As the new season races towards us so we begin to look once more at those players we can expect to see great things from across the 20 teams of Spain’s top football league. And of course, there’ll be the usual suspects ready to tear it up once more: Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez, Bale, Neymar et al. But look a little beyond the obvious big names of the division and Spain has been a hotbed of seriously good young talent emerging throughout the different clubs year upon year. And the upcoming season promises to be no different. So let’s have a look at a few of the younger breed of La Liga footballing talent who might be on the verge of great things for 2016.
Paco Alcacer (Valencia)
Big things are expected of the young striker following his breakthrough year in 2014-15. Bagging 28 goals in all competitions as well as forcing his way in the Spanish National team set-up Alcacer has the tools to become a big player in the Spanish league in seasons to come. A mobile striker who has represented his country at every level, Alcacer is tipped to become a mainstay in the Spain squad as they head to Euro 2016 and has already turned the heads of a number of leading Premier League sides. Expect bid things this year as Valencia push on in the league and Champions League.
Denis Suarez (Barcelona)
There’s a certain degree of competition for place at the league and European champions of course. But it does say something about your potential when manager Luis Enrique calls you back from a loan spell at Sevilla with the promise of a squad number, potentially filling the void left by departing legend Xavi Hernandez. Midfielder Suarez impressed during his spell at Sevilla in 2015, playing a key role in the side’s run to Europa league glory. And, now given the opportunity to step it up among the superstars of La Blaugrana, maybe this is the year the young Spaniard breaks into the big time.
Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid)
Defensive midfielder Niguez signed a new 5-year deal to stay with Atletico in May 2015, having attracted the attention of Manchester United over the course of the season and the Spanish Under-21 International looks set to become a fixture at the heart of Atletico’s team in the coming years.
Rafael Varane (Real Madrid)
Varane is already a French International defender and a player for whom greatness has been predicted for a number of years. But, with new boss Rafa Benitez coming into the Real set-up and doubts surrounding the future of Sergio Ramos, this could be the year that Varane really steps up and announces himself as a young defender of truly world-class stature. And with the European Championships in his home country to look forward to in the summer of 2016, he’ll be desperate for a stand-out season and a chance to cement his name in the teams of both club and country.
Inaki Williams (Athletico Bilbao)
The young Spanish native of Ghanaian descent Williams is a skilful, athletic forward who took his chance when breaking into the Bilbao side at the back end of the 2014-15 season. Pacy and direct, the youngster has all the attributes to become a big name in La Liga over the coming season as he looks to establish himself as the main striker at the Basque club in the long-term absence of Iker Muniain.