Gareth Bale was little more than a youngster with a bit of potential to shine when he joined the senior team of Southampton in 2006. During his first season there, he became known as a “free kick specialist”. Upon his transfer to the Spurs, he showed his true value, becoming a more attacking player. Tottenham paid £7 million to have him – six seasons and a few accolades later, he joined Real Madrid in a transfer worth €100.8 million (around £90 million today). The world of football produces such rising stars quite often – here are some of them who deserve keeping an eye on today.
While it’s not the biggest, football is one of the most-played sports in Ireland, producing talent that is often absorbed by the Premier League. One of the best examples would be Robbie Keane, who made a lasting impression during his time with the Spurs. The other is Troy Parrott, the Irish wunderkind who could become one of the biggest footballers of the coming years.
While he is still to make his debut in a league game, he already played in an EFL Cup match against Colchester United, and he will reportedly be part of the Spurs’ UEFA Champions League squad.
Rodrygo may be the next Brazilian success story in football. Born in São Paulo, he joined Santos in 2011, at the age of 10, then went pro with the same club in 2017. He spent just two seasons with the club, playing in 41 league games as a forward and being named the best newcomer in the Campeonato Paulista, before being spotted by the talent scouts of Real Madrid. This was followed by action by the Spanish side: Real signed the emerging Brazilian talent in a transfer reportedly worth €45 million (£40 million).
Finally, let us mention another Tottenham hopeful: Davinson Sanchez, one of the pillars of the Spurs’ defence. The Colombian centre-back made his professional debut at Atlético Nacional after graduating América de Cali’s youth academy. Three years and 26 league games later he was spotted by the Dutch from Ajax – he joined the ranks of the Amsterdam-based team in a transfer worth €5 million (around £4.5 million) in 2016. In 2017, he was named the best player of the season there – but at the end of the season, he left for the Spurs in a transfer reportedly worth £42 million.
According to analysts, he might just become one of the best defenders the Spurs – and the entire world – has ever seen. Apparently, on average, the Spurs concede half as many goals when he’s in the field than when he’s not.