Brahim, Pereira & 15 players you might not know were having great seasons

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As domestic seasons take a break to allow for international action, Goal takes a look at some lesser-known star performers of the campaign so far...

  1. Agustin Alvarez (Penarol)
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    Agustin Alvarez (Penarol)

    WIth Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani entering the twilight of their careers, Uruguay are crying out for a new generation of attacking players to emerge and take on leadership of the national side.

    Agustin Alvarez looks to be just that, with the 20-year-old striker having scored on his international debut against Bolivia in September.

    That call-up came off the back of a superb year leading the line for Penarol, with reported Real Madrid target Alvarez having netted 20 times in 32 games for the Montevideo outfit since the start of 2021.

  2. Julian Alvarez (River Plate)
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    Julian Alvarez (River Plate)

    Hype has been building around Julian Alvarez ever since he made his River Plate debut as a teenager back in 2018, but the forward is now beginning to live up to the expectation.

    With seven goals and four assists in 11 league games this season - including a double to beat Boca Juniors in the Superclasico - Alvarez has forced himself into the Argentina squad and is now being linked with a host of European clubs as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract.

  3. Antony (Ajax)
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    Antony (Ajax)

    Having helped Brazil claim gold at the Olympics, Antony has returned to club action at Ajax and hit the ground running in 2021-22.

    The 21-year-old winger has been toying with defenders week in, week out for the Eredivisie giants, and though his goal and assist numbers might not be eye-catching, his performances certainly are.

    So eye-catching, in fact, that Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are all purported to be interested in signing the ex-Sao Paulo star.

  4. Anastasios Bakasetas (Trabzonspor)
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    Anastasios Bakasetas (Trabzonspor)

    Trabzonspor are one of just two unbeaten teams left in the Turkish Super Lig this season, and a lot of that is down to the form of their star striker Anastasios Bakasetas.

    The Greece captain has been in inspired form since arriving from Alanyaspor in January, and so far has five goals and six assists to his name in just 12 appearances this season.

    Though no spring chicken at the age of 28, Bakasetas certainly deserves more hype than he currently gets outside of eastern Europe.

  5. Nicolo Barella (Inter)
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    Nicolo Barella (Inter)

    One of the underrated heroes of Italy's Euro 2020 triumph, Barella continues to ascend towards becoming one of the world's best midfielders without anyone outside of his homeland really noticing.

    The 24-year-old already has five assists in seven Serie A matches - two more than anyone else - while his eight big chances created, per Opta, are almost double the amount of the next best in the competition.

  6. Brahim Diaz (AC Milan)
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    Brahim Diaz (AC Milan)

    Manchester City were as excited about Brahim Diaz as they were Phil Foden when the Spaniard was emerging from the Premier League outfit's academy, but it has taken some time for the playmaker to return on his potential.

    Having also failed to make the grade at Real Madrid, the 22-year-old seems to have found a home for himself at AC Milan, with Brahim now regarded as one of the most dynamic attacking talents in Serie A.

    With four goals - two of them winners - and two assists already this term, the Rossoneri have found a player that their attack can be built around for years to come.

  7. Arthur Cabral (FC Basel)
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    Arthur Cabral (FC Basel)

    Most forwards can only dream of scoring 20 goals in an entire season, so to have reached that landmark by the start of October suggests that Arthur Cabral is doing plenty right at Basel.

    The 23-year-old striker also has six assists to his name from his 17 games in all competitions so far this term, and has only failed to find the net on four occasions.

    A move to one of Europe's top five leagues now looks inevitable for the Brazilian striker.

  8. Arnaut Danjuma (Villarreal)
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    Arnaut Danjuma (Villarreal)

    Eyebrows were raised when Villarreal forked out €25 million (£21.3m/$29m) to sign Arnaut Danjuma from Championship side Bournemouth, but early signs suggest it was an inspired piece of business.

