Luis Suarez and Diego Godin might have some company in Europe, as a new clutch of stars could be on their way over the Atlantic. Here’s five of the best:
Kevin Ramírez: Forward, Nacional
Being able to play on the wing as well as in the center forward position, Nacional player Kevin Ramírez is a versatile attacker. In terms of style of play, Ramírez is a bit similar to his former teammate Nico López as he also possesses a wonderful touch and good dribbling ability. In addition, with his poaching abilities, Ramírez is a threat in front of goal.
Those talents were also recognized by Mexican side Cruz Azul. The Liga MX team wanted to sign Ramírez in January, but the move never materialized. Next to interest coming from Mexico, Ramírez has also been monitored by several Italian and Spanish teams. A good campaign for Nacional in 2017 and his destiny could well be in Europe this time around next year.
Nico De La Cruz: Forward, Liverpool Montevideo
After enjoying a phenomenal Sudamericano, Nico De La Cruz (19) is on the radar of many European clubs. The Liverpool Montevideo No10 showcased his tremendous all-round ability and was, by many, seen as the tournament’s best player. His performances even attracted interest from Barcelona.
The Spanish champions might not be a sensible next step, so what would be? As I would advise every youngster; make one step at a time. Don’t go to the likes of Atlético Madrid immediately. Then you make three steps in one go but the chance of being blown back four steps is big. A club like Sporting Lisbon or Las Palmas would be perfect for De La Cruz. There he can feature regularly which with his age is key.
This man will be a sensational player.
Remember the name: Nicolás De La Cruz pic.twitter.com/OhV1KECeLQ
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) January 31, 2017
Joaquín Ardaiz: Forward, Danubio
With two fine finishes Joaquín Ardaiz sealed their fate, Uruguay U20 were Sudamericano champions. The physical, yet skilled forward – who’s still playing in Uruguay for Danubio – stepped up and delivered, showing exactly what he’s capable of.
Ever since his title-winning brace, Ardaiz has been the subject of lots of rumours predominantly originating from the English media linking him to Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Manchester City. But also in Portugal, Ardaiz has been noticed. Sporting Lisbon look keen on the 18-year-old; a good next step for his career.
Sporting Portugal has turned its attention to Uruguay U20 forward Joaquín Ardaiz (18).
Portuguese sport newspaper 'Record' broke the story. pic.twitter.com/UXW7NAYULd
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) February 21, 2017
Nahitan Nández: Midfielder, Peñarol
Cesc Fabregas captained Arsenal at the age of 21 and a very similar scenario has unfolded in Uruguay where Nahitan Nández has been given the captain’s armband of Peñarol. Just like Fabregas was back then, Nández is 21. It brings pressure but the volante is no stranger to it as he’s already captained the Uruguay U20 side on multiple occasions.
In his first weeks as Peñarol captain, Nández has impressed and is one of the reasons Peñarol is still the only unbeaten team in the league. If he can continue his good form and possibly lead his club to a league title, European clubs – who have shown their interest for the youngster – will undoubtedly come calling.
Maximiliano Gómez: Forward, Defensor Sporting
When a talented forward comes through from Uruguay he usually is called the next Luis Suárez. Mostly the only similarity is their passport but in the case of Maximiliano Gómez, the comparison is somewhat justified. The Defensor Sporting striker is, just like Suárez, a very opportunistic player who constantly pushes the line of good or bad.
Gómez has scored four goals in five games this season and has arguably been the best player on for La Violeta as his side are unbeaten in 13 games in a row (all competitions). Defensor Sporting has produced another fine prospect who, with his physique and skill set, looks made for a successful career in Europe.