Class of 2023-24 as Espanyol Academy takes shape

Espanyol face Sampdoria in the quarter finals of the youth cup tomorrow, however its the next generation of youth which has the manager excited rather than the current crop.

“We’ve assembled a decent side this time around but if we dig deeper into our squad we’ve some really exciting prospects yet to taste action in the youth team and we are excited to have them”

Aaron Hickey 20 (signed in december but due to join soon) – Hickey is a well known name and we dug deep to capture him as we see him as our long term RB solution. On the back of his capture we sanctioned the Sale of Mario, given our confidence in how far he can go. Despite his young age his career has seen him swap Scotland for Italy, and Italy for the premier league and Brentford. Sadly this season he has had a few injuries, however with time very much on his side he will prove to be a crucial capture for us.

Yan Phillipe 18 – relatively unknown and picked up from Atletico Mineiro unchallenged, the exciting central midfielder is highly rated in his homeland. His first professional contract has an incredible £56 million release clause given how much his team rate his chances. Manchester City have already tried twice to grab the youngster whose stock is rising after an impressive Copinha which has seen him create 2 goals and also score two from his 5 games. Very much one for the long term and with age very much on his side is a welcome addition to Espanyol.

Fares Chaibi 20 – Picked up from under tge radar from Leicester as part of the Caicedo sale, Chaibi is a player having a massive impact in his debut season in france. The young Algerian already had 5 goals to his name and a number of assist for Toulouse. His stock is rising by the day with a number of Europes Elite looking to capture him. Yet to fearure for our current youth team, he is likely to be breaking through next season.

Eliesse Ben Seghir 17 – Of all our captures this season this is the one we are most excited by. He is joining from Valencia as part of the Locatelli deal, but the one player which swung it for us. His explosive arrival to first team football at Monaco has seen him grab 3 goals already, and is being courted as one of the very best to have come through their youth set up. At 17 to already have minutes and goals to his name within the top division in france, is testament to how they feel about him. I’m sure the interest to try and steal him from us will mount over the next 12 months, but he is one we wont be in a hurry to part with.

Kaide Gordon 18- It seems a long time since Gordon burst on the scene at Liverpool following his big money capture from Derby. He had injury problems this season but is close to a return. We paid heavily to secure him from Sunderland at the beginning of the season as he has bags of potential and we are confident he will prove to be a bargain long term.

Brandon Soppy 20. The Atalanta fullback agreed to join Espanyol at the beginning of January from Partizan, and although still raw and in and out of the Atalanta side. He is a great prospect to have for our youth team next season. His 84 rating will boost our numbers, but gives us another long term full back option.

Mohamed El Arouch 18 – Its not every day you get to bring a top youth player back, but El Arouch who we previously sacrificed in a deal with Chelsea is returning as part of another deal. Yet to start for Lyon, but has long been courted as the very best their Academy has produced, he certainly ticks the boxes as a possible break out player. He has some way to go before he can be considered a starter for our youth team, but at only 18 is a prospect worth having in the background to monitor progression IRL for when he gets that all important chance at Lyon.

Gustav Christensen 18 – A player we gambled on moving external to bring back, we are delighted to still have him on our books. A player who has already tasted European football, but has been breaking record after record in the youth set ups in Denmark from an attacking left position. He has already hit 20 goals in 15 games this season for his parent clubs youth team. Liverpool are one of a few clubs who are monitoring him having sent scouts to watch him quite a bit in recent times. Although not rated high enough to be part of our youth team yet, we fully expect some progression on his rating over the next couple of years.

Nicolo Turco 19 – Is not far off from the Juventus first team set up, after some eye-catching performances for the under 23s. Alteady capped at Various age groups for Italy his progression to the fore is likely to come sooner rather than later on his current path.

Franca Wesley 19 – The Brazilan right back is set to join Barcelona in real life in the summer after their failed attempts in January. Already broken into the Flamengo first team he is another young full back Espanyol moved to capture with long long term planning the thought process.

Quilindschy Hartman 21- Very much the first choice left back at dutch leaders Feyenoord, he is seen as one likely to rise through the ratings quicker than others and become a potential option in next seasons youth cup. Captured earlier this season in the Mkhitaryan sale, he is one the manager is thrilled to pulled off again very much under the radar.

Julian Fernandez 19 – The Argentinian wonder kid was captured before this season started however due to him being transfer banned until 2023, only joined in January. Already a break out star for Velez , and a regular for both them and the Argentina under 20s, he is seen as one who will be in the heart of the youth team picture next season. Espanyol have already knocked back bids for him from other clubs and was an expensive signing at the time having given a 90 rated Traore to Sunderland to capture him. Its going to take a big offer for Espanyol to even consider parting with, with him expected to become a big player for the next 6 or so youth cups

Artem Karpukas 20 – Another player captured external who continues to remain under the radar. He has made a number of list for the top 10 wonderkid midfielders to watch in 2023. Already a regurlar for Loco Moscow, and got his first taste if youth cup action last time out against Milan coming off the bench and scoring. He is seen as possible Gem who wont stay off the radar much longer.

Arouna Sangante 20 – is part of one of the tightest defences in france at Le Havre. The big clubs are circling for the Senegalese player who has already amasses 1890 first team minutes this season. Centre backs are so hard to find, and in Sangante we believe with his age and first team experience we already have a star in the making for in the first instance the youth cup, but long term the first team.

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