This year’s edition of the knockout stages of the Europa League looks to be the most competitive yet, as a number of big teams prepare for more European action, reports 90min.
With clubs like Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid, Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig, and Serie A leaders Napoli competing this year, the Europa League certainly seems to be becoming a more prestigious and respected competition.
With such quality teams on display, some of Europe’s finest players will be in action. But amongst the European giants are some teams under the radar that boast some promising talent of their own.
Here’s six players you should watch out for as the knockout stages of the Europa League get underway.
6. Alejandro Gomez
Leading the line for Atalanta is FIFA Ultimate Team legend and social media king Alejandro Gomez.
Papu Gomez is one of the Italian side’s most productive players this season with seven goals and eight assists in all competitions.
Gomez has been struggling with a back problem in recent weeks, but if he does net again the Europa League this year be sure to check out his signature dance celebration.
5. Jean Michael Seri
A host of Premier League clubs were said to be targeting Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri. Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, and both Manchester clubs have reportedly monitored the Ivorian in recent months.
Seri was also reportedly on the cusp of a move to Barcelona. So for those who don’t follow Ligue 1, the Europa League may be the perfect chance to see what all the fuss is about.
Seri is capable of playing any role in central midfield. A defensive workhorse as well as a play-maker, Seri has drawn comparisons with Barca legend Xavi, who described Seri as having “Barca DNA.”
4. Aleksandr Kokorin
With the World Cup being held in Russia this year, the Europa League could be a good chance to spotlight some of the local stars that will be competing in this summer’s tournament.
One of the host’s top stars is Zenit Saint Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kokorin. The 26-year-old was one of the top scorers of the group stages with five goals, which adds to his tally of 10 in the Russian Premier League this term.
3. Inaki Williams
Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, and AC Milan target Inaki Williams has recently committed his future to Athletic Bilbao with a new contract.
The 23-year-old forward has been turning heads across Europe this season, who now has a whopping £96m release clause.
The Spaniard has seven goals in all competitions this year, including two in the Europa League.
2. Bas Dost
Sporting CP will drop into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group. Admittedly, they would always have a tough time trying to better Barcelona and Juventus.
Dutch striker Bas Dost will be the man to watch for Sporting as he continues his terrific goal scoring form in Portugal.
Dost has 19 goals in 20 Primeira Liga appearances this term, making him amongst one of the top scoring players in Europe.
1. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Another player on the lips of many clubs in the January transfer window was Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The 22-year-old Serbian has been the subject of inquiry by both Manchester Clubs as well as Real Madrid.
Milinkovic-Savic has put in a number of stellar performances for Lazio this season and has been on of their standout players. Nine goals and three assists is his tally for the season so far.
A midfield all-rounder, the Serbian is capable of creating attacking moves, is brave in the the tackle, and is excellent in the air. For his efforts he has a €100m price-tag, but Lazio chiefs insist they have no plans of selling him.