NXGN: Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and where 2019's best wonderkids are now
- Manchester United
- Borussia Dortmund
- Borussia M'gladbach
- Bayern München
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Real Sociedad
- Serie A
- Schalke 04
- River Plate
- Primeira Liga
- Ligue 1
- Real Madrid
- Boca Juniors
- Olympique Lyonnais
- Primera División
- Premier League
- RB Leipzig
- Olympique Marseille
- Vasco da Gama
- Serie A
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Manchester City
- Atlético Madrid
- Athletic Club
Since NXGN's introduction in 2016, GOAL has profiled the 50 best footballing wonderkids on the planet on an annual basis, with the top-ranked player taking home the NXGN award.
Some of those recognised for their talent as teenagers are now household names, but others have not yet realised their potential.
So, after the NXGN 2023 list was revealed on Tuesday, March 21, check out where the stars of 2019 are now:
Every NXGN list
#50 Christian Fruchtl | Bayern Munich
2019: A modern goalkeeper with great feet, Fruchtl had yet to make his senior debut but was considered a top prospect, having impressed Manuel Neuer & Co. after being invited to train with Bayern's first team during their winter break in Qatar in 2016.
2020: Fruchtl established himself as Bayern's reserve-team goalkeeper in 2019-20, playing 27 games in the third tier of German football.
2021: The shot-stopper joined FC Nurnberg in the second division for the 2020-21 season, but did not make a first-team appearance.
2022: Fruchtl finally made his first-team debut for Bayern on the final day of the 2021-22 campaign, but that also proved to be his only appearance for the club as he was sold to Austria Vienna ahead of the following campaign.
2023: The goalkeeper has been installed as first-choice in the Austrian capital, and there are already rumours that Bayern could utilise their buy-back clause at some stage as they prepare for life after Manuel Neuer.
#49 Takefusa Kubo | FC Tokyo
2019: Having been signed by Barcelona as a 10-year-old, the outrageously gifted attacker was forced to return to his native Japan in 2016 because of irregularities related to the Catalan club's recruitment of overseas players aged under 18. However, he was excelling in his homeland with FC Tokyo, and widely expected to return to La Masia sooner rather than later, only for Real Madrid to swoop in and sign him in the summer of 2019.
2020: Kubo was one of the young stars of the Spanish season after being loaned to Mallorca, directly contributing to nine goals as they fought against relegation. His form persuaded Villarreal to take him on loan for the following season.
2021: The forward failed to force his way into Unai Emery's team, and had his loan spell cut short in January 2021, with Madrid instead sending him on loan to Getafe for the remainder of the season, though he struggled to make much of an impact.
2022: Mallorca's promotion back to La Liga allowed them to make their move and bring Kubo back to the club on loan in 2021-22, and the Japan international's form having improved a little as a result.
2023: Kubo left Real Madrid to join Real Sociedad for an initial €6.5m in the summer of 2022 and he has been back to his best for the Spanish high-flyers so far this season.
#48 Yari Verschaeren | Anderlecht
2019: Regarded as the latest top talent to roll off the production line at Anderlecht, Verschaeren had already appeared in the Europa League for the Belgian outfit.
2020: After making his Belgium debut in September 2019, Verschaeren made 21 league appearances over the course of the 2019-20 campaign.
2021: A three-month absence with an ankle injury, coupled with an early finish to the season due to Covid-19, meant that Verscharen made just 16 league appearances in 2020-21, though he still managed to score five times.
2022: An established starter, Verschaeren set personal bests for goals and assists in a single season under Vincent Kompany.
2023: Verschaeren's attacking output has regressed in 2022-23, but that is in part due to him playing slightly deeper, leading to him earning Luka Modric comparisons.
#47 Juan Miranda | Barcelona
2019: The versatile left-back had humbly played down his impressive Champions League debut against Tottenham in November by saying that "everything's easier when you've got Lionel Messi by your side", but Barca were growing increasingly confident that they had unearthed Jordi Alba's eventual successor.
2020: Miranda was sent to Schalke on a two-year loan deal, but made just 11 Bundesliga appearances during his first season in Germany, leading to Barca cutting his stay short after 12 months. He was then sent to Real Betis on loan for 2020-21.
2021: The defender did enough in Seville to persuade Betis to make the deal permanent in the summer of 2021.
2022: Miranda was in and out of the Betis team in 2021-22 as he struggled to hold down a place in Manuel Pellegrini's line-up.
2023: The full-back has again struggled to establish himself as a starter at Betis as they chase a top-four finish in La Liga.
#46 Brenner | Sao Paulo
2019: The striker with the €50m release clause was featuring in the NXGN series for the second year in a row, having only enhanced his reputation as one of Brazil's most promising young players.
2020: The 2020 season proved to be a breakout campaign for Brenner, as he scored 22 goals in all competitions for Sao Paulo.
2021: In a shock move, MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati signed Brenner for $13m amid interest from top European clubs. He enjoyed a decent first year in MLS, scoring eight goals.
2022: Brenner took his game to a new level in 2022, netting 18 times while also providing six assists as Cincinnati reached the play-offs for the first time in their history.
2023: Despite continued links with a move to Europe, Brenner remains in the United States, with his presence making Cincinnati one of the favourites to win the 2023 MLS Cup.
#45 Mohamed Ihattaren | PSV
2019: After helping Netherlands win the 2018 European Under-17 Championship by converting a penalty in all three of his country's shootout victories in England, the attacking midfielder had made his Eredivisie debut for PSV the following January and was regarded as one of the Dutch club's brightest prospects.
