Kobbie Mainoo

Beier money and the new Mo Salah: Five young stars who could light up Euro 2024

Euro 2024 is now less than a month away, and nations are gearing up for the continent's second-largest international tournament, with squad announcements beginning to emerge.

From June 14, fans can expect to see football heavyweights like Jude Bellingham, Kylian Mbappe, and Florian Wirtz showcasing their spectacular talents.

However, the tournament also provides a platform for lesser-known players to make their mark.

Euros guide teaser

Here, we spotlight some of the emerging young talents who could shine at Euro 2024 - including some who could earn big-money transfers as a result.

Maximilian Beier

  • Club: Hoffenheim
  • Nation: Germany
Maximilian Beier's xTV

Beier has enjoyed a brilliant season in the Bundesliga. The striker was in red-hot form for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, scoring a career-best 16 goals in 33 appearances.

His impressive performances also earned him a call-up to the German national team in March 2024 for friendly matches​, though it’s not clear whether the 21-year-old will earn a place in the starting lineup this summer as a result.

The towering forward is contracted with his current club until June 2027, but his time there could end early if he is able to further enhance his growing reputation Euro 2024, with plenty of elite sides looking for a suitable No.9 to come into the fold next season

Arthur Vermeeren

  • Club: Atletico Madrid
  • Nation: Belgium
Arthur Vermeeren

Vermeeren began his youth career at Lierse SK before moving to KV Mechelen and later to Royal Antwerp, where he made his professional debut.

He quickly rose to prominence, becoming a key player for Antwerp and earning the title of "Young Professional Footballer of the Year" in the Belgian Pro League for the 2022-23 season​.

Vermeeren continued that upward trajectory during the first half of the 2023-24 season, earning a move to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid during the January window on a long-term contract.

The talented midfielder has struggled for minutes in La Liga and it would be no surprise to see him loaned out next season to gain further experience at the top level - despite Atletico’s protestations to the contrary so far.

Internationally, Vermeeren has represented Belgium at various youth levels and made his senior debut last year.

The teenager has earned several caps for the Belgian national team​ already as the national side look to begin their transition from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel.

Bradley Barcola

  • Club: PSG
  • Nation: France
Bradley Barcola

Barcola is a talented French footballer who currently plays as a winger for Paris Saint-Germain, being billed as their Kylian Mbappe replacement.

No pressure then!

The youngster began his career at a young age with AS Buers-Villeurbanne before moving to the youth academy of Lyon in 2010, and it has been a meteoric rise ever since.

Barcola gained prominence during the 2022-2023 season, where he scored seven goals and provided 11 assists in 31 appearances, an achievement which granted him entry on the shortlist for Ligue 1's Young Player of the Season​.

Last summer, he transferred to PSG, signing a five-year contract.

Internationally, Barcola has represented France at various youth levels, including the U21 team. Last week, the 21-year-old received his first call-up to the France national team for Euro 2024.

It may be hard to earn a starting place in the line-up for Les Bleus, but he could easily further his reputation as an impact addition off the bench.

Johan Bakayoko

  • Club: PSV
  • Nation: Belgium
Johan Bakayoko

Bakayoko started his youth career at various Belgian clubs, including OH Leuven, Club Brugge, KV Mechelen, and Anderlecht, before moving to PSV Eindhoven's youth academy in 2019.

He made his debut for PSV's senior team in 2021 and has since become a key player. The attacker, known for his dribbling skills, pace, and a strong left foot, has just finished another excellent season in the Eredivisie, with 12 goals and nine assists in 33 league matches.

He has played 10 times for the Belgium senior side since debuting in March 2023, scoring one goal in that time.

The 21-year-old has been extensively linked with Liverpool in recent weeks, as the club searches for its eventual Mohamed Salah replacement.

Kobbie Mainoo

  • Club: Manchester United
  • Nation: England
Kobbie Mainoo in action for England
Kobbie Mainoo in action for England

Kobbie Mainoo is a hugely promising young player who really stole the hearts of Manchester United fans during what has been a disappointing season overall for the club, dragging them kicking and screaming to an unlikely FA Cup final win over Manchester City.

He joined United’s academy at the age of nine and has now earned a regular starting spot in the Red Devils’ starting XI, acting as their most reliable No.6 throughout Erik ten Hag’s second season in charge

His impressive performances caught the attention of Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, who granted him an England senior team debut against Brazil in March 2024 - an appearance which made him one of the youngest players to achieve this feat.

Mainoo has previously represented England at various youth levels, including the U17s, U18s, and U19s, but there is hope that he earns regular minutes for the senior side in the upcoming tournament, having been called up to the provisional 25-man squad by Southgate.

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