The Ligue 2 championship comes to an end with its share of revelations, disappointments, teams promoted or relegated. This is the opportunity to paint a portrait of 5 young players who have emerged this season. For the selection criteria, we took items under the age of 21 exclusively. Some had already evolved among professionals before this exercise. They are not all titular in their respective club but their reputation has already largely exceeded the local framework. We should even see them animate the summer transfers sections.
Ismaël Doukouré (central defender, Valenciennes)
At 17, he settled in the VA hinge alongside Eric Vandenabeele or Emmanuel Ntim. Author of 18 appearances in Ligue 2 (for eleven tenures), the native of Lille is presented as the future Dayot Upamecano in his club. If he is much less physical than his predecessor, he already has the makings of a boss in the defense of his training club. Very professional, Doukouré even surrounded himself with a personal team with a physical trainer, a nutritionist and a press officer, proof of an astonishing maturity for his age. The kid knows what he wants: to reach the highest level. He is also already courted by a lot of people (LOSC, OL, OM, Nice, Roma, Juve, Barça or Arsenal to name a few). Under contract until 2023, he is already estimated at around € 6 million by his club.
Johann Lepenant (defensive midfielder, SM Caen)
Malherbe is not shining this season, it is quite the opposite. While they are fighting for their maintenance, a clearing has broken the daily grayness of the Normans. After two small appearances at the start of the season, everything accelerated in 2021 for the frail 18-year-old midfielder. “I’m sure he’s a boy who will make his coaches happy”, explained Pascal Dupraz. Powered by the Savoyard then Fabrice Vandeputte, he even holds the title against PSG in the Coupe de France. International U16, U17, U18 and U19, he quickly won over everyone in his training club. In his Maxence Caqueret style, omnipresent on the field, recuperator and clean raiser, Lepenant manages to improve the game of his partners. Holder since February, he was even elected player of the month in Caen. The challenge for his club will be to keep it this summer, while he is under contract until 2023.
Amine Adli (attacking midfielder, Toulouse)
Toulouse shines this season with its youth. The choice to put Amine Adli was not obvious between Manu Koné, Janis Antiste, Bafodé Diakité and other Anthony Rouault but the attacking midfielder is the one who plays the most. Undisputed holder of Patrice Garande for his first real season among professionals, the 20-year-old left-hander already has 8 goals and 7 assists in 33 Ligue 2 matches. the TFC, where he is your contract until 2022. If he preferred to stay until the end of the season with Toulouse when he received offers this winter, he should leave his training club this summer for about 15 M €. The best player in the championship in February is courted by Borussia Mönchengladbach, AC Milan and of course Pablo Longoria’s OM.
Check-Oumar Diakité (defensive midfielder, Paris FC)
“He blew us away. He has been with us since November but he merged into the group with simplicity and determination. He is a boy who breathes football, he has a remarkable vision of the game, he anticipates well. “ René Girard is full of praise for the young Diakité. Everything went very quickly for him. From intern to professional (contract until 2024) then titular with Paris FC in just a few weeks, the 18-year-old defensive midfielder is already compared to N’Golo Kanté. Excellent tackler (he has one of the best L2 ratios), strong in placement, anticipation and recovery, he has sometimes suffered from a lack of confidence for his rather weak physique (1.73 m, 63 kg). However, the capital club already adores him (17 appearances for 8 starts) and is counting on him to try to get him to Ligue 1 next season. It will also be necessary to resist the assaults of more upscale clubs …
Yanis Begraoui (striker, AJ Auxerre)
Barred by competition from the second top scorer in the championship Mickaël Le Bihan (19 goals), the 19-year-old striker is still starting to become consistent. Still never holder in the league despite his 19 appearances, he has found the net twice. Begraoui has an excellent sense of goal. Turned pro at AJA in 2018, he first shone with the reserve in National 3 last year (16 goals in 15 games) before coming to titillate the first team. This is also the crux of the problem for the international U20. Frustrated by his meager playing time, he has desires for elsewhere and has no shortage of suitors, especially since his lease ends in June … Stade Brestois, whose specialty is to recruit promising players at the end contract, is on the lookout like last winter. The Bretons are not alone in Ligue 1 as Serie A and Liga clubs, such as Sevilla FC, are interested.
They could have been cited:
Warren Bondo (Nancy), Noah Diliberto (VA), Saïd Arab (Paris FC), Sofyane Chader (Clermont), Alan Virginius (Sochaux), Alexis Beka Beka (Caen), Ilyas Chouaref (Châteauroux)