2020: Ihattaren confirmed his status as one of Europe's best young playmakers after scoring 10 goals and laying on nine assists in all competitions during 2019-20.
2021: The attacking midfielder fell out with PSV coach Roger Schmidt at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, and he played just 22 times in the Eredivisie. Further rifts followed, leading to Ihatteren joining Juventus in a €6m deal before he was loaned to Sampdoria.
2022: Ihattaren never played a game in Serie A, and there were even reports that he would retire after he returned to Netherlands mid-season. He was signed on a year-long loan by Ajax in January 2022, but fitness issues meant that he played just four minutes in the first team before the end of the campaign.
2023: Ajax cut short Ihattaren's loan amid reports he was being targeted by organised crime groups and he was arrested in November 2022. He remains on Juventus' books, but was arrested again in February on suspicion of assault. He has not appeared in a competitive football match in over 10 months.
#44 Ante Palaversa | Manchester City
2019: Palaversa had broken into the Hajduk Split first team, so in order to avoid missing out on a player who was attracting attention from all over Europe, Manchester City signed the Croatian for £7m, and then loaned him back to his hometown club for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
2020: The midfielder was loaned to Oostende for the 2019-20 season, but missed the first three months through injury. When Palaversa did return, he made 19 league appearances for the Belgian outfit, before being loaned to Getafe for the following campaign.
2021: Palaversa played just seven minutes of Liga football and had his stay in Spain cut short in January 2021. He then joined KV Kortrijk on an 18-month loan deal as he returned to Belgium.
2022: For the first time in his career, Palaversa became a regular starter in the top flight. He then joined another City Football Group side, Troyes, on a permanent deal.
2023: Palaversa has barely been involved for the Ligue 1 side, but did score on his Troyes debut against Paris Saint-Germain.
#43 Gabriel Brazao | Parma
2019: After being named in the Brazil squad for the November 2018 internationals against Uruguay and Cameroon alongside Alisson and Ederson, the Cruzeiro academy graduate was snapped up by Parma in January 2019, but with a view to a summer switch to Inter.
2020: Brazao joined Spanish second-division side Albacete on loan for the 2019-20 season, but made just seven appearances for the club. He was then loaned back to Spain to join Real Oviedo.
2021: Again, Brazao was not first choice, playing just three games over the course of the campaign.
2022: A cruciate ligament rupture ruled Brazao out for the whole first half of the European season and, in March, he was sent on an 18-month loan to Cruzeiro. He was sent back just nine months later, though, after suffering another serious knee injury.
2023: Brazao is currently spending the second half of the season on loan at Serie B side SPAL, but is not the first-choice goalkeeper.
#42 Antonio Marin | Dinamo Zagreb
2019: Before signing his first professional contract with Dinamo Zagreb in October 2017, Marin had been courted by clubs such as AC Milan, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
2020: Marin managed 13 league games during the 2019-20 season, scoring his first senior goal in the process. Ahead of the following campaign, he was loaned to AC Monza in Serie B.
2021: After making just seven appearances in Italy, Marin cut his stay at Monza short, and joined Lokomotiva for the remainder of the campaign in January 2021.
2022: Marin spent the 2021-22 season on loan at HNK Sibenik, and he enjoyed an encouraging season, providing a combined 15 goals and assists in the top flight.
2023: The winger struggled to force his way into the Dinamo team upon his return, and was loaned out again, this time to HNK Rijeka, in January 2023.
#41 Leonardo Campana | Barcelona SC
2019: The outstanding player within the most talented crop of youngsters Ecuador has ever produced, Campana had fired his country to a first ever South American Under-20 Championship with a tournament-high six goals, including two in the final against Venezuela.
2020: Wolves moved to sign Campana in January 2020, and eight months later he was loaned to Famalicao in Portugal.
2021: Campana made just 10 appearances for Famalicao, before being loaned out again ahead of the following season, joining Grasshoppers Zurich.
2022: After scoring an own goal on his debut, Campana cut short his stay in Switzerland after six months, and joined Inter Miami on a season-long loan for the 2022 season, where he netted 11 goals.
2023: Campana turned his loan move into a permanent one as Inter Miami agreed to sign him ahead of the 2023 MLS season.
#40 Thiago Almada | Velez Sarsfield
2019: A skilful and tenacious attacking midfielder, Almada had already debuted and scored for Velez Sarsfield, and locked down a starting spot with Argentina's Under-20s.
2020: Almada grew in stature over the course of the 2020 season, scoring 11 goals in all competitions.
2021: Another nine goals followed for the playmaker in 2021, as he continued to be linked with a move to either Europe or MLS.
2022: Atlanta United made Almada the most expensive signing in MLS history, paying $16m in February 2022 to bring him to Georgia, and he rewarded them by producing a Newcomer of the Year-worthy season.
2023: After becoming the first MLS player to lift the World Cup after being a late call-up to the Argentina squad for Qatar 2022, Almada has started the 2023 season in fine form.
#39 Ozan Kabak | Stuttgart
2019: After attracting the attention of numerous European clubs with his stellar showings at the heart of the Galatasaray defence, Kabak was snapped up by Stuttgart during the January 2019 transfer window for €11m. He wasted little time in making an impression in the Bundesliga, netting a double against Hannover just two months later.
