By 90Min
May 23, 2019

The Primera División in Argentina is a hotbed for young footballing talents. It won't be long before we see the next flurry of youngsters move to Europe and hit stardom. 

In 2010, over 2,000 players - mostly in their teens - left Argentina to go abroad. Despite this exodus, the South American game remains competitive.

Players such as centre-back Nehuén Pérez, who moved to Atlético Madrid from Argentinos Juniors last July, as well as midfielder Santiago Cáseres of Villarreal, VFB Stuttgart's Nicolás González and Marcelo Saracchi of RB Leipzig all left their homeland.

But there is plenty more potential should Europe's heavyweights come calling. Here are six to keep an eye on.

Exequiel Palacios (20, CM, River Plate)

Image by Sam May

There is no doubt any number of European clubs will be running the rule over River Plate's academy graduate Exequiel Palacios this summer. His precise passing, technique with both feet and shooting makes him a complete player in the middle of River's midfield.  

He originally started out as an attacking midfielder, before moving further back to his preferred central midfield role. A regular in the Argentina national youth ranks, he was fast-tracked to the first-team by manager Lionel Scaloni, making his debut in a 3-0 victory over Guatemala in September 2018.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have been credited with an interest in the youngster, and with all the hype in his homeland, he will be expected to make the move to Europe, sooner rather than later. Most recently, he has been linked with a move to Arsenal as a replacement for Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey in an £18million deal.

Thiago Almada (17, AM, Vélez Sarsfield)

Image by Sam May

Dubbed the 'new Messi', Almada is no doubt a fine prospect amongst the Vélez Sarsfield ranks. He has netted on three occasions and contributed to two assists in the Primera División this season. Only 18, he has had a big impact for club and country and is destined for greater heights.

A regular in the Argentina U20 set-up, Pep Guardiola is a keen admirer of the youngster, having sent scouts to watch him on a number of occasions during last season. Manchester City are keen to tie up a £20m deal for his services, with Barcelona also said to be waiting in the wings.

Julián Carranza (18, FW, Banfield)

Image by Sam May

Carranza is a player who has been targeted by Ajax, Manchester United and both Atletico and Real Madrid teams in the past. The forward's debut came against Defensa y Justicia back in 2017, and he later scored a brace in the defeat to Argentinos Juniors in December of that year. He later went on to make three appearances in the Copa Libertadores.

Skilful and with an eye for goal, he isn't your old-fashioned no.9 as he is very dynamic and pacy. His hold up play is something to look out for, as is his running behind the centre backs and full backs. He is expected to leave Banfield and could soon be on his way to one of the European giants. 

Matías Zaracho (21, AM, Racing)

Marcelo Endelli/GettyImages

Lazio are said to be monitoring the progress of La Academia‘s forward Zaracho ahead of a summer swoop, with the player believed to have an €18m release clause in his current contract. Following the departure of Lautaro Martínez to Inter last summer, he is the next prodigy to emerge from Racing's academy.

This season Zaracho has been a star player under Chacho Coudet, and most noticeably impressed in the 4-0 victory over Vasco de Game in the Copa Libertadores.

He has quickly become a fan favourite amongst the Racing pack, and Sporting Lisbon along with Lazio are the favourites for the youngster's signature. 

Agustin Almendra (19, AM, Boca Juniors)

Marcelo Endelli/GettyImages

The Boca Juniors Academy has produced some fine talent over the years with Carlos Tevez, Fernando Gago, Éver Banega and Nicolás Gaitán all making a name for themselves on the international scene. Almendra is the next young talent to emerge from the famous production line.

Captain of the Argentina U20s he is a tall attacking midfielder with a devilish shot from range who can either play on the right or left of a midfield three. He has been likened to club legend club legend Juan Román Riquelme.

Manchester City, Juventus and Inter are all keen on the youngster's services, and with an €18m release clause, he is seen by many to be a bargain buy.

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