It is the stuff of management dreams – a blank cheque to build the most exciting young starting XI in world football.
But that is exactly what new BBC Sounds podcast Wunderkids is offering, in fantasy form at least, over its 11 episodes. The first eight are available to listen to now.
The Wunderkids team, in conjunction with BBC Sport, have come up with 11 players and presenter Steve Crossman will be joined by experts to discuss the latest inclusion, with one new player revealed each week.
The criteria are simple – each player must be young and have the potential to become the next superstar in their position.
But we are not going for the obvious names – the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Erling Braut Haaland or Jadon Sancho – we are looking at the players who are still on the verge of making the breakthrough into the big time.
In this week’s episode we select a player who has already sparked a tug-of-war between England and Germany to represent their respective national teams – Bayern Munich midfielder Jamal Musiala.
Who is he?
Few players in our line-up have a senior international tournament under their belt but Musiala’s CV features exactly that after being chosen for Germany’s Euro 2020 squad last summer.
The 19-year-old was a surprise call-up, having amassed just three caps prior to the finals, but he made two substitute appearances – in the group stage against Hungary and the last-16 defeat by England.
Born in Stuttgart to a Nigerian father and German mother, Musiala represented both England and Germany at youth level.
He elected to represent his birth country Germany, rather than the Three Lions, despite having spent much of his childhood in London and impressing in the academies at both Southampton and Chelsea.
Musiala left Chelsea for Bayern in 2019, aged 16, and has netted 13 goals in 72 appearances, breaking the Bundesliga giants’ records for both youngest league player and goalscorer.
- Musiala – winger, deep midfielder, Muller successor
What does the expert say?
Bavarian football journalist Taufig Khalil:
“When he was five, he was as good as a seven-year-old and when he was nine, he was as good as a 13-year-old.
“Southampton saw him and got him in for a year. He scored a lot and scouts from Chelsea saw him. He scored two or three goals in his first match for them. That’s when everybody knew he was really good.
“He is still very down to earth. When he was allowed to pick a car – all of the players get cars and there were Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys – he chose a small car from the sponsor of Bayern Munich.
“Jamal is one of those rare young kids who is not in danger of, after the first successful season, renting a helicopter as other young Bayern players have done. He has kept his feet on the ground.
“He’s very flexible – he can play in the Thomas Muller position right behind Robert Lewandowski, he can play next to Joshua Kimmich. He is very mature for his young age.”
What does the fan say?
Kiran Thakare, Bayern Strikes podcast:
“Jamal has been generating a lot of hype ever since arriving at Bayern Munich from Chelsea. He got integrated into the first team at the age of 18 and since then he has not looked back.
“His close control sets him apart from other young talents and his decision-making is also top quality for a player who is still in his teenage years.
“He reminds me of Bastian Schweinsteiger – even though they played in different positions, they both have immense quality on the ball as well as tenacity off the ball.
“Musiala’s best moment in a Bayern shirt came off the bench against RB Leipzig earlier this season when he scored a crucial goal after half-time and he also managed to set up another goal. It was an influential cameo in a big game.”