3 future stars set to make the step up to next level in 2021
2020 was a strange year for everyone, not just for the world of football, from games behind close doors to cancelled competitions, the year had it all.
However, now that it is over, we can shift our focus to 2021, and what it might bring us.
Therefore, let's take a look at three future stars that are set to make the huge step up to worldwide prominence in 2021, already being wanted by numerous clubs for the huge talent.
3. Christoph Baumgartner - TSG Hoffenheim
Christoph Baumgartner has had a magnificent 2020, emerging as one of Hoffenheim's most crucial players throughout the year.
The 21-year-old attacking midfielder has had a fantastic season and a half, making the position his own for the German club, and this season he has already managed four goals and five assists in 21 appearances in all competitions, despite a very mixed start to the season for Hoffenheim.
The German club has started badly in the Bundesliga, sitting in 12th place, yet they have made it through to the Round of 32 in the UEFA Europa League, scoring 17 goals in just six games, with Baumgartner getting two goals and two assists in the competition.
Baumgartner has provided an impressive 1.7 key passes per game in the Europa League, along with 2.2 shots per game, despite starting only three games in the competition.
The midfielder has been linked with a move to Liverpool in the past, but as of yet, he hasn't been heavily scouted as other stars have been, and so 2021 might be the year for him to show his worth even more.
2. Pedro Neto - Wolverhampton Wanderers
Pedro Neto has emerged as one of the Premier League's upcoming stars, with the 20-year-old becoming one of Wolves' most important players this season, especially with Diogo Jota's move to Liverpool in the summer.
Neto has already got four goals and three assists in 17 appearances in all competitions this season, in a Wolves side that has struggled without their star man Raul Jimenez in recent weeks.
Whilst Wolves have found it hard to score, with just 15 goals in the Premier League so far, Neto has emerged as the leading forward in Jimenez's absence.
Neto has completed 1.8 key passes per game in the Premier League, along with 1.9 shots per game and 1.7 dribbles per game, scoring the highest in the squad when it comes to key passes, and being second in shots per game and dribbles per game to Raul Jimenez and Daniel Podence respectively.
The Portuguese forward has been linked with some Premier League clubs after his impressive performances this season, with Manchester United keeping a close eye on him, yet with Jimenez being out for a long period, Neto has plenty of time to stake his claim not just at Wolves and in the Premier League, but in world football.
1. Florian Wirtz - Bayer Leverkusen
When Bayer Leverkusen lost Kai Havertz to Chelsea, it seemed like they would come out worse off in the deal, yet that has not been the case at all, particularly due to their young star Florian Wirtz.
Bayer Leverkusen did not only get £80 million for Havertz, but it also paved the way for Wirtz to become the latest star to come out of Leverkusen's ranks.
At the age of just 17, Wirtz has become a regular starter for Leverkusen, getting five goals and five assists in 18 games in all competitions so far this season.
Wirtz is a very tidy passer of the ball, which is seen through his impressive average of 2.1 key passes per Bundesliga game, yet he is also a very good dribbler, with 2.2 dribbles per Bundesliga game.
The German has also been praised for his maturity, helping out the defence on countless occasions, evident through his 1.3 tackles per game in the Bundesliga.
Last season, he became the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history, scoring in a 4-2 defeat against Bayern Munich at the age of just 17 years and 34 days.
Wirtz has been on the radar of numerous Bundesliga clubs, including Bayern Munich, but he is also starting to attract some interest from foreign clubs, namely Liverpool, but there are also reports that he is set to sign a new contract at Leverkusen, keeping him at the club until 2025.
2021 will prove to be a big year for Wirtz that will see him either become a player that got on the big stage either too early, or just at the right time. Who do you think missed out on a spot in this list? All statistics and figures were obtained from Whoscored.com and transfermarkt.com