Young players are the bedrock of any good side as it allows clubs to build a team around them. Similarly, they also allow for smooth succession in the squad, especially when they are capable enough to de-throne ageing players in a particular area on the pitch.
Fans will always have a special spot in their hearts for the legends of their club but there is always a time to move on from them. Hence, succession is important and some youngsters have managed to make the transition of replacing their club legends seamless.
On that note, let's take a look at 5 players who have replaced their club legends with ease.
#5 Kim Min-jae (Kalidou Koulibaly)
Kim Min-jae, after just a few short weeks at Napoli, has already shown why the Italian side decided to sign him from Fenerbahce this summer.
The Serie A side lost Kalidou Koulibaly in July after Chelsea signed the defender, who only had a year left on his contract. To put things into context, the Senegalese defender made 317 appearances for Napoli during his eight seasons at the club.
During this period, he displayed immense leadership, not to mention exemplary work in the defense.
While his leadership skills are yet to be replaced, his defensive contributions have not been missed. Kim Min-jae has been sensational for Napoli so far, through his key interceptions and ability to pass the ball out from the back.
With the defender turning 26 later this year, Napoli have replaced Koulibaly with an able individual whose potential could be higher than the current Chelsea centre-back.
#4 Alejandro Balde (Jordi Alba)
Alejandro Balde has really come to the fore at Barcelona this season and his rise has surprised critics and pundits alike.
The 18-year-old joined Barcelona's youth set-up as a kid before being promoted to the senior set-up by Xavi this summer. However, he has been bedded into the first-team smoothly, as he has made the left-back spot his own.
Jordi Alba has occupied that role for the last 10 years and has managed 94 assists and 25 goals in 434 appearances. This includes the four appearances he has made this season, but he has only racked up 216 minutes of action.
Balde, on the other hand, has already featured five times and has managed three assists during this period. His ball-carrying abilities and capability to produce wicked crosses has been hugely appreciated by the Nou Camp faithful.
Hence, it seems as though Xavi has found a long-term heir to Alba, who, like many aging players at Barcelona, has seen his game-time shortened this season.
#3 Harvey Elliott (Jordan Henderson)
Harvey Elliott is quickly becoming one of Jurgen Klopp's go-to men at Liverpool this season.
The England ace produced encouraging performances at the end of last season itself but an injury saw his progress hamper over the course of the campaign. To put his injury into context, Elliott missed 30 games last season due to his dislocated ankle.
However, things have been slightly different this season, with the player starting each of his club's nine games so far. During this period, he has only scored once but his performances indicate his true progress.
While Liverpool have struggled early-on this season, Elliott is one of the few stars that has excelled on the right hand side of the midfield.
Although Jordan Henderson normally occupies that spot, injuries and an aging body are making it hard for him to perform to the best of his abilities for 90 minutes. While he is still an able captain and a fantastic leader, his technical qualities are fading.
Hence, it is no surprise that Elliott has played the number of games that he has, given the amount of energy he can produce consistently. Although the defensive side of his game could use some work, it might not be long before the young Englishman completely phases out Henderson from the first-team squad.
While there is bound to be some co-existence for a couple more years, Elliott has certainly taken on the mantle from Henderson this season.
#2 Aurelien Tchouameni (Casemiro)
Real Madrid have a knack for convincing the best players in the market to join them and Aurelien Tchouameni was certainly that player this summer.
Los Blancos needed reinforcements in the center of the pitch, due to which they brought in the French international from AS Monaco this summer. While the plan would have been for him to be an understudy to Casemiro, the Brazilian joined Manchester United late last month.
Hence, Tchouameni's arrival bodes well for the 14-time European champions. The new player had a challenging debut in pre-season against Barcelona but has bounced back at the start of the season. He has played in eight out of the club's nine games this season, with Real Madrid winning each fixture so far.
During this process, Tchouameni has looked comfortable, regardless of the two midfielders playing alongside him. He has provided immense protection to the backline while also excelling at playing the ball out of pressure situations.
Carlo Ancelotti is a fantastic man-manager and he has certainly instilled a lot of confidence in Tchouameni so far. While it might take some time for the Frenchman to replicate Casemiro's success at the club, he has ensured that Real Madrid have not felt the Brazilian's absence so far.
#1 Erling Haaland (Sergio Aguero)
Erling Haaland is already breaking records in the Premier League and Pep Guardiola would certainly be delighted by this.
Manchester City were reportedly after Harry Kane's signature last summer after Sergio Aguero departed at the end of the 2020-21 campaign. While the Citizens missed out on replacing their talisman last season, they have certainly done the same this summer by bringing in the most sought-after striker in Europe in Haaland.
While the Norwegian centre-forward has huge boots to fill, he has already proven to be the real part by scoring 14 goals in his first 10 games for the club. Aguero played for 10 long years at the Etihad and scored 260 goals in 390 appearances for City.
While there are no guarantees that Haaland will stay at the club just as long, he is looking more than an able replacement for Aguero already. Only time will tell whether he can replicate the Argentina player's trophy cabinet.