Last season was very competitive for talent in La Liga, as we saw several young attacking players compete in their debut seasons for their respective clubs. Individuals such as Antonio Sanabria and Paco Alcacer were the standout names from 2015/16 who will be expected to make an even bigger impact during the forthcoming campaign.
It’s time to take a closer look at four other young players who are expected to make an impact during the 2016/17 campaign.
Mikel Oyarzabal – Real Sociedad
After being promoted to the first team last summer by David Moyes, Mikel Oyarzabal has been a bright spark, despite the fact the overall team performance left a lot to be desired. The 19-year-old’s hard work was rewarded with a call-up to the national squad by Vicente del Bosque and he played 30 minutes against Switzerland in a friendly match.
The key test for the winger will be to see if he can replicate his performances from last season, especially when the competition for a place in the starting line-up will increase this year. Oyarzabal slowly became a favourite for manager, Eusebio Sacristan, who picked him for the first team on 16 occasions during the second half of the campaign.
He has the natural ability that could see him develop into one of the best wingers in the league, and if he continues to command a place in the starting line-up, then he has the right foundations in place to allow him to reach his full potential.
Dani Ceballos – Real Betis
Despite only being 19 years old, he made 34 league appearances for Real Betis last season.
Dani Ceballos has turned into a key presence at the heart of midfield, with his ability to defend and attack, giving Gus Poyet the perfect balance for his first team selection. Despite playing in a number of different positions, either wide left or central midfield appear to be his best positions, which has meant that he has drawn comparisons to established La Liga stars Isco and Koke.
If he continues to be an influential player for Real Betis next season, then this will only firm up the reported interest from the likes of Real Madrid, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Marco Asensio – Real Madrid
After the success of last season’s loan at Espanyol, Zinedine Zidane will surely give Marco Asensio a chance to prove himself this season. This could possibly begin during the summer, with the manager including him in the squad for the pre-season. The 20-year-old scored ten goals and provided 4 assists during his time at Espanyol and was recognised as the club’s player of the year last season.
That said it would perhaps be more beneficial for Asensio to be loaned out again next season, considering the wealth of talent that Zidane already has at his disposal. Playing regularly for a mid-table side would do more for his development than being stuck on the Real Madrid bench.
He can be used effectively either as a left winger or central attacking midfielder and represented Espanyol’s key attacking threat last season.
Asensio’s ability to keep possession in tight areas and dribble past players easily, as well as being a playmaker with an eye for a pass, make him very much one to keep an eye on and a potential star for Real Madrid in the years to come.
Jose Naranjo – Celta Vigo
After finishing as Gimnastic de Tarragona’s top goal-scorer last season, on 15 goals, Jose Naranjo earned himself a move to Celta Vigo in June. Before his transfer to La Liga, Newcastle and Aston Villa were also interested in him. The 21-year-old played a big role leading the side to a third place finish in the league, which gained them promotion to the Spanish second tier.
Having secured a move to the top flight of Spanish football Naranjo has the dedication, passion and most importantly talent to make an instant impact. With Celta Vigo’s key player, Nolito, having been sold to Manchester City this summer, it could mean the striker could be called into action straight away.
Naranjo is a goal poacher, similar to Paco Alcacer, who had a fantastic season on a personal level. When he does get his chance in the Celta Vigo first team, don’t be surprised if Naranjo grasps this opportunity with both hands and makes a name for himself in La Liga.
About the author – Asif Norat
Asif is a Manchester United fan, who simply loves the beautiful game. The youngster is a big admirer of the Premier League and La Liga, and also has an eye out for many young talents coming into the footballing world.