2020: Kabak sensationally moved to Schalke after just six months at Stuttgart, as the Gelsenkirchen outfit activated his surprisingly low €15m release clause. He also made his Turkey debut in November 2019.
2021: After 18 months at a struggling Schalke, Kabak was signed on loan by Liverpool in January 2021 to help cover for a glut of defensive injuries, but struggled to perform consistently at Anfield. He would return to the Premier League, however, when Norwich City signed him on a year-long loan ahead of the 2021-22 season.
2022: Kabak only made 11 Premier League appearances as Norwich were relegated before he was sold by Schalke to Hoffenheim for €7m in the summer of 2022.
2023: The centre-back has been an ever-present in the Bundesliga in 2022-23 but there is real potential that Kabak will suffer relegation for the second successive season.
#38 Amine Gouiri | Lyon
2019: The Lyon striker's hopes of turning 2018-19 into his breakout season had been decimated by a cruciate ligament injury. However, he was still considered one of France's most promising players, primarily because of his excellent scoring record for his country at under-age level.
2020: Gouri may have returned to full fitness, but he struggled to force his way into the first-team picture, making just five appearances in 2019-20. At the end of the season, he joined Nice in a €7m deal.
2021: The move did Gouri the world of good, as he scored 16 goals and laid on eight assists in all competitions for Nice.
2022: Gouiri carried that form into his second season with Nice, as he recorded a combined 22 goals and assists. That form convinced Rennes to pay a club-record €28m to sign him in the summer of 2022.
2023: Despite not scoring consistently for his new club, Gouiri has again hit double-figures for goals in all competitions.
#37 Julian Alvarez | River Plate
2019: The Argentina Under-19 international was so highly rated by Marcelo Gallardo that the River Plate boss gave Alvarez his Copa Libertadores debut in the second leg of the 2018 final against Boca Juniors.
2020: Alvarez began working his way into the River Plate line-up, scoring eight goals in all competitions.
2021: The striker exploded during the 2021 season, scoring 25 goals and laying on 17 assists over the course of the campaign, earning Alvarez his Argentina debut in June 2021.
2022: Alvarez's form convinced Manchester City to pay £14m to sign him in January 2022, though he was immediately loaned back to River Plate for the first half of 2022 Argentine season, where he netted 18 goals in 26 games, including six in one Copa Libertadores match.
2023: Despite scored five goals as Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar, Alvarez has largely had to play second-fiddle to Erling Haaland since arriving at the Etihad Stadium.
#36 Sergio Gomez | Borussia Dortmund
2019: Having prised Andres Iniesta's potential replacement away from Barcelona by activating his €3m release clause, Dortmund gave Gomez a little taste of Champions League football against Monaco in December 2018.
2020: Having joined Huesca on loan for the 2019-20 campaign, Gomez played the vast majority of their games as they were promoted to La Liga and the Spanish side extended his loan by a further season, as a result.
2021: The midfielder could not help Huesca avoid relegation back to the Segunda Division. Dortmund then took the decision to sell him, as Anderlecht paid €1.5m to take Gomez to Belgium.
2022: Having been switched to play left-back, Gomez was a revelation, providing seven goals and 15 assists in all competitions. That form convinced Manchester City to pay £11m to sign Gomez in the summer of 2022.
2023: Gomez has struggled for minutes during his first season at the Etihad Stadium, with Pep Guardiola having used centre-backs at left-back over the 22-year-old.
#35 Lincoln | Flamengo
2019: Just like his former Flamengo youth-team strike partner Vinicius Junior, Lincoln had made his debut for the Rio outfit's senior side at just 16 years of age and was being touted as Brazil's answer to Robert Lewandowski.
2020: The striker managed just three goals during the 2020 season for Flamengo as he struggled to hold down a place in the Brazilian side's line-up.
2021: Lincoln joined Vissel Kobe in January 2021, but his first season of Japanese football yielded just a single goal.
2022: The forward forced his way into the starting XI during the early weeks of the J.League season, but soon fell out favour again. He joined Cruzeiro on a short-term loan deal in August 2022, but scored just a solitary Serie B goal in nine appearances back in Brazil.
2023: Lincoln's prospects of making an impact at Vissel Kobe seem slim, and it remains to be seen what direction his career goes in next.
#34 Josh Sargent | Werder Bremen
2019: Sargent was apparently in a rush to make a name for himself at the highest level, having already netted in his first outings for both Werder Bremen and the United States.
2020: The striker scored four goals in 28 league appearances for Werder in 2019-20 as they narrowly avoided relegation from the Bundesliga.
2021: Werder would not be so lucky the following year, as they dropped down to the second tier, with Sargent contributing just five goals to the cause. The USMNT star would not go with them, however, after signing for Norwich City in an £8m deal in August 2021.
2022: Sargent has appeared in the majority of Norwich's Premier League matches, but scored just two goals (both in the same game) as the Canaries were relegated.
2023: The 23-year-old has enjoyed a much better season in the Championship and is already into double-figures for goals in 2022-23.
#33 Erling Haaland | Red Bull Salzburg
2019: After making waves in Norway for Molde, the son of former Premier League midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland had been snapped up by Red Bull Salzburg for just €5m.
2020: Haaland exploded during the 2019-20 season, breaking a number of Champions League records as he netted 29 goals in the first half of the campaign for Salzburg before joining Borussia Dortmund for €20m in January 2020. His goalscoring form continued in Germany, where he netted 16 times in his first 18 games.
