These are the teams to watch outside the top five leagues in Europe.
Whether you are looking for your next Football Manager save or curious to see where the next stars are going to emerge from, this article might pique your interest.
Every season there is a thirst to discover the youngest and most innovative teams in Europe.
The following clubs have a plethora of stars in their starting eleven who could go onto achieve bigger and better things. All under the age of 23.
Consequently they are sure to have some of the biggest scouts from Europe’s top five leagues regularly attending their fixtures.
Without further ado, here are the top five youngest and most exciting clubs to watch outside of Europe’s top five leagues.
Competitions: Eredvisie and Europa League
Average age of squad: 24
Best stars: Donyell Mallen, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Ihattaren
The Dutch Eredvisie is always a hotbed for developing young stars. The current PSV team looks like a perfect example.
Newly appointed Roger Schmidt inherited a hugely exciting squad. And Schmidt bought astutely in the summer too in order to bolster his options even further.
The transfer of Ibrahim Sangare was a huge steal, especially with Premier League opposition also interested in the 22 year old Ivorian.
The holding-midfielder impressed in Ligue 1 last season and he is expected to pick up where he left off in Eindhoven.
Additions such as Adrian Fein from Bayern Munich, who did well on loan at Hamburg last season, were smart too.
The 21 year old German U21 international could form a superb double pivot with Sangare.
Meanwhile, in attack PSV have a mouth watering trio.
21 year old Cody Gakpo has started this season in incredible form scoring 6 goals in 7 games.
Alongside him Donyell Malen has netted 5 goals in 7 games and is regarded as one of the best young forwards of his generation. The 21 year old looks to have fully recovered from his knee surgery last year and his pace has been causing havoc in the Eredvisie once again.
18 year old Noni Madueke has been a regular feature for the club this season too. He has already scored twice and has registered three assists in seven games. The Englishman is another one to watch. He is full of tricks and pace and relishes one on one scenarios.
Others stars to watch are 18 year old Mohamed Ihattaren, 21 year old Michal Sadilek and 21 year old Mauro Junior.
Red Bull Salzburg
Competitions: Austrian Bundesliga and Champions League
Average Age of squad: 23.6
Biggest stars: Dominik Szoboszlai, Patson Daka and Sekou Koita
Jesse Marsch’s Salzburg were hugely admirable in their inaugural season in the Champions League. It saw the emergence of stars like Hwang, Minamino and Haaland who have now all moved on.
However, Salzburg have promoted from within and have replaced them astutely.
In Haaland’s place came Patson Daka who is one of the most prolific forwards in Europe at the moment. The Zambian international has everything, pace, power and energy. 11 goals in 8 games is an impressive return so far this season.
Hwang was replaced by Sekou Koita. Voted Salzburg’s player of month, the 21 year old Malian has five goals and four assists in nine games this season.
20 year old, Dominik Szoboszlai replaced Minamino and he has quickly become the linchpin of the side. Since the return of football in Austria following the coronavirus outbreak Szoboszlai has scored 11 goals and registered 18 assists in just 20 games for Salzburg.
Other stars worth keeping an eye on are 18 year old Karim Adiyemi, 18 year old Luka Susic, 22 year old Enock Mwepu and 22 year old Jerome Onguene.
Salzburg’s latest stars will be tested to the maximum in the first half of this season. They will be playing against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
Marsch’s explosive attacking football won a lot of hearts last season. The American will be looking to lead his fearless young guns to more success this time around.
They’ve already scored 34 goals in just 8 matches this campaign, so they’re well placed to replicate the heights of last season.
Competitions: Danish Superligaen
Average of squad: 21.5
Best stars: Kamaldeen Sulemana, Isaac Atanga and Tochi Chukwuani.
When FC Nordsjaelland were bought by the American funded Right to Dream Academy it was expected that a few young Africans would get the chance to move to Europe.
The assertions were correct; Nordsjaelland became essentially the first team of Right to Dream.
