Man United’s own Zidane and their FA Youth Cup final hero, a City kid compared to Neymar and a starlet who plays the Arsenal way… eight youngsters out to impress for the Big Six in pre-season tours
- Premier League clubs are ramping up their efforts ahead of the new campaign
- The so-called Big Six have got busy pre-season schedules to get up to speed
- Sportsmail assesses eight youngsters who will be aiming to impress on tours
The Premier League’s return is less than a month away with teams ramping up their preparations so that they can hit the ground running at the start of August.
The summer transfer window is in full swing as sides look to bolster their ranks to improve on the 2021-22 campaign, but there’s also a host of academy youth products looking to make their mark this summer.
Here, Sportsmail assesses eight youngsters from the Big Six who will be aiming to impress during their respective pre-season tours as they eye a first-team breakthrough in the new season.
Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United)
While United struggle to bring in new signings, the 18-year-old Argentine is one player fans can be excited about.
The teenager has already earned a senior international call-up, training alongside seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, and made his first-team debut towards the end of last season.
Garnacho scored a brace in United’s FA Youth Cup final triumph and followed the paths of Marcus Rashford and Paul Scholes in picking up United’s young player of the year award.
The winger made the move from Atletico Madrid for £420,000 two years ago, favouring United over Borussia Dortmund.
Garnacho idolised Cristiano Ronaldo and with the Portugal star angling for a move away, plus the abysmal 2021-22 season, there’s a chance for someone to lift the spirits of supporters and become a fan favourite.
Erik ten Hag’s proven track record of unlocking burgeoning talent bodes well, too.
Manchester United supporters can get excited about 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho
Mikel Arteta’s rebuild at the Emirates is ongoing but the Gunners have made waves in the transfer market, with the likes of £45million arrival Gabriel Jesus from champions Manchester City.
However, the manager still has a focus on bringing through the next generation following the emergence of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
Patino, 18, could be the next big thing to come through the Gunners’ academy and he immediately won over fans by netting on his senior debut in the Carabao Cup back in December, sending supporters both in the ground and watching at home wild.
Arsenal won the battle for the starlet’s signature in 2015, fending off interest from Chelsea, Spurs and City, and that piece of business could be key to re-establishing themselves at Europe’s top table by qualifying for the Champions League.
Patino, who earned his maiden first-team start in the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest in January, has pure natural talent and as Saka and Smith Rowe have shown, there is an opportunity to shine under Arteta.
Charlie Patino is already an Arsenal fan favourite and could play more of a role in new season
Harvey Vale (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s 2021-22 academy player of the year was in blistering form at the start of the campaign in Premier League 2 and eventually impressed enough to be included in a number of Thomas Tuchel’s Champions League squads in their run to the semi-finals.
It’s exciting times at Stamford Bridge with new owner Todd Boehly looking to make a mark following the Roman Abramovich era.
The Blues have been linked to a plethora of fresh faces this summer, including the likes of Ronaldo, but there could be room for youngsters to break through.
Reece James and Mason Mount have become integral first-team stars after progressing through the youth ranks, which will motivate Vale and others.
The 18-year-old has similar attributes to midfielder Mount and has already made a handful of appearances in domestic cup action for Tuchel’s side.
Chelsea midfielder Harvey Vale will be looking to impress during the Blues’ US tour
Thomas Hill (Liverpool)
Liverpool have finished their summer business following the arrivals of Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsey, with Jurgen Klopp happy with the squad armed to challenge for major honours.
The Reds have been long-term admirers of Borussia Dortmund and England star Jude Bellingham but Klopp revealed they won’t pursue him this summer as he’s not available.
There have been suggestions that the Reds need midfield reinforcements to compete with the strength in depth at champions City but Klopp is more than satisfied with his options.
No more signings will be music to the ears of those pushing for a breakthrough into the first team and midfielder Thomas Hill is one who will be keen to make an impression in the coming weeks.
He has been on Liverpool’s books since under six level and could finally get the moment he’s been waiting for.
Midfielder Thomas Hill (left) has been on Liverpool’s books since under six level
Kayky (Manchester City)
City snapped up Brazilian starlet Kayky from Fluminense for around £8.5million in April 2021.
The 19-year-old has been compared to Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and was also monitored by Liverpool, Shakhtar Donetsk and a number of leading Spanish clubs.
Kayky, who has represented Brazil under 16s, could not ask for a better forward to learn from than £51m man Erling Haaland.
The teenager was handed his Premier League debut as a substitute against Norwich last season – a month after turning out for Pep Guardiola’s first team in the FA Cup.
With all the stars at the Etihad, Kayky must be deserving of his place in the champions’ pre-season plans.
Man City snapped up Brazilian starlet Kayky from Fluminense for around £8.5m in April 2021
Harvey White (Tottenham)
The 20-year-old is yet to make his Premier League debut for Spurs but the 2022-23 season could be his moment to shine.
The left-footed midfielder has had to bide his time but he’s out in South Korea as Antonio Conte puts his side through their paces.
He’s already scored at the glitzy Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, netting a penalty in the first test event at the £1billion ground and he’s played for Spurs in both the Europa League and FA Cup.
White has both attacking and defensive midfield qualities and displays confidence on the ball.
This summer could be a pivotal moment in his career.
Tottenham midfielder Harvey White is on the club’s pre-season tour in South Korea
Zidane Iqbal (Manchester United)
The pressure is already on Zidane Iqbal given his name, but the faith United have in him has been shown by tying him down to a long-term deal.
The 19-year-old put pen to paper on a contract until 2025 in June, six months after making his senior debut in the Champions League against Young Boys.
He was born in Manchester and plays international football for Iraq – his mother’s birth country. He joined United at the age of nine and has the option to extend his deal for further year.
Iqbal only signed his first professional contract last year and had a solid season for the club’s under 23s last season – making 16 starts and scoring two goals.
His emergence comes at a time when United’s youth talents are highly regarded and when fresh energy and new ideas are needed.
Zidane Iqbal, 19, has only recently put pen to paper on a new long-term deal at Man United
Tino Anjorin (Chelsea)
Anjorin has gained valuable experience on loan at Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Premier League and in the Championship with Huddersfield Town.
His performances last season attracted Southampton but the Blues kept hold of the 20-year-old despite interest in the winter window.
Anjorin actually made his professional debut for Chelsea in a League Cup clash in September 2019, but has only gone on to make one league appearance.
The Blues, who are notorious for offloading players surplus to requirements without much hesitation, have included the creative midfielder for their US tour.
It appears to be a vote of confidence and with plenty of change at Stamford Bridge, Anjorin could force his way into Tuchel’s plans.
Chelsea youngster Tino Anjorin gained valuable experience out on loan last season
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