2021: The striker confirmed his status as a future Ballon d'Or contender by netting over 40 goals in his first full season at Dortmund, leading to a host of Europe's elite clubs being linked with a move for Haaland.
2022: Despite some injury problems, Haaland still managed 29 goals in 30 games for Dortmund in 2021-22 before Manchester City paid an initial £51m to bring the Norway international to the Etihad Stadium.
2023: Haaland has made mincemeat of defences at City, breaking countless records as he closes in on the most goals in a single Premier League season by any player.
#32 Emile Smith Rowe | Arsenal
2019: Having ignored interest from Barcelona in the summer of 2018 in order to sign a long-term contract with Arsenal, Smith Rowe had broken into the Gunners senior squad, impressing in the Europa League, before being loaned to RB Leipzig until the end of the season.
2020: The attacking midfielder's time in Germany was blighted by injury problems, but he rejuvenated his career on loan at Huddersfield Town in the early months of 2020.
2021: Smith Rowe was one of the Premier League's breakout stars in 2020-21 as part of an exciting forward line at the Emirates Stadium.
2022: An England international after making his debut in November 2021, Smith Rowe added goals to his game over the course of the 2021-22 campaign as he became a key player in the Gunners attack.
2023: Smith Rowe underwent groin surgery in September 2022 and did not make a full return to action until six months later, meaning he finds himself down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium.
#31 Rhian Brewster | Liverpool
2019: Brewster was only just nearing the end of his 15-month injury nightmare, having suffered an ankle sprain and ligament damage during an Under-23 game against Manchester City in January 2018. Before that, he had won the Golden Boot as England triumphed at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.
2020: With opportunities at Anfield limited, Brewster joined Swansea City on loan in January 2020, for whom he scored 11 goals in 22 appearances. That form convinced Sheffield United to pay £23.5m to sign him on a permanent basis in October 2020.
2021: Brewster failed to score as the Blades were relegated from the Premier League, amid suggestions that he was struggling with the weight of his hefty price tag.
2022: The forward showed signs of settling at Bramall Lane in his second season, finally scoring his first goals for the club, though a hamstring injury suffered in January proved to be a season-ender.
2023: Brewster was back in the line up at the start of the 2022-23 campaign, but another hamstring injury has ruled him out of action since November.
- Pro Shots
#30 Ryan Gravenberch | Ajax
2019: Regarded as the most exciting player to come out of Ajax’s renowned academy in years, Gravenberch had already usurped Clarence Seedorf as the youngest player to ever represent the club in the Eredivisie before then becoming the Amsterdam outfit's youngest goalscorer.
2020: Gravenberch continued to impress when given the opportunity at the Johan Cruyff ArenA, though he only made nine Eredivisie appearances.
2021: The midfielder maintained his rapid rate of progress, scoring his first Champions League goal as well as three times in the league. Gravenberch's form earned him a first Netherlands cap in March 2021.
2022: Though he was not always at his best in 2021-22, Bayern Munich made the decision to spend an initial €19m on the midfielder in the summer of 2022.
2023: Gravenberch has struggled to force his way into Julian Nagelsmann's line up in Munich, with his lack of games leading to him being left out of the Netherlands' World Cup squad back in November.
#29 Willem Geubbels | Lyon
2019: Having been signed by Monaco from Lyon for a whopping €20m, the teenager was spending most of his debut season at the Stade Louis II in the treatment room.
2020: Forced to undergo knee surgery in the summer of 2019, Geubbels failed to make an appearance over the course of the campaign that followed.
2021: Geubbels forced himself back into contention after returning to full fitness, and scored his first professional goal early in the 2020-21 season. A broken foot, however, saw him miss over two months of action towards the end of the campaign, and he joined Nantes on loan in the weeks that followed.
2022: The forward managed to stay fit for much of 2021-22, but largely had to make do with a substitute's role at Nantes as he scored just two Ligue 1 goals.
2023: After not appearing for Nantes in the first half of the 2022-23 season, Geubbels joined Swiss side St. Gallen on a free transfer in January.
#28 Lee Kang-in | Valencia
2019: Lee had already lined out in both La Liga and the Copa del Rey for Valencia, and was even on the bench for a Champions League group-stage meeting with Manchester United at Mestalla.
2020: The attacking midfielder went onto win the Golden Ball at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup, but he struggled to make an impact in La Liga, featuring just 17 times in 2019-20, and mostly off the bench.
2021: Lee rejected a series of contract renewal offers from Valencia over the course of the 2020-21 season and was placed on the transfer list at the end of the campaign. In the end, he was released in August, allowing Mallorca to sign him on a free.
2022: After beginning the season as a starter, Lee fell down the pecking order at Mallorca, and ended the campaign with just one league goal and two assists.
2023: Lee has forced his way back into the line up at Mallorca and has been more productive in attack, even if he has not yet hit the levels expected of him a few years ago.
#27 Abel Ruiz | Barcelona
2019: Learning his trade with Barcelona's B team, the 19-year-old was expected to imminently break into the senior squad, not least because of his similarities with star striker Luis Suarez.
2020: Having made just one appearance for the Blaugrana, Ruiz joined Braga on loan in January 2020, before making the move permanent that summer.
2021: Ruiz shone in his first full season in Portugal, scoring 10 goals and laying on six assists, with seven of those goals coming in Braga's run to win the Portuguese Cup.
2022: He did not hit the same heights in 2021-22, as Ruiz struggled to hold down a regular place in the Braga line-up and scored just two league goals in 28 appearances.