The team play in the Right to Dream Park and they probably have the youngest average age of any squad in Europe.
Players like 18 year old winger Kamaldeen Sulemana is a joy to watch. Abu Francis is likewise a huge talent, as is Mohammed Diomande at the centre of the park.
It’s hard to find a team littered with so many teenage talent all playing regularly.
The club are floating in mid-table at the moment. However, they have enjoyed major success in the transfer market. The club’s graduate Mohammed Kudus moved onto Ajax where he has already excelled and that will provide a clear pathway for others.
The Danish side are one to watch, and their model to follow is undoubtedly the above mentioned Red Bull Salzburg.
The next goal is to make their mark in Europe.
Competitions: Ekstraklasa and Europa League
Average age of squad: 24.5
Best stars: Filip Marchwinski, Jakub Kaminski and Jakub Moder
Lech Poznan are most renowned for their fans’ iconic Poznan celebration made famous during the club’s brilliant 2010-2011 Europa League campaign.
The Polish outfit drew twice against Juventus and beat Manchester City to help them advance into the knock-out round.
A decade on, Lech Poznan has developed one of the youngest and most exciting teams in Europe.
This summer, European clubs took notice, Derby bought Kamil Jozwiak, Brighton signed Jakub Moder and Augsburg snapped up Robert Gummy.
But Lech Poznan still have a hugely exciting squad.
Jakub Moder will be at the club on loan during their campaign in Europe. The 21 year old is already a Polish international and looked exciting in the nation’s recent international fixtures. A calm, versatile and assured midfielder, Moder will be a solid addition for Brighton.
Around him 18 year old Filip Marchwinski is another promising talent. The tall and agile attacker has already played almost 50 games for Poznan despite his tender age.
Another 18 year old, Jakub Kaminski, looks like he will be the perfect replacement for Kamil Jozwiak. The rapid winger was crucial for Poznan in their qualification run to the Europa League and has looked solid in the Polish first division too.
18 year old Filip Szymczak who scored in Europa League qualifying and the Polish Cup is an exciting forward and another one to watch. So is 21 year old left-back Tymoteusz Puchacz who is an industrious player and the typical modern day full-back.
A group of Rangers, Benfica and Standard Liege will be a tough test for this young side in the Europa League, but don’t be surprised to see more of them make moves to bigger European clubs.
Competitions: Hungarian Nemzeti Bajnoksag
Average age of squad: 25.9
Best stars: Szabolcs Schon, Mihaly Kata and Bojan Miovski
Ironically MTK Budapest are one of the oldest clubs in Hungary, however their philosophy has always concentrated in the promotion of youth.
Players like Peter Gulacsi, Krisztian Nemeth and even Dominik Szoboszlai had spells in the club’s academy.
The club used their time in the second division last season to bed some of their exciting young talents into the squad.
It hasn’t been the smoothest of starts in the first division this season, however there have been flickers of individual brilliance.
20 year old Szabolcs Schon, who MTK bought in from Ajax in January, has shown his pace and directness. He’s found the back of the net twice in seven appearances and run Champions League side Ferencvaros rugged.
21 year old North Macedonian forward Bojan Miovski arrived in the summer. He’s gotten off to a brilliant start scoring 4 goals in 5 games. A strong target man Miovski looks like a real menace.
In midfield, 18 year old Mihaly Kata who impressed at the U17 World Cup last year is a stalwart figure and already a leader at such a young age. 20 year old Szabolcs Mezei is also an outstanding talent. Mezei has the robust energy to dictate the midfield and breakup attacks.
16 year old Barnabas Biben has already made his debut and looked outstanding. Meanwhile 15 year old Zalan Vancsa is training regularly with the first team.
Ghanaian youngsters 19 year old Kwaku Agyemang and 18 year old Clinton Osei could have a breakthrough season too.
With a young manager, Michael Boris in charge, it will take some time for MTK to gel, but because of the exciting talent on show they are worth keeping an eye on.