As the end of February draws near and the business end of the season begins across European leagues and continental competitions, clubs are looking to not only finish the campaign strongly but to make sure they have their strategies in place for next season; not least with respect to bringing in new players to boost their squads.
While the rumour mill has been working overtime, with the most intense speculation being saved for the likes of Jadon Sancho, Timo Werner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Paul Pogba, and Neymar, there are a few players across the continent who have been quietly excellent this season and perhaps require a step up. Here are five under-the-radar wingers who deserve big moves this summer.
First on the list is Burnley and England U-21 international Dwight McNeil. Born in Rochdale, McNeil actually started his career in the Manchester United youth set-up before moving to Burnley in 2014.
Ever since his breakout campaign last year, the 20-year-old has shown precisely why Sean Dyche, who is not known for giving youngsters much of a chance, has shown so much faith in him.
Often playing as the left winger in Dyche's trademark 4-4-2, McNeil shows a willingness to get to the byline and swing in dangerous crosses to the big men up front. He possesses a wand of a left foot and an ability to consistently pick out his targets, or at the very least, put the ball into dangerous areas. His direct running and control of the ball would make him a valuable asset to any team willing to take a chance on him this summer.
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Born in Marseille in 1997, Jeremie Boga, like many others before him, joined the Chelsea youth academy in 2015 but failed to make the grade in London, making just one appearance for the senior side among 3 separate loan spells before making a permanent move to Sassuolo in July 2018.
At that point, many assumed Boga was simply another player who had shown great promise at a young age but failed to live up to expectations. Fast-forward to today, however and there is the very real possibility that he could be heading back to Stamford Bridge.
In Italy, Boga has drawn plaudits for his skill on the ball. Indeed, he averages 5 completed dribbles a game at a 64% success rate, which is nothing to be scoffed at. This kind of ability in possession of the ball is exactly what Chelsea have lacked this season, with the departure of Eden Hazard.
For good measure, Boga has also scored 7 goals and provided 2 assists this season. Even if his destination this summer is not west London, expect him to light up the park, wherever he is.
Fans of Spanish football will be familiar with the name Ferran Torres, who has lit up the Estadio Mestalla with his dazzling displays for his hometown club. Born and bred in Valencia, it may seem difficult to imagine the teenager in anything but a Valencia shirt, but if his performances continue to be as good as they are, there is every chance he could move on as early as July.
The winger holds the club record for the youngest player to make 50 appearances for Los Che, at the age of 19 years and 324 days, when he represented the club against Real Betis in November 2019. That itself is a great indicator of his ability, given that this is the club that produced the likes of David Silva, Juan Mata and Santiago Canizares among other fantastic talents.
As a genuine right-winger, Torres is one of the few Spanish players who is a natural out wide, a trait that could even see him make the Spain squad for Euro 2020.
It is interesting to note that his game is geared towards quality, which many attacking players seem to neglect in favour of quantity. For example, he has taken only 27 shots and provided just 18 key passes, but the quality of these chances is usually high, as he averages an expected goal value of 0.16 per chance created, either for himself or his teammates.
Torres would fit quite nicely into a system that plays on the counter-attack, where he will have the space required to make things happen and carve out big chances.