    A return of five goals in seven games has earned the Netherlands international rave reviews in Spain, while his destruction of Diogo Dalot in the Champions League served as a fine illustration for how he has dealt with most opposition full-backs since joining Unai Emery's side.

  9. Ricardo Gomes (Partizan)
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    Ricardo Gomes (Partizan)

    When Ricardo Gomes was last at Partizan, he scored 20 league goals in 2018-19 before leaving the Serbian giants to move to the United Arab Emirates.

    But now back in Belgrade after a brief lay-over in Turkey, Gomes is looking likely to surpass his return from four seasons ago and potentially even earn himself a move to a more established European league.

    The 29-year-old Cape Verde international has scored 17 goals in 19 games so far this season, while also laying on three assists for team-mates.

  10. Amine Gouiri (Nice)
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    Amine Gouiri (Nice)

    Amine Gouiri has long been thought of as one of the most talented young players in French football, and now the 21-year-old looks set to properly break out over the course of the next 12 months.

    After impressing for Nice during his first season with the club following his departure from Lyon in 2020, the forward seems to have taken his game to the next level this time around.

    The Under-21 international has five goals and three assists in eight games so far this term, with Gouiri's form helping drive Nice towards potentially challenging for a place in next season's Champions League.

  11. Paul Onuachu (Genk)
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    Paul Onuachu (Genk)

    There is a chance that if you do not follow either Belgian or Nigerian football closely, you are not aware of Paul Onuachu's goalscoring exploits, but the 27-year-old has been killing it at Genk over the past two campaigns.

    Having scored 29 league goals in 2020-21, the Super Eagles star has begun the new campaign in similar form, netting nine goals in as many Jupiler League games for the Belgian side, while also adding two more in European competition.

  12. Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)
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    Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)

    There is a reason Roma were so keen to tie Lorenzo Pellegrini down to a new contract, something that they achieved at the start of October following the Italy international's fantastic start to the season.

    Pellegrini, 25, has scored seven goals and laid on two assists in all competitions for the Giallorossi so far this season as he emerges as the on-field leader of the Jose Mourinho revolution in Rome.

    He kept up his good form by scoring for Italy against Spain in their Nations League semi-final defeat on Wednesday, too.

  13. Andreas Pereira (Flamengo)
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    Andreas Pereira (Flamengo)

    While he may not have any kind of future at Manchester United, Andreas Pereira is ensuring he will still be able to attract elite clubs with his performances on loan at Flamengo so far.

    The 25-year-old has been in superb form for the Brazilian outfit since arriving late in the summer, scoring two goals while putting in a host of all-action displays that have helped Flamengo reach the Copa Libertadores final.

    A potential six-match domestic suspension for inadvertently breaking quarantine rules could halt his progression, but Pereira has shown enough already to suggest he is not the flop some fans at Old Trafford believe he is.

  14. Nico Schlotterbeck (Freiburg)
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    Nico Schlotterbeck (Freiburg)

    Nico Schlotterbeck might not be a household name outside of Germany yet, but the defender's early season performances for Freiburg suggest it will not be long until he is among the very best centre-backs in European football.

    Widely regarded as the outstanding defender in this season's Bundesliga so far, the 21-year-old has been rewarded with a first call-up to the senior Germany squad, having played a key role in the country's success at the U21 European Championship in the summer.

  15. Sandro Tonali (AC Milan)
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    Sandro Tonali (AC Milan)

    Much was expected of Sandro Tonali when he joined AC Milan in the summer of 2020, but 'the new Andrea Pirlo' was not always at his best during his first season at San Siro.

    Things do seem to be improving for him in 2021-22, though, as after netting his first goal for the Rossoneri with a stunning free-kick against Cagliari in the opening weeks of the season, he has grown into one of Serie A's most complete midfielders.

    A recall to the Italy squad is expected, even if he missed out on a place on the Azzurri's roster for the Nations League finals.