Six newcomers to world football's top table  

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Lots of the usual suspects are in the running – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka – but there are a few newer names that some fans may still want to familiarise themselves with.

Without wanting to give too much away with regards to who finished where and whatnot, we at Talentspotter Towers have picked out six new entrants to the Top 100 who may not quite be household names yet – but that we think could well be in the coming months and years.
Dmytro Chygrynskiy
Club: Barcelona
Age: 22
Nationality: Ukrainian
Position: Centre back

It’s safe to say that not too many people expected Barcelona to go out and spend £22 million on a defender of limited experience at Champions League level – but the Ukraine captain is very highly regarded both in his homeland and in Catalunia.

The 22-year-old was at Shakhtar Donetsk from 2005 to this summer, when he made his dream move to the Nou Camp. He was a key part of the Shakhtar side that went on to lift the last ever UEFA Cup last season - seeing off the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Werder Bremen along the way.

Chygrynskiy is a cultured, composed and physically commanding centre half. He is also a very intelligent player, with good reading of the game and promising leadership qualities (he first captained Shakhtar at the age of just 20). He has superb physical and technical qualities and potential to become even better.

Zvjezdan Misimovic
Club: Wolfsburg
Age: 27
Nationality: Bosnian
Position: Midfielder

Misimovic caused United problems at Old Trafford last month

While strike duo Grafite and Edin Dzeko picked up all the plaudits and headlines – there’s more to Wolfsburg than just a deadly front line. Acting as a playmaker, providing the much-lauded duo with a lot of their ammo, Zvjezdan Misimovic was as integral to his sides’ surprise Bundesliga success as his Bosnian compatriot and his Brazilian striker partner. The 18 assists he chipped in with over the course of the league campaign were testament to his input.

What he lacks in pace he makes up for with his expert vision and eye for the perfect pass, and Manchester United certainly found him a nuisance in their Champions League encounter at Old Trafford last month. His aim for this season should be to continue his rise of the previous 12 months, and then he may well find himself in demand from the continent’s elite group of clubs.
Lucho Gonzalez
Club: Marseille
Age: 28
Nationality: Argentine
Position: Midfielder

Arguably the best player in the Portuguese League in the 2008/09, Gonzalez made the somewhat surprising move to Marseille in the summer of 2009, having previously been linked with Liverpool and a host of clubs in Italy and Spain.

Nicknamed ‘El Comandante’ due the way he celebrates his goals, saluting the fans as if he was the commander of a ship. However, he dislikes the nickname and explained he only celebrates goal like that as a joke to his son Tomas: he pretends he is searching him in the middle of the crowd.

Nevertheless, the Argentine midfielder is the player every coach dreams of: he can defend, attack, has perfect positioning and plays for the team.

At 28, he may not have time on his side, but Gonzalez will surely still have aspirations of playing in one of Europe’s more established leagues in the not too distant future.

Jesus Navas
Club: Sevilla
Age: 24
Nationality: Spanish
Position: Winger

Navas was a regular in the Sevilla first team by his late teens, impressing with his close control and electric pace. He played a focal part in the years of unprecedented success Sevilla enjoyed under manager Juande Ramos, including back-to-back UEFA Cup wins in 2006 and 2007.

The winger is known for his severe bouts of homesickness, which have affected his trips to training camps and games abroad, and therefore hampered his international career thus far. He initially refused to take part in the club’s 2007 pre-season tour of the United States, citing personal problems with anxiety and stress. Although he did eventually agree to travel in a bid to confront his problems, it is still an issue that could damage his hopes of being a real success at the top level.

Marouane Chamakh
Club: Bordeaux
Age: 25
Nationality: Moroccan
Position: StrikerThere was probably more rumour and speculation surrounding Chamakh’s future than any other player in world football over the summer, but the Morocco forward remained at Bordeaux, despite being linked with the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, West Ham, Blackburn and Sunderland.

Chamakh plays just off the shoulder of the last man in the opposition defence – always ready to pounce on any openings, and he will generally punish the opposition if given a sight of goal. In the past he has played with a big centre forward alongside him, but his recent success has come playing as the lone striker in Bordeaux’s attack.

The Moroccan also provides a massive aerial threat. He combines his excellent heading ability with great jumping, strength and agility – which would stand him in good stead should he ever make that move to the Premier League.

Andre-Pierre Gignac
Club: Toulouse
Age: 23
Nationality: French
Position: Striker
Gignac probably isn’t the highest profile player in the current French set-up, but he proved he is well worth his place with two expertly taken goals in Les Bleus 5-0 win over the Faroe Islands on Saturday.

The striker combines power with grace and, despite built like a brick ‘outhouse’ and strong as an ox, is also good in the air and possesses some nifty footwork. In scoring 24 goals for Toulouse in last term, he became the club’s highest scoring player within a single season.

He may still have some work to do to improve his all round game (his left foot and positional play could do with some improvement), and at the moment he may tend to try and cover more of the pitch than he perhaps needs to, not unlike Wane Rooney, but he certainly has all the tools to become one of Europe’s most deadly strikers – which is quite possibly why the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal are said to be watching him closely.


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