2023: Ruiz's form has improved this season, and is approaching double-figure totals for both goals and assists in all competitions.
#26 Jann-Fiete Arp | Hamburg
2019: Bayern Munich had already agreed a deal with Hamburg to sign striker Arp. The only outstanding issue was whether the first player born in the 21st century to score in the Bundesliga would move to the Allianz Arena in the summer of 2019 or the following year.
2020: Having opted for the former, Arp did not make a first-team appearance during his first season at the Allianz Arena, instead playing for the club's reserves in the third tier of German football.
2021: Despite finally making his Bayern debut in the first half of the 2020-21 season, Arp remained part of the reserve-team squad until he was loaned to Holstein Kiel ahead of the following campaign.
2022: Arp played regularly in the German second division, albeit mostly from the bench, and managed just three goals in all competitions. Despite that, Holstein Kiel made the deal to sign Arp permanent in the summer of 2022.
2023: The forward continues to be used predominantly as a substitute, and it seems like the lofty hopes for his career will never be met.
#25 Hamed Junior Traore | Empoli
2019: At just 18, Traore was already a regular for Empoli, and Fiorentina had agreed a deal with their fellow Tuscans to sign the versatile attacking midfielder in the summer of 2019 for €12m.
2020: The move to Fiorentina eventually broke down and Traore instead joined Sassuolo on a two-year loan, the first of which saw him net four times in Serie A.
2021: An ascending player, Traore added another five goals to his personal tally in 2020-21 before Sassuolo paid €16m to sign him permanently.
2022: After a slow start to the season, Traore found form in the early months of 2022, and ended the campaign with seven goals and four assists in Serie A.
2023: Traore's 2022-23 season did not get going until mid-October due to a broken foot, and after an underwhelming couple of months, he was loaned to Bournemouth in January. The Cherries have an obligation to buy the winger for around £26m this summer.
#24 Pietro Pellegri | Monaco
2019: Pellegri was being plagued by injuries but the Italian striker, who had been signed from Genoa for €25m, had still become the first player born in the 2000s to score in Ligue 1, after netting against Bordeaux in August 2018.
2020: Having worked himself back to fitness and into first-team contention at the Stade Louis II, Pellegri made his senior Italy debut in November 2020.
2021: More injury problems hit Pellegri through the second half of the 2020-21 season, at the end of which he was loaned to AC Milan in the hope he could rejuvenate his career back in his homeland.
2022: Having made just six appearances for the Rossoneri, Pellegri's loan deal at Milan was cut short as injuries again took hold. He joined Torino on loan in January 2022, before that move was made permanent six months later.
2023: Pellegri was a bit-part player in the opening months of the season, but a knee injury has kept him out of action since the turn of the year.
#23 Ki-Jana Hoever | Liverpool
2019: In January 2018, Hoever became the youngest ever player to represent Liverpool in the FA Cup, at just 16 years, 11 months and 20 days old, and impressed all and sundry with his composure and class on the ball.
2020: The defender made just three appearances in 2019-20, all in the domestic cups, with opportunities hard to come by at Anfield. That led him to join Wolves for £9m in the summer of 2020.
2021: Hoever made his first 12 Premier League appearances at Molineux, acting predominantly as a back-up for Nelson Semedo.
2022: The ex-Ajax youngster performed a similar role under Bruno Lage, who criticised Hoever for a lack of preparation that led to a mid-season injury. The defender was then loaned to PSV ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
2023: PSV cut Hoever's loan short in January after he made just seven first-team appearances in Eindhoven. He was then loaned to Championship side Stoke City in January 2023.
#22 Benoit Badiashile | Monaco
2019: Badiashile was best known for being taken to task by former Monaco boss Thierry Henry for forgetting to tuck his chair back under the table at the end of a Champions League press conference. However, at the Stade Louis II, the defender was considered one of the best prospects to come out of Monaco's famed academy in years.
2020: The centre-back continued to impress in Ligue 1, earning interest from Manchester United during the summer of 2021.
2021: Badiashile played all-but three league games for Monaco in 2020-21 as they went close to winning the French title under Niko Kovac.
2022: The 20-year-old struggled with hamstring injuries over the course of the 2021-22 campaign, but still performed well whenever available.
2023: Having previously been linked with Manchester United, Badiashile did move to the Premier League in January 2023 when he joined Chelsea in a £35m move.
#21 Dominik Szoboszlai | Red Bull Salzburg
2019: Considered the biggest talent to come out of Hungary in decades, Szoboszlai had already made his first appearance and scored his first goal for Red Bull Salzburg.
2020: Szoboszlai took his game to the next level in 2019-20, hitting double figures for goals and assists in all competitions for the Austrian champions.
2021: The playmaker starred yet again in the first half of 2020-21, leading to interest from Arsenal. RB Leipzig, however, paid €25m to sign him in January 2021, though he missed the rest of the season, and the European Championship, with an adductor injury.
2022: Szoboszlai settled well in his first Bundesliga season, and finished with 14 direct goal contributions in the German top flight.
2023: The playmaker is on course to better that total this season, leading to reports again linking Szoboszlai with a move to a top Premier League club.
#20 Aurelien Tchouameni | Bordeaux
2019: A powerful defensive midfielder of deceptive pace, Tchouameni was being linked with Inter and Bayern Munich thanks to his dominant performances for Bordeaux.
