Alban Lafont: #9, Brilliant wonderkids of 2017

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Part 2: Alban Lafont – Goalkeeping Wonder

Missed it? Part 1 can be found here!

Wonderkids, stars in the making

At the start of every calendar year, the footballing world looks at the new crop of youth players in their teenage years, our wonderkids. The excitement of new world class players in the making has all of us football fans drooling. We all remember marveling in 2003 at a teenage Cristiano Ronaldo, a few years later we had the privilege of seeing Lionel Messi blosso
ming into a world beater, and back in 2010 Hazard took the Ligue 1 by storm to seal a transfer to Chelsea FC. Some of the most exciting times in a fan’s journey lie in seeing his team stacked with exciting young players. Indeed, we’re sure Borussia Dortmund fans can relate.

The top five European leagues promise to be a battleground for the coming year. And so, for the coming few days, we will be counting down the hottest new rising wonderkids.  let’s hope we’ll be seeing some new “Ballon d’or” winners being born!

year 2016

In the last month of 2016, let’s look back at the last calendar year. Indeed, we saw some exciting young players rise to the occasion. Martial at Manchester United, Bellerin at Arsenal, Zouma at Chelsea, Weigl at Borussia Dortmund, and Kimmich at Bayern Munich just to name a few. It’s clear to see, 2016 was a year to be remembered to say the least. Moreover, Youth players now cost premium amounts year after year. And so, they are expected to deliver directly. Long gone are the days of slowly easing youth into the starting 11. From now on, it’s perform or be benched.

2017, stars will be born!

Last transfer season saw hundreds of millions spent on young players. Manchseter United shelled out a record breaking premium to bring Paul Pogba, Bayern Munich around 40 million euros on Renato Sanchez, while Dortmund went around silently buying & promoting the best of the best at discount prices (including Ousmane Dembele, Emre Mor, Merino, & Pulisic).

Missed it? Part 1 can be found here!

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NUMBER 9: ALBAN LAFONT

Position: Goalkeeper / Sweeper Keeper

Age: 17

Preferred Foot: Right

Rating: ★★★★★

Few of us have ever heard of the most recent gem unearthed by the Toulouse FC youth system. But, that doesn’t mean that the youngster is anything short of a star in the making. The French youth international (currently playing for the U18 France Squad) announced himself in the strongest way possible. In 2015, he became the youngest ever goalkeeper to play in Ligue 1 at the tender age of 16-years-and-310 days. After a successful first run, he pushed to become the starting goalkeeper by stacking up 24 ligue 1 appearances in the 2015-16 season for Toulouse. Standing at an imposing 1.93 meters, the young stopper has drawn comparisons to Manuel Neuer in regards to composure, level-headedness, and on-the-ball skills. Recently, reports have emerged linking the youngster with a move to the English Premier League, with many interested sides, including most prominently Arsenal.

Early career

Initially an attacking midfielder, Alban Lafont started his career at amateur side AS Lattoise. He played there until 2014, when he made the switch to Toulouse FC in ligue 1. It was a significant step up in level of performance required, and during that whole year, the youngster didn’t get close to the senior team. It wasn’t until the 2015-16 season came along that he started featuring in Ligue 1.

Toulouse career

In the 2015-16 season, Alban Lafont got the chance to start for the senior side on the 28th November 2015 . He hasn’t looked back since. He orchestrated a series of solid and key displays between the sticks, something that made him one of the first names in the starting 11 week in week out. This 2016-17 seasons promises to be his first fully fledged ligue 1 season. The key to his development will be whether he can remain consistent over the span of a year, something young players struggle to do.

Future plans?

Quality goalkeepers are a rare commodity in a modern game glorifying attacking football. The best prospects dream of scoring goals, and emulating their idols. Rare are the players willing to assume the role of goalkeeper, an often under appreciated position. In light of this, a meteoric rise can be expected for the young frenchman, thanks to his dedication, his work ethic and maturity. Toulouse FC will try to hold on for a few seasons to come. Nevertheless, we are already hearing whispers about interest coming from the English Premier League, with Arsenal being dubbed as the most likely team, due to their affinity for french prospects. What lies ahead? No one really knows, but no matter where Alban Lafont ends up, we wish him plenty of clean sheets!

Missed it? Part 1 can be found here!

Tomorrow we will be continuing our series of the top 10 wonderkids of 2017, Stay tuned!
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