9. Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig
Position: Center back
A former teammate of Ousmane Dembele when they played in a local Under-13 side, Upamecano made a brave call to join Red Bull Salzburg from Valenciennes despite the interest of Manchester United back in 2015. The center back was loaned out to Austrian second division side FC Liefering but soon earned his stripes in the top flight. After half a season, he was rewarded with a January transfer to Bundesliga upstart RB Leipzig.
He has been used as a squad player this season, but with Champions League guaranteed next term, he can expect more game time–and a higher profile. He was nominated for the Bundesliga Rookie of the Month award for March. For his country, Upamecano has worked his way through the French youth teams, from U-16s to U-19s. Now that his club level is higher, reaching the Under-21s should be achievable next season.
What they're saying:
“Dayot is one of the greatest talents in his age class. He brings so many strengths that we can have faith in him.”
- Ralf Rangnick, Leipzig sporting director