2020: Tchouameni instead joined Monaco, who paid €18m for his services in January 2020, but he made just three league appearances for his new club before Covid-19 shut down the season early.
2021: In his first full campaign at Stade Louis II, Tchouameni was named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, confirming his status as one of the most promising midfield talents in Europe.
2022: Tchouameni continued to impress and despite being tracked by the likes of Chelsea, Juventus and Liverpool, it was Real Madrid who won the race to sign him in the summer of 2022, paying an initial €80m.
2023: Having played a key role for France in their run to the World Cup final, Tchouameni has settled in well at Santiago Bernabeu as Casemiro's replacement in the Blancos' midfield.
#19 Agustin Almendra | Boca Juniors
2019: A regular in the Boca Juniors midfield at the age of 19, Almendra was, as GOAL had revealed in December 2018, of interest to both Barcelona and Valencia.
2020: Almendra fell out of favour over the course of the 2020 season, leaving his future at the club in some doubt.
2021: The midfielder managed to force his way back into contention the following year, making 29 appearances across all competitions.
2022: The hope that Almendra's career was moving in the right direction was misplaced, as he failed to make a league appearance in the 2022 season.
2023: Almendra is set to leave Boca on a free transfer in the summer of 2023, with some reports suggesting he could move to Spain.
#18 Paulinho | Bayer Leverkusen
2019: Having joined Bayer Leverkusen from Vasco da Gama for €18.5m, the versatile winger was playing regularly in the Bundesliga and had opened his goal account in December 2018, in the Europa League.
2020: Paulinho fell out of favour somewhat the following year, starting just one league game over the course of the campaign.
2021: A cruciate ligament rupture suffered in pre-season meant that Paulinho made just one appearance, on the final day of the 2020-21 campaign.
2022: Back fit, Paulinho was in and out of the Leverkusen line-up over the course of the 2021-22 season, scoring four Bundesliga goals in the process.
2023: Paulinho made just seven appearances for Leverkusen in the first half of the current campaign before returning to Brazil as he joined Atletico Mineiro on a six-month loan deal.
#17 Timothy Weah | Paris Saint-Germain
2019: The son of Ballon d'Or winner George Weah had started the 2018-19 campaign by netting his first couple of goals for PSG, but the United States international had been loaned to Celtic for the remainder of the season.
2020: Weah was signed for €10m by Lille in the summer of 2019 but his first season at his new club was ruined by injuries, as he made just three Ligue 1 appearances.
2021: The forward finally got going in 2020-21, with Weah proving an excellent squad player for Christophe Galtier as he guided Lille to the Ligue 1 title.
2022: Weah earned more starts in 2021-22, though to call him a regular in the Lille line-up would have been overstating it somewhat, with his three Ligue 1 goals for the season all coming in the campaign's final two matches.
2023: After scoring the United States' first World Cup goal in eight years, Weah has begun to force his way into the Lille line up, albeit as a makeshift left-back.
#16 Mason Greenwood | Manchester United
Following Greenwood's inclusion on the NXGN 2019 list, he continued to develop, becoming a key figure in the Manchester United forward line and a full England international.
In January 2022, Greenwood was suspended "until further notice" by United, after he was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault.
Though all charges against him were dropped in February 2023, Greenwood's suspension remains, with it unclear when and if he will continue his football career.
#15 Eric Garcia | Manchester City
2019: After impressing Pep Guardiola on Man City's pre-season tour with his maturity and authority in possession, Garcia had been given his first taste of senior football during the 2018-19 campaign.
2020: Garcia made his Premier League debut at the start of the 2019-20 season and worked his way into the first-team picture, only for it to be revealed in the summer of 2020 that he would not be renewing his contract at the club. He made his senior Spain debut a few weeks later.
2021: The defender's imminent exit meant he didn't see much game time in 2020-21, though that did not stop him from playing a key role for Spain at Euro 2020. Ahead of the tournament, it was announced that he would be returning to boyhood club Barcelona on a free transfer.
2022: Garcia was largely a starter in his first season back in Catalunya, with the hope remaining that he could become Gerard Pique's long-term replacement.
2023: The summer signings of Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso have pushed Garcia down the pecking order at Camp Nou in 2022-23.
#14 Ethan Ampadu | Chelsea
2019: The David Luiz-like centre-half was seeing little game time at Chelsea, but was so highly rated at Stamford Bridge that the club had rejected a loan bid from Derby County for the Wales international during the January transfer window.
2020: He eventually joined RB Leipzig on loan for the 2019-20 season, but the versatile defender made only seven appearances before a back injury ended his season in February 2020. He returned to England, joining Sheffield United on loan ahead of the new campaign.
2021: Ampadu enjoyed the best season of his career in terms of appearances, but was unable to help keep the Blades in the Premier League. Another loan move beckoned, as he joined newly-promoted Venezia in Serie A.
2022: A regular starter in 2021-22, Ampadu performed well enough to earn another loan move back to Italy with Spezia despite Venezia's relegation.
2023: Ampadu has played both centre-back and in central midfield this season, but has been an almost ever-present for the second successive season.
#13 Sofiane Diop | Monaco
2019: The skilful attacker had featured regularly during the first half of what was a difficult campaign for Monaco, even starting three times in the Champions League, before being dropped to the bench at the beginning of 2019.
2020: Having dropped down the pecking order at the Stade Louis II, Diop joined Sochaux on loan for the 2019-20 season, playing 15 times in Ligue 2.
