Mattia Perin (22, Genoa)
Perin has been hailed as the next great Italian goalkeeper ever since he joined Genoa in 2008. He was sent to Padova and Pescara on loan, where Perin impressed despite only recording nine clean sheets in two seasons. But in his first two terms with Genoa, he kept 18 clean sheets in Serie A 69 starts. His transfer value has soared from €6.5m to €17.5m in two years and Perin made his Italy debut in 2014. He is developing as expected, though is currently out after shoulder surgery.
Davide Santon (24, Inter)
Santon made his Serie A debut for Inter at the age of 18 and was quickly valued at €10m. The Nerazzurri sent the versatile full-back on loan to Cesena, but he failed to establish himself as a regular starter and was sold to Newcastle in 2011. In England, Santon regained his confidence and played 55 games in his first two seasons. Newcastle sold him back to Inter for €3.7m. For now, Santon has not panned out as expected and he has only made eight Azzurri appearances since his debut in 2009.
Mattia De Sciglio (22, Milan)
De Sciglio made his debut for Milan in 2011 at the age of 19, against Pilsen in the Champions League. Later that season he would be deployed in his first Serie A game. The right-back would establish himself as a regular starter with Milan, but his progress has been blighted by repeated injuries. Di Sciglio has made 18 international appearances and would be valued at more than €7.5m if not for the fitness concerns.
Matteo Darmian (25, Manchester United)
Milan sold Darmian for €800,000 to Palermo back in 2010. He played only 11 games with the Rosanero and was sent on loan to Torino. The Granata purchased him for only €1.8m and three years later made €18 million selling the right-back to Manchester United, where Darmian has been a key player for Louis van Gaal’s side. He has also featured in 14 games with Italy since his debut in 2014. Darmian seems to be locked as one of Italy’s best defenders for years to come.
Marco Verratti (22, PSG)
Verratti stormed through the youth ranks at Pescara and debuted for the first team in 2008 at the age of 16. The midfielder became a key player for the Serie B side and led Pescara to Serie A in 2012. Verratti was then sold for €12m to PSG, before making a single top flight appearance, and has established himself as a star player with the Ligue 1 champions, registering 20 assists since his debut. His value has soared to €40m and Verratti looks to be the next big Italian star.
Alessandro Florenzi (24, AS Roma)
Florenzi is Roma born and bred, making his debut in 2011. He spent the next season on loan with Crotone, where he was an undisputed starter and scored 11 goals. Florenzi hasn’t missed a beat since, regularly appearing as a starter for Roma whether in a trident attack, wide midfield or as a right-back. He has registered 15 goals and 17 assists since returning in 2012, increasing his value to €18m. With only eight Italy appearances, his international career so far has been a disappointment.
Tomorrow, Vincent van Genechten rounds up the strikers pushing for an Italy future.