Issue number 375 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the 100 best performing U21 outfield players from 32 European leagues according to a brand-new approach taking into consideration players’ performance compared to teammates, the employer team’s sporting level, as well as that of opponents. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) outranks Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) and Patrick Wimmer (Arminia Bielefeld).
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Raffaele Poli
Roger Besson
Loïc Ravenel
Thomas Gonzalez

For all players listed, the study does not only mention their pitch position, but also the role played within the team according to fifteen technical profile categories. The latter are built from eleven game indicators collected by our partners InStat, covering eight different game areas as detailed in the 74th edition of the CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report: air defence, ground defence, recovery, distribution, take on, chance creation, air attack and shooting.

Bukayo Saka, for example, is part of the “infiltrator creator” category, defining players particularly active in the “take on” and “chance creation” areas. Mason Greenwood has a “shooter infiltrator” profile (“shooting and take on”), while Patrick Wimmer a “shooter creator” one (“shooting and chance creation). Players from 26 leagues and 14 technical profiles are in the top 100, with the French Ligue 1 (14 players) and the “infiltrator creators” (24 players) being the most represented.

Best performing U21 outfield players

32 European leagues, Season 2021/22 until 01/04/2022. At least 1000 minutes played. Players born after 24/03/2001.