain this type of level, his return to a European giant could be swift.
Amine Gouiri (Nice)
Came through Lyon's famed academy system before being sold to Nice last season. While the campaign was largely a write-off for Nice, Gouiri made a stunning emergence on the domestic circuit by establishing himself as the club's leading player.
While Nice were largely stifled as an attacking side last term, under new head coach Christophe Galtier, they are expected to be substantially better and that can only be of benefit to the 21-year-old winger.
Guido Rodriguez - Real Betis
Guido Rodriguez has only been plying is trade in Europe for 18 months, having joined Betis from Club America in January of 2020.
However, he has emerged as one of the most impressive defensive midfielders in Spain, particularly last season.
While other players from South America can take a year or two to adapt, Rodriguez knows his strengths and the defensive midfield position so well that he hasn’t required a period of acclimatisation
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Betis have been transformed since his arrival, as he helped them avoid relegation after joining midway through the 2019/20 season, and then developed them into a team worthy of competing for European qualification. Liverpool and Arsenal both want him.
Yeremi Pino - Villarreal
Yeremi Pino is blessed with a cracking burst of pace but his best ability is probably his incisive dribbling as it allows him to often get into positions inside the box to score.
Though he primarily featured on the left last season for Villareal, he can play at right wing or even through the middle.
He became better known to fans outside Spain through his performances in the Europa League last campaign, including in the final against Man Utd. Pino is only 18 years old, but the stage is set for him to light up La Liga.
Ander Barrenetxea - Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad already have a packed attacking midfield roster due to the presence of the likes of David Silva and Mikel Oyarzabal, but Ander Barrenetxea has also proved himself a useful member of the squad.
In the 2020/21 season he started 13 La Liga matches, scoring three goals in that time. Though he is certainly still raw, particularly with his end product, the tools are there for him to become a real danger man by utilising his speed and dribbling abilities.
Oihan Sancet - Athletic Bilbao
Oihan Sancet is slowly but surely becoming an important member of the first team squad at Athletic Bilbao. Last season he started 11 La Liga matches and recorded four goal contributions from his position just behind the centre-forward.
He may play primarily either as the forward or just in behind in smaller pockets, but he can put himself about too, as highlighted by his 6ft 2in frame. Sancet may be a big man, but he has a lovely grace on the ball as well as a very composed demeanour in possession.