Manchester United’s summer target and Monaco’s French wonderkids… #JF70 young talents of the week, week 18

France Ligue 1 young talents to watch in 2016/17

As leagues across Europe continue apace, with league titles up for grabs and relegation battles to fight. Which #JF70  startlets are impressing at the season’s business end?

SEE ALSO: What is the #JF70? Explainer to our feature on Europe’s 70 best young players

Victor Lindelof

All the mid-season talk about the Swedish defender, as well as scramble for his signature, had died down in the last few months, but he hasn’t stopped being an influential player for Benfica.

Yet, if we needed a reminder of Victor Lindelof‘s abilities as a footballer – not just as a defender – he showed us again. He bagged his first Portuguese league goal of the season in Benfica’s 1-1 draw at Sporting two weeks ago.

Benfica were trailing to an early Adrien Silva goal and were at risk of losing their place at the top of the Liga NOS league table, when Lindelof stepped up to convert a direct freekick in spectacular fashion. It allowed The Eagles maintain their lead over rivals Porto.

While he wasn’t scoring, he was busy raking up the best passing accuracy by a defender in the Primeira Liga. So it’s not surprising that the rumours linking him with top European clubs have started spreading again.

SEE ALSO: From Vasteras with love: the rise of Victor Lindelof – Manchester United’s big Swedish target

Mikel Oyarzabal

Talking about first goals of the season, Mikel Oyarzabal got his as well. He scored what turned out to be the difference maker in Real Sociedad’s 3-2 win over Valencia at the Mestalla.

The youngster has been on the brink of his debut goal on so many occasions this season, missing out due to a combination of bad finishing and sheer bad luck. But his luck changed against Valencia. Five days after his 20th birthday, when he came on as a substitute to score the goal that put Real Sociedad 3-0 up.

Oyarzabal was close to adding to his tally a few days later when La Real hosted Granada, but poor finishing again let him down. However, like he had done on six previous occasions before that, he provided the assist for Carlos Vela’s opener.

SEE ALSO: The #JF70 top 10 best young players to watch in Spain’s La Liga in 2017

Kylian Mbappe

With every match, and every goal Kylian Mbappe is becoming not just the best young player this season in France, but indeed one of the players of the season in all of Europe. And he’s still only 18.

The last couple of weeks have been out of this world for the youngster. He’s kept up an enviable scoring streak in the league and the Champions League to put Monaco on the brink of a first Ligue 1 title since the 1999/00 season, and a first Champions League semi-final spot since 2002/03.

Last weekend, he was on target for the third consecutive game, scoring the go-ahead goal for Monaco in their 3-1 home win against Toulouse. It was his 14th Ligue 1 goal this season, taking him to 15 career league goals (inc. 1 last season).

He exhibited, again, how much of a poacher he can be, connecting with Bernardo Silva’s cross despite heavy attention from the Toulouse defence. He’s currently on a run of 16 goals in 15 games, and he’s unlikely to stop anytime soon.

The Guardian this week reported that Mbappe was the subjected of a £72 million bid from Manchester United for his services, rejected out of hand by Monaco who want £100 million minimum.

SEE ALSO: The top 10 best young players to watch in France’s Ligue 1 in 2017

Thomas Lemar

Like Mbappe, Thomas Lemar has been a very cogent part of what could yet become a historic Monaco side. The winger hasn’t scored as much as his more celebrated teammate, but he’s impacted Leonardo Jardim’s side almost as much.

Lemar’s consistency and reliability has been one of his strong points through the season. He’s kept that up leading into the most important moments.

The 21-year-old was arguably the Man of the Match two weeks ago when Monaco sealed their place in the Champions League semi-final, assisting one of his side’s goals in a 3-1 second leg win over Borussia Dortmund. Back in the league last weekend, he scored his 8th Ligue 1 goal of the season to seal yet another three points for Monaco at home against Toulouse.

His stats aren’t bad either; he’s currently the second best assist provider and joint fourth in most goals for Monaco in the league this season.

His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. He was nominated – alongside Mbappe of course – for the Best Young Player of the Season Award in Ligue 1.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @JustFootball and on Facebook for more football news, features and analysis, as well as regular progress reports of the #JF70 stars.

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