The 10 Under-21 players with the most goals & assists in 2021-22

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Vinicius Jr of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring v Valencia. Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on January 8, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

While the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo continue to impress, several emerging starlets are starting to give the established old guard a run for their money. 

Arsenal, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are just three of the clubs that have given opportunities to young players and reaped the rewards.

Using data from transfermarkt, we’ve looked at the 10 players currently aged 21 or under who’ve registered the most combined goals and assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season. 

Note: where players are tied on goals and assists, we’ve listed them in order of their best minutes per goal contribution. 

10. Bukayo Saka

After his penalty heartache with England in the Euro 2020 final, Saka has bounced back this season and just edges out Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher.

The 20-year-old has already netted six Premier League goals this season, as many as he scored in the last two combined.

He’s also provided four assists for his Arsenal team-mates and is averaging a direct goal contribution every 158 league minutes.

9. Jonathan Burkardt

A Mainz academy graduate, Burkardt made his first-team debut in September 2018 and scored just three goals in all competitions in his first three seasons.

But he has taken his game up another level in 2021-22, registering seven goals and three assists in 20 Bundesliga appearances.

The Germany Under-21 captain now looks to be edging closer and closer to earning a call-up to Hansi Flick’s senior side.

8. Emile Smith Rowe

The second Arsenal player to appear on this list, Smith Rowe has managed to add regular end product to his game in 2021-22.

Only Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Jamie Vardy have scored more Premier League goals than the midfielder, who has eight in 19 appearances this season.

He also set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal against Tottenham and Thomas Partey’s goal against Villa.

7. Giacomo Raspadori

After scoring just six goals for Sassuolo in 2020-21, Raspadori was a surprise inclusion in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad for Euro 2020.

He made just one substitute appearance against Wales at the tournament but is now starting to show why he’s so highly rated by Mancini.

The 21-year-old striker has seven goals and four assists in 23 Serie A appearances this season and is clearly not lacking confidence.

“I am a mix of Gianluca Vialli and Mancini,” he recently said of himself and his style of play. “I am similar to Sergio Aguero, but the striker I loved most is Samuel Eto’o.”

6. Hugo Ekitike

Ekitike spent the second half of 2020-21 on loan at Danish side Vejle Boldklub and is now enjoying a brilliant breakthrough season with boyhood club Reims.

The 19-year-old has scored eight league goals so far this season, more than any other teenager in Europe’s top five leagues.

He also got an assist in a 3-3 draw with Montpellier and set up both of Reims’ goals in their 2-0 win over Saint-Etienne.

“It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a player with a style such as his,” former France midfielder Johan Micoud said recently. “The way he moves and the way he runs reminds me of a great player, David Trezeguet.”

The striker has been linked with moves to Chelsea and Newcastle United but Reims are reportedly demanding a package totalling €40million.

READ: Hugo Ekitike is ready for a Chelsea move – just look at this ice-cool finish

5. Florian Wirtz

The youngest player on this list, Wirtz made his Bayer Leverkusen debut just after his 17th birthday in May 2020 and hasn’t looked back since. 

He’s registered five goals and nine assists in the Bundesliga in 2021-22 and his impressive performances saw him make his senior Germany debut earlier this season.

“Florian is just a huge asset for this team through his carefreeness,’ Flick told reporters in September 2021. “He’s simply an outstanding technician, loves to play, very creative, has a good shot, runs hard and is quick.

“He’s got everything and is the complete package.”

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona have all been credited with a strong interest in the 18-year-old. 

4. Amine Gouiri

While PSG are the runaway leaders in Ligue 1, Nice are their closest challengers this season and Gouiri is a big part of the reason why.

The 21-year-old, who came through Lyon’s academy, is often compared with Karim Benzema and has also managed to impress PSG’s Kylian Mbappe.

“I watch nearly all the Ligue 1 matches… I am following OGC Nice particularly closely,” Mbappe told L’Equipe in 2021. “Gouiri is really not bad at all!”

Having registered 10 goals and seven assists in Ligue 1 this season, the striker will have gone up further in Mbappe’s estimation.

3. Vinicius Junior

After scoring just eight La Liga goals in his first three seasons at Real Madrid, Vinicius has improved his end product and is now starting to fulfil the potential that he possesses.

The Brazil international has helped fire Carlo Ancelotti’s side to the top of La Liga with 12 goals in 21 league appearances this season.

He’s also registered six assists in La Liga in 2021-22, including two in their win over Atletico Madrid in December 2021.

READ: Vinicius’ derby delight cements his status as Real Madrid’s golden boy

2. Dusan Vlahovic

Vlahovic is currently regarded as one of the hottest prospects in European football and it’s not hard to see why. 

The Fiorentina striker has already scored 17 league goals this season, more than any other Under-21 player in Europe’s top five leagues.

If that wasn’t enough, he’s also set up four goals for his team-mates to take his oerall tally to 21 goal contributions.

1. Erling Haaland

Despite being linked with Real Madrid and Manchester City, Haaland hasn’t let the rumours about his future damage his Borussia Dortmund form.

The Norway international kicked off the 2021-22 season with two goals and three assists in Dortmxund’s 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

He’s since taken his tally to 16 goals and six assists in 14 Bundesliga games and is averaging a direct goal contribution every 52 minutes.

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