Although youth tournaments are obviously made for young players to develop, we all now they also work as a showcase for clubs to find rising stars.
The Portuguese press takes the UEFA Youth League as a big deal, always including game previews or results in the pages of clubs like Porto, Sporting and Benfica.
And today, newspaper O Jogo brings a different story about it. With Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City and Porto making the tournament’s final four, several scouts are keeping an eye on the youngsters, and the newspaper went to speak to the scouts who are working there.
One of them was Des Taylor, who works for AFC Bournemouth. Even though scouts normally don’t speak much, he’s given a pretty interesting interview to O Jogo, even revealing the players he was impressed by.
Bournemouth’s official said: “We know the vast majority of players through observations we’ve made before. But there are two who have stood out against Chelsea, like number 5 [Justiniano], who is very good, and 8 [Rui Pires], who is also excellent. Diogo Costa is another player that we appreciate, he made a mistake in the first goal, but he is a goalkeeper who has a tremendous capacity between the posts and who defends very well.”
“On the front, 9 [Irala], 20 [Madi Qeta] and 13 [Romário Baró] are very well on their football in the technical qualities they have. They mix this ability with speed, explosion, speed changes and dribbles, which proved to be complicated for Chelsea to stop.”
To O Jogo’s surprise, the Bournemouth official has even spoken a little about the club’s transfer plans: “In southern Europe, we still don’t have many references, but we want to expand our ability to observe and detect talent.
“We look for players who have the quality to raise our level of training, perhaps not at the level of a Youth League, but we want to find players who can play at the highest level in England in two or three seasons.”