Football is about actuality and that will never change; players do their best to become important ones wherever they go and not everybody has the same fate. Climbing to the top is easy for most footballers if you then see how difficult has been for others to maintain relevance in their teams and on the peak of their levels for several years, so it’s not a shock when you see one-season wonders seeing like the next ruler of football.
Nevertheless, in recent years we’ve seen players that with hard work and consistency have improved their level considerably, being considered a pleasant surprise both for their teams and fans. This season these cases have increased in a great way, so we took the task of listing 10 players who really exploded this season, even though they were forgotten in their former teams or considered a fluke at the beginning of this term.
Honorable Mention: Duvan Zapata
10. Sebastien Haller
Eintracht Frankfurt has won the lottery with some of the players they have within their ranks at this point; they count with Ante Rebic, Luka Jovic and this guy, Sebastien Heller, among others. Heller has made a very good duo with Serbian Luka Jovic, taking Frankfurt to sit fourth on the Bundesliga leaderboard and with huge chances to play European competitions next season.
Heller is very physical, knows how to use both feet and moves well inside and outside the rival’s area. Sebastien has scored 19 goals in 34 matches and has assisted in 9 goals for his teammates. Comparisons are always hateful, but this striker can be considered a modern-day Nicolas Anelka seeing his physics and the way he plays.
9. Krzysztof Piatek
This Polish striker is certainly a surprise for everyone. No one can say they heard about Krzysztof Piatek before the beginning of this season and after seeing how good he played for Genoa. Well, this is a guy who played in the Polish second division years before getting to play in one of the biggest teams in Italy.
Piatek landed in Genoa as a complete stranger and made his way to the top thanks to his goals. He scored 19 goals in 18 games for Genoa during the first semester of the season before Milan signed him, securing one of the most prominent strikers in European football right now. With the Rossoneri, he has kept his good shape, scoring 8 goals in 11 matches. This one is a threat and we can’t wait to see what he’s capable of doing in the future.
8. Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha’s 2018/19 season has been great; he’s been in everybody’s mouth thanks to his performances with Crystal Palace and the great association he’s created with Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Zaha’s last two seasons were good, he was expected to become a good player in English football but this term he has taken things to a different level.
He has scored, has assisted but that’s not the biggest matter for his popularity right now inside and outside England. The Ivorian took the reins of this team and hasn’t stopped delivering good performances ever since that; his speed, technique, and agility make him a total threat and a big objective for many clubs in Europe and the season he’s having only served to confirm that.
7. Paco Alcacer
Following a successful tenure in Celta de Vigo, Paco Alcacer was bought by Spanish giants, Barcelona, which saw Alcacer as a good competition for Luis Suarez; unfortunately, Paco didn’t count with as many chances as he would want to count at Camp Nou and saw how his opportunities in the first team decreased until he wasn’t a piece of interest for Barcelona.
Alcacer landed on loan in Germany to play for Borussia Dortmund and when everybody was thinking that would be another false step in his career, the Spaniard demonstrated he still has it and his career is anything but finished at this point. With Borussia, Alcacer has inscribed his name as one of the best scorers in Bundesliga, scoring 16 goals in 21 matches, including a couple that helped Dortmund to continue as the leader of the league.
6. Dusan Tadic
Albeit Tadic is not as young as the other players in this list – even Alcacer is 5 years older than him, he made it to this top thanks to the great performances he’s having with Ajax this term. Maybe his 30 years don’t sound as amusing as the youth of others, but you can say he’s past his prime and is playing like he’s entering it.
Tadic has become the leader and the captain of the Dutch side, scoring goals, assisting, taking the ball through the field and distributing it like a champion. Going to Ajax was the best decision of his career after several years with not so much success with Southampton and Groningen, among others. The Serbian player is having the best moment of his life and even if you’re a neutral fan, you enjoy watching this guy play.
5. Lucas Moura
The Brazilian midfielder was one of the best prospects in his country when he was a youngster, playing in a great level, even overshadowing a guy named Neymar when both players were in the U20 Brazilian national squad. Mora landed in PSG following outstanding performances with Sao Paulo and unlike everybody thought, Moura couldn’t succeed in Paris since the French never seemed to know how to use him properly.
Luckily for Lucas, he signed with English side Tottenham about 15 months ago and that was the best decision for him. He already showed touches of his old version last season and this one Moura has made sure to confirm that, playing at a great level in North London, scoring goals, assisting and creating chances of goals for teammates. This was a bet more than anything, but taking this risk has paid off for Moura and his team.
4. Nicolas Pepe
It’s hard to believe that anybody outside scouts and Lille fans were aware of the good conditions of this guy, as Nicolas Pepe has been a pleasant surprise for everybody this season, especially his team, LOSC Lille. People expected Pepe to become an important player in its ranks and he showed some pieces of his quality last season.
This one, however, Nicolas has taken both his game and his team to the next stage, being the maximum responsible for the team’s great season in Ligue 1. The French-born Ivorian player has proved he is a prone scorer, even though he plays more as a winger. This campaign he has participated in 27 goals for Lille in 30 league games, scoring 18 and assisting for 9 other scores.
Everton has had a very questionable transfer policy in recent years, as most of their signings turned to be not so good for the team or managers didn’t know how to get the best of those players. Happily, for them, they finally signed a player that enhances their level in Brazilian striker Richarlison.
The 21-year-old striker was in high hopes to be good in Watford, but his days there were full of ups and downs, creating doubts about Richarlison. Everton showed up and decided to sign the forward and that was a great decision; albeit the Toffees are not competing for something serious right now, one of the highest points of their season is Richarlison and his 12 goals in 30 matches in England.
He is a reliable striker, he knows how to finishes plays even when things are in his favor. Back in 2014, the Brazilian national team was lacking a striker and now, added to the likes of Roberto Firminho’s and Gabriel Jesus, they found another gem in Richarlison.
2. Jadon Sancho
It’s fair to say that Sancho was seen as a big promise a couple of seasons ago when he first landed in Dortmund, but that didn’t seem to be true at the beginning of his tenure at Westfalenstadion; still, Sancho is very young and has proved a big maturity this season that has taken him to be one of the most important players of his team alongside Marco Reus and the aforementioned Paco Alcacer.
His dribbling skills, his capacity to drive the offense and his velocity, among other things, is what makes him one of the most promising youngsters in World football right now; the English player has managed to score nine goals in 40 matches this season with the German side, stating he’s now a reality and not just a promise; it’s not a fluke that several teams will try to steal the youngster from BVB.
1. Luka Jovic
Talent doesn’t know about age and Serbian striker Luka Jovic is proof of that. At only 21, Jovic has been fantastic for his current team, Eintracht Frankfurt -on loan from Benfica- and his good moment has helped him to be observed by some of the best teams in Europe, becoming one of the most desired players this upcoming summer.
Jovic has shown his scoring capacity in Germany, racking up 23 goals in 36 matches with Eintracht. Teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich have been reported to be potential bidders for the Serbian player, who has everything to be successful in next years to come. This guy is a killer, make things look easy when he’s about to score and knows how to use his feet to control the ball. Luka Jovic is the future of strikers.