2021: Diop returned to Monaco a different player, and was one of their star performers as they challenged for the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21, scoring seven goals from his No.10 position.
2022: The playmaker continued to impress, producing a combined 16 goals and assists in all competitions. That form convinced Nice to pay €22m to sign Diop in August 2022.
2023: Diop has not quite hit the heights of the previous two campaigns in 2022-23, and has not always been able to hold down a regular place in the Nice line up.
#12 Ferran Torres | Valencia
2019: A two-footed winger similar in style to Marco Asensio, Torres had already had a €100m release clause inserted in his Valencia contract to fend off interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona.
2020: After a true breakout season that saw him play 40 times for Valencia, Torres joined Manchester City in a £21m deal in the summer of 2020, before making his Spain debut a couple of months later.
2021: Though far from a regular, Torres managed 13 goals in his first season at City, with Pep Guardiola increasingly using him as a central striker.
2022: Torres became the first signing of the Xavi era at Barcelona, who paid €55m to bring him to Camp Nou, and he managed to score seven goals before the end of the campaign.
2023: The summer signings of Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski moved Torres down the pecking order at Barca, and he has struggled to make much of an impact in 2022-23.
#11 Ryan Sessegnon | Fulham
2019: After hitting 15 goals during Fulham's 2017-18 Championship campaign, the 'new Gareth Bale' was finding defences a little more difficult to breeze through in the Premier League, but had still become the first player born in the 2000s to score in England's top flight.
2020: Having joined Tottenham for £25m in the summer of 2019, Sessegnon made just 12 appearances in his first season at Spurs, and was loaned to Hoffenheim a year later in a bid to revive his career.
2021: Injuries in the second half of the campaign meant that Sessegnon's year in the Bundesliga was not as fulfilling as it might have been, but he did manage to get 23 top-flight appearances under his belt.
2022: After finding himself down the pecking order in north London, Sessegnon was given a new lease of life playing as a wing-back under Antonio Conte.
2023: Ivan Perisic's arrival in the summer of 2022 gave Sessegnon added competition, and having been in and out of the line up, a recent hamstring injury has left him facing a period on the sidelines.
#10 Morgan Gibbs-White | Wolves
2019: Gibbs-White was being tipped to do great things by Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, having already made a positive impression at Molineux by laying on an assist in his first Premier League start, against Chelsea, in December 2018.
2020: Injuries and a lack of form saw the midfielder drop down the pecking order in 2019-20, as he made just 16 appearances in all competitions, and he was loaned to Swansea City ahead of the following campaign.
2021: A fractured foot meant that Gibbs-White made just six appearances for the Swans before returning to Wolves, where he managed to play in a handful of games before the season was out. He joined Sheffield United on loan ahead of the 2021-22 season.
2022: Gibbs-White was a standout performer at Bramall Lane, and reached double-figures for both goals and assists as the Blades reached the play-offs. That form convinced newly-promoted Nottingham Forest to spend an initial £25m to bring him to the City Ground.
2023: The midfielder has begun justifying that price tag in the Premier League, playing a key role as Steve Cooper's side look to avoid relegation back to the Championship.
#9 Moise Kean | Juventus
2019: Having already made his Italy debut, the explosive striker was just starting to catch fire at Juventus, scoring in six consecutive games for club and country.
2020: Having surprisingly joined Everton in a £27m deal ahead of the 2019-20 season, Kean struggled for the Toffees, scoring just two Premier League goals in 29 appearances. In a bid to revive his career, he joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan in October 2020.
2021: Playing for a Champions League-level club suited Kean far better, and he scored 17 goals in all competitions for PSG. He then returned to Juventus in the summer of 2021, agreeing a two-year loan deal that will then become a €28m permanent move.
2022: Kean found goals harder to come by back in Turin, as he netted just six times in all competitions during his first year back at the Bianconeri.
2023: The striker has already surpassed his goal tally from last season in 2022-23, though he remains a rotational piece under Massimiliano Allegri.
#8 Diego Lainez | Real Betis
2019: The diminutive No.10 had not even locked down a regular starting spot at Club America when Real Betis elected to pay €14m for his services in January 2019. 'The Mexican Messi' had made a promising start to his career in Spain, though, by netting in a Europa League clash with Rennes.
2020: Lainez's first full season in Spain yielded just 18 outings, though he did miss the final three months of the campaign due to an abdominal strain.
2021: The forward again found himself on the fringe at Betis, making 25 appearances during the 2020-21 campaign. Scored for Mexico in the final of the Concacaf Nations League, though El Tri were beaten by the United States.
2022: After a knee injury meant he missed the first two months of the season, Lainez fell right down the pecking order and made just 13 appearances in all competitions before being loaned to Braga at the end of the campaign.
2023: Braga cut Lainez's loan short in January 2023 after he made just six league appearances in Portugal, and he was sent on a one-year loan to Tigres in his native Mexico a few weeks later.
#7 Sandro Tonali | Brescia
2019: Tonali had yet to make an appearance in Serie A, but he had already been called up by Italy and was drawing comparisons with Andrea Pirlo on account of his classy displays for Brescia in Serie B.
2020: Following Brescia's promotion, Tonali was able to prove himself in the top flight over the course of the 2019-20 season, as he provided seven assists for a struggling side. He joined AC Milan on loan ahead of the following campaign, as the Rossoneri paid €10m to get the deal over the line.
2021: Tonali was in and out of the Milan team during his first campaign at San Siro, but the Italian giants were still willing to pay another €15m to make his move permanent in the summer of 2021.
