We’ve limited our search to the top ten leagues of Europe, so we’re acknowledging Belgium and Portugal but we will have no truck with Lithuania and Latvia. Here are the 12 players who are 23 or under with at least eight league goals this season…
Oleksiy Khoblenko (Chornomorets, Ukraine, 23, eight goals)
If you thought Harry Kane was doing all the work for Tottenham, spare a thought for Khoblenko, who has scored eight of his team’s 15 goals this season. And he still can’t get a call-up by Ukraine. He could well be bound for Poland if recent rumours are to be believed…
Ukrainian striker Oleksiy Khoblenko seems to be on his way to Lech Poznań on a loan deal. https://t.co/QooycveayK
— Christopher Lash (@rightbankwarsaw) January 4, 2018
Evgeni Markov (Tosno, Russia, 23, eight goals)
Newly promoted Tosno have only scored 18 goals this season; Markov has eight of those goals. That he is only behind Quincy Promes, Fedor Smolov and Aleksandr Kokorin in the Russian scoring charts is extraordinary. If he were doing this in England, he would have an international cap by now.
Hassane Bande (Mechelen, Burkino Faso, 19, eight goals)
Less than four months after his debut for a middling Belgian club after signing in the summer on a pittance, Bande’s eight goals and sizzling performances from the wing had earned him a biggish-money move to Ajax next summer. And there was talk that Arsenal and Manchester United were also interested. That he has not scored since early November might well be worrying Ajax right now.
#Ajax already assembling their squad for 2018/19 with two transfers to be completed next summer:
Hassane Bandé 🇧🇫 (19) – €9m
Perr Schuurs 🇳🇱 (18) – Undisc. pic.twitter.com/bTr6sUlT17
— ™ (@Tacticomotion_) December 7, 2017
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig, Germany, 21, eight goals)
Fifth on this list last season behind the now-too-old Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Mauro Icardi and the now-lost-it Andrea Belotti, Werner has done that rarest of things for a young player – been consistent. His 21 Bundesliga goals from last season have become eight in this campaign. And he has scored seven in ten for Germany too.
A Timo Werner (21) penalty brings up his 8th goal of the Bundesliga season.
He's converted 89% of his career penalties to date:
✅ 8 converted
❌ 1 missed
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) December 9, 2017
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City, Brazil, 20, eight goals)
No goals since mid-October to spark talk of the Brazilian being over-rated; a long-term knee injury means he can prove nobody wrong any time soon.
Michael Gregoritsch (Augsburg, Austria, 23, eight goals)
Already at his sixth German club, this summer’s £5m signing may have found a home at Augsburg, who have paired him with Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason (11 goals) and are reaping the rewards. This is already his most productive Bundesliga season yet.
Alfred Finnbogason and Michael Gregoritsch have scored sombined 15 goals and assisted 5 in 13 games for @FCA_World this season.
Dream duo. 🇮🇸🇦🇹 pic.twitter.com/zgjd1yko7n
— ™ (@Tacticomotion_) December 9, 2017
Memphis Depay (Lyon, Netherlands, 23, eight goals)
He started so bloody well at Lyon that there were even suggestions that he should be targeted by Manchester United in January. But the man himself has bigger ambitions: “I think I’m going to Real Madrid. Yes, that’s a serious goal.” After eight goalless games in all competitions he should perhaps beware of getting a tad ahead of himself.
Kylian Mbappe (PSG, France, 19, eight goals)
He is rather good, you know. The best teenager in world football right now, to be precise. Added to those right Ligue Un goals are another five in other competitions. Does that make him worth £166m? We’re not sure anything does, but we give him a B+ for this season so far.
Henry Onyekuru (Anderlecht, Nigeria, 20, nine goals)
See below. Roll on next season, Everton fans. What is utterly ridiculous is that rather a lot of his nine league goals have been scored from wing-back.
Henry Onyekuru is on loan from Everton and he's literally what Everton need lmfao pic.twitter.com/U4iPYGCIYe
— Ahmed Bdair (@BdairAhmed) December 7, 2017
Maxi Gomez (Celta Vigo, Uruguay, 21, nine goals)
Having paid just £3.6m for the Uruguayan this summer, you can hardly blame Celta Vigo for agreeing to pretty much quintuple that money by shifting him straight to China after an astonishing start to his La Liga career. The good news for almost everybody is that the move broke down. He is nails.
Maxi Gómez (21) is the only player to score against both Barcelona and Real Madrid this season. Announcing himself in style.
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) January 7, 2018
Raphinha (Vit. Guimarães, Brazil, 20, 10 goals)
The smart money is of course on him joining Sporting this month; he is the top scorer outside of Portugal’s Big Three, and the top scorer outside of Portugal’s Big Three rarely remains outside Portugal’s Big Three for long.
#OFFICIAL: Raphinha will play his last game for Guimaraes today, as he will sign for @Sporting_CP for a fee around 7M€. The deal might include a loan from a Sporting player, such as Figueiredo, who is not part of the plans for Jorge Jesus. pic.twitter.com/UTDgyvlV2r
— Osac Odaviuqra (@Osac_Odaviuqra) January 7, 2018
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, England, 23, 14 goals)
We had to wait an awful long time for an Englishman and then….boom. He has already surpassed all his own season records – and we are only just into January. Well done, Pep. Well done, Raheem.