Football’s hottest prospects for 2016

The shining new talents lightng up football on the quiet... for now.

Arsenal prospect Gedion Zelalem, on loan at Rangers
Gedion with it Arsenal's Gedion Zelalem, touted as the new Fabregas. Image Picture Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC

Arsenal fans, get set to chant “There’s only one Gedion Zelalem.” Will Chelsea fans soon be cheering Charlie Colkett? Can a Premier League club find a bargain in Conor Chaplin? Welcome to the hottest prospects in football. You’ll know all about these talents soon enough…


1

Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal)

Playing his football on loan at Rangers this season, the midfielder rated as the new Cesc Fabregas made a couple of Champions League sub appearances before joining Rangers for regular first-team experience. Still only 18, he’s a USA under-23 international and has lit up Scottish football with thoughtful displays. Whispers suggest Arsene Wenger may be ready to give him a chance in the Arsenal first team once his Glasgow loan finishes at the end of the season.

2

Charlie Colkett (Chelsea)

Chelsea prospect Charlie Colkett
Charlie boy Charlie Colkett tries to avoid becoming the 458th Chelsea player sent out on loan. Image Picture Julian Finney/Getty Images

The captain of Chelsea’s successful youth team, Colkett is more thoughtful than the average blood-and-thunder British midfielder. His range of passing has been compared to Glenn Hoddle, and he appears startlingly mature for an 18-year-old. Even though Chelsea are infamously slow at allowing youth talent to progress, it can’t be long before he’s given a real chance at Stamford Bridge.

3

Jermaine Anderson (Peterborough)

Peterborough prospect Jermaine Anderson in action for England Under-18
Jermaine man Jermaine Anderson has already shone for England's Under-18 side. Image Picture Clint Hughes/Getty Images

The reserved Anderson has been slowly rising through the ranks at high-flying League One contenders Peterborough. With a host of Championship clubs and Premiership clubs keeping tabs on him, he could soon be emulating other Football League youngsters like Dele Alli by progressing into the England team.

4

Reece Oxford (West Ham)

West Ham prospect Reece Oxford
Oxford united Reece Oxford, who's already outclassed Arsenal's midfield this season.

With West Ham desperately short of options at holding midfielder at the start of the season, Slaven Billic threw the 16-year-old Oxford into the first team where he excelled against Arsenal. Oxford has been held back since to keep prying eyes from further richer clubs at bay. But it can’t be long before we see his potential again.

5

Lewis Cook (Leeds)

Leeds United prospect Lewis Cook
Celebrity Cook Lewis Cook, who sadly may be the latest Leeds prospect sold by a fruitloop, Image Picture Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

The exciting midfielder, whose ability has been compared to Paul Gascoigne, is one of many young Leeds players that boss Steve Evans is building the side around. The prospect of nutjob owner Massimo Cellino deciding to sell Cook has Leeds fans very nervous. 

 

6

Cameron McGeehan (Luton)

Luton Town midfielder Cameron McGeehan in action against Oxford
Top Hatter Cameron McGeehan listens out for England Under-21 squad announcements.

One of few bright spots in a disappointing Luton season, McGeehan is the League Two side’s top scorer with nine goals. Not bad for a 20-year-old midfielder still competing for a regular starting spot. His tackling needs work, but McGeehan is fast developing into an old-fashioned Patrick Vieira-style box-to-box marauder.

 

7
Conor Chaplin (Portsmouth)

Portsmouth prospect Conor Chaplin
Chaplin in his Pomp Conor Chaplin points the way to promotion for Portsmouth. Image Picture Pete Norton/Getty Images

Portsmouth captain Michael Doyle sang the praises of his young team mate. He’ll be hoping that Pompey can hold to their young talent in their march for promotion from League Two. 

 

8

Jordan Graham (Wolves)

Wolves prospect Jordan Graham celebrates a goal
Golden Graham Jordan Graham celebrates finding the escape tunnel from Villa Park. Image Picture Sam Bagnall/AMA/Getty Images

Most of the attention at Wolves has been around free-scoring Benik Afobe. But exciting winger Graham has recently begun flourishing at Molineux despite the Wanderers’ stuttering Championship form. He’s one of many decent prospects released by Aston Villa which, given their form, asks some serious questions about their youth policy. Not that Wolves fans are complaining about their best potential midfielder since Matt Jarvis.

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Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran

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