2022: A much more permanent fixture in Stefano Pioli's line-up, Tonali's fine form in helping Milan win the Scuedetto also earned him a recall to the Italy squad.
2023: An almost-ever-present in the Milan line up, Tonali has not quite the same heights as last season in 2022-23, but remains one of Serie A's standout central midfielders.
#6 Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich
2019: The Ghana-born Canada international had only just arrived at Bayern Munich, even though his €11.3m transfer from Vancouver Whitecaps had been agreed the summer before. However, the versatile winger had already won over coach Niko Kovac, who described Davies as "a diamond in the rough".
2020: Having previously been a rotational attacker, Davies proved to be a revelation when moved to left-back by Hansi Flick, with his blistering pace and silky skills a key factor in Bayern's treble-winning campaign in 2019-20.
2021: After missing two months of action with a torn ankle ligament, Davies did not quite hit the same heights in 2020-21, though he was still a permanent fixture in the Bayern line-up.
2022: Davies was diagnosed with a heart condition in January 2022 and missed three months of action before being given the all-clear to return.
2023: Despite Canada's disappointing return to the World Cup finals, Davies did score in Qatar. At club level, he has been a consistent starter once again for Bayern.
#5 Rodrygo | Real Madrid
2019: Real Madrid were hoping that history would repeat itself, with the Blancos having returned to Brazil a year after signing Vinicius Junior to snap up his former international team-mate at Under-17 level, Rodrygo, for €40m.
2020: The forward marked his La Liga debut with a goal inside 93 seconds, and scored a perfect hat-trick on his first Champions League start, with his history-making exploits earning him his first Brazil caps and the NXGN 2020 prize.
2021: Rodrygo was mainly a substitute during the 2020-21 and scored just twice in all competitions.
2022: Though still largely a rotational piece in Carlo Ancelotti's squad, the Brazilian put in some key performances in 2021-22, especially in their triumphant Champions League run.
2023: Rodrygo has earned more starts this season as he continues to develop into one of European football's most promising young attackers.
#4 Phil Foden | Manchester City
2019: Described by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as "a diamond", Foden had become a member of one of the strongest squads English football had ever seen, and was starting regularly in cup competitions.
2020: A more consistent contributor in 2019-20, Foden was rewarded for a campaign in which he directly contributed to 17 goals with a first England cap in September 2020.
2021: The PFA and Premier League Young Player of the Year, Foden became a regular starter for Guardiola in 2020-21, scoring 16 goals in all competitions from a variety of positions.
2022: Foden continued to go from strength to strength, and once again was voted PFA and Premier League Young Player of the Year after contributing a combined 25 goals and assists in all competitions.
2023: After a hot start to the season, injuries and a drop in form saw Foden fall out of favour in early 2023, but he has recently been back to his best.
#3 Callum Hudson-Odoi | Chelsea
2019: The Chelsea academy product had the world at his feet, having already received his first England call-up. Bayern Munich had also pressed hard to sign Hudson-Odoi during the January transfer window, but their £35m bid had been rebuffed by the Blues.
2020: Hudson-Odoi ultimately signed a new long-term contract at Stamford Bridge, but struggled for regular game time under Frank Lampard after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.
2021: The winger was again in and out of the Blues team in 2020-21, though did get a run of games playing as a wing-back following Thomas Tuchel's arrival.
2022: Hudson-Odoi remained on the fringes at Stamford Bridge before an Achilles tendon injury ended his season in January 2022. He then joined Bayer Leverkusen on loan in August 2022.
2023: The forward began the season in the Leverkusen line up but has fallen down the pecking order since Xabi Alonso took over as manager.
#2 Vinicius Junior | Real Madrid
2019: The winger's debut season at Santiago Bernabeu had been interrupted by injury, but Vinicius had already shown why Real Madrid had signed him as a 16-year-old from Flamengo. Indeed, he had been so impressive, most notably in a Copa del Rey Clasico at Camp Nou, that he had received his first Brazil call-up.
2020: Though Vinicius frustrated Madrid fans with his wayward finishing, he continued to grow into a regular contributor for Los Blancos.
2021: Vinicius played all-but three of Madrid's league games in 2020-21, signalling the trust that Zinedine Zidane had in the forward despite his poor strike rate.
2022: The Brazil international finally flourished at Santiago Bernabeu, registering double figures for both goals and assists, including the winning goal in the Champions League final victory over Liverpool.
2023: Vinicius is now regarded among the best attacking players in European football, and has shown great strength to thrive while being the subject of constant abuse from opposition supporters.
#1 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund
2019: The prodigiously gifted winger was flying high at Signal Iduna Park and had already been capped by England. It was easy to understand why Lothar Matthaus felt that Dortmund paying Manchester City just £8m for Sancho was "like winning the lottery".
2020: The winger took his game to an even higher level the following campaign, returning 34 direct goal contributions from just 32 Bundesliga appearances as Manchester United tried, and ultimately failed, to sign him that summer.
2021: After a slow start to the 2020-21 season, Sancho was back to his best during the second half of the campaign, and starred as Dortmund won the DFB-Pokal. United finally got their man, too, paying £73m to bring Sancho to Old Trafford.
2022: Sancho's first taste of Premier League football did not hit the heights many expected as he fell out of favour as the season wore on.
2023: After a period out of the team to work on both his mental and physical health, Sancho has shown glimpses of a return to form in 2023 under Erik ten Hag.