The shortlist for Tuttosport's annual award for the best under-21 player in Europe is out. Shopping list! (Although most of these guys are already on big teams.)
In fact, Chelsea are joint leaders with Barcelona and Manchester United as far as most nominations go. Of Chelsea's trio, two are currently out on loan: Nathan Ake (20) at Watford and Mario Pasalic (20) at Monaco. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (19) is the third and while all three are quite talented, neither of them are likely to win it when faced with competition such as Manchester United's Anthony Martial or FC Porto's Ruben Neves.
Last year, Raheem Sterling won this award (Kurt Zouma was a nominee) while the year before it went to Paul Pogba (with Romelu Lukaku finishing second; Omeruo also nominated). Thibaut Courtois and Milan Lalkovic (!?) were both nominated for the 2012 award, but lost out to Isco. Other previous winners include Gotze, Balotelli, Pato, Aguero, Fabregas, Messi*, Rooney, and Van der Vaart. In fact, other than 2008's winner, Anderson (who beat out the likes of Mata, Di Maria, Walcott, Busquets), every single Golden Boy has turned out to be the real deal.
Who will it be this year?
* It would appear that while a player can be nominated multiple times, he's only allowed to win it once.