Ranked! The world's 15 best strikers aged 23 and under
15. Amine Gouiri
The 18-year-old Gouiri may not have the first-team experience of many others on this list, but he has the potential to be one of the best strikers in the world. Utterly prolific at youth level for France, he has been around the Lyon first team squad for 18 months and is being gradually eased into action for the senior side.
Les Gones are enjoying a strong season and boast some of the most exciting young players in European football, most notably 19-year-old midfielder Houssem Aouar and the sensational Tanguy Ndombele. Even captain Nabil Fekir is only 24. Gouiri is in the right place to develop – Frederic Kanoute, Karim Benzema, Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette all started out at Lyon.
The striker scored five goals at the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 despite France being eliminated in the last 16. He also found the net eight times at the U17 Euros as les Bleus were beaten by Spain in the last eight. Armand Garrido, coach of Lyon U17s since 1992, says Gouiri “has a little bit of everything”.
14. Alexander Isak
Borussia Dortmund and Sweden striker Isak has inevitably been compared to compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 18-year-old scored on his competitive debut for AIK in a cup match and found the net on his league debut for the Stockholm side too, becoming their youngest ever goalscorer in the Swedish top flight at 16 years and 199 days.
He chose Dortmund ahead of reported suitors in Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool – and is in an ideal place to flourish. Isak is playing alongside a host of other exciting young players including Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, Mahmoud Dahoud and Manuel Akanji.
Starting so few matches since his move to the Bundesliga last summer may harm his chances of going to the World Cup, but with an international goal to his name already, the 6ft 3in Swede is definitely in the frame.
13. Moise Kean
The Juventus striker is currently on loan at Hellas Verona, where he has shown his qualities at the top level by scoring goals against Fiorentina, Torino and Milan in Serie A this season. Kean became the first player born in the year 2000 to appear in one of Europe’s big five leagues when he made his debut for Juventus last season in a match against Pescara, and made his Champions League debut against Sevilla at the tender age of 16 – another year 2000 record.
Such a rapid fast-track was understandable when you consider that the Italian forward has 24 goals in 26 matches for the Juventus U17 side. He only turned 18 in February, and has quite the future ahead of him.
12. Jann-Fiete Arp
With Arp’s Hamburg side in the relegation zone and time running out to preserve their Bundesliga status, expect a real scramble for the 18-year-old’s signature this summer.
The forward has been prolific at youth level for club and country, scoring 18 goals in 19 appearances for Germany’s U17s. He has already been linked with Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Spurs and a host of others, but most recent reports suggest a move to – hold the shock – Bayern should Hamburg be relegated.
Early comparisons with Harry Kane are justified: Arp is capable of scoring every kind of goal, is most comfortable leading the line and – as his two hat-tricks in the group stage of the U17 Euros in 2017 show – he can turn a match on his own. He followed that up with five more at the U17 World Cup later in the year, and became the first player born this millennium to score in the Bundesliga with a goal against Hertha Berlin last autumn.
11. Vinicius Junior
Brazilian forward Vinicius has already sealed a big-money move to Real Madrid, who he will join following his 18th birthday in the summer. The best player and top goalscorer for Brazil at the U17 South American Championship in 2017, Flamengo's forward scored seven times as Brazil lifted the title for the 12th time in their history.
At club level he has already had a positive impact, coming off the bench to score twice as Flamengo beat Ecuadorian giants Emelec in the Copa Libertadores group stage in what was his competition debut. Real Madrid’s €45m investment may yet prove to be a bargain.