7 Best U-23 Dribblers Across Top 5 European Leagues: Arsenal Stars Gabriel Martinelli & Bukayo Saka Feature

Arsenal Have 15 Round Of 16 Appearances
Arsenal Have 15 Round Of 16 Appearances

Gone are the days when forwards used to take defenders on for the joy of it. Modern-day soccer heavily prioritizes function over form, threatening the longevity of the art of dribbling. Only a handful of attackers have the freedom to go on a joy ride, and even fewer have the quality to beat top-tier opponents in one-on-one duels.

Below, we will take a look at a handful of U-23 players who have enthralled fans with their fancy feet this season. According to the data from Wyscout (via CIES Football Observatory), here are the top seven young dribblers in the world.

Note: The list below is sorted with the help of an ‘Index.’ Wyscout have determined the said rating of each player after “multiplying the frequency of successful dribbles in domestic league matches”, the “success rate of dribbles attempted”, and the “sporting level of the matches played (as a percentage deviation from the overall average).” Only players who have clocked over 450 are on this list, while the cutoff date is October 30.

#7 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – 2.76 Index

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka Is One Of The Best Dribblers
Bukayo Saka Has Had 7 Goal Involvements This Season

Arsenal poster boy Bukayo Saka is the seventh name on the list, having secured a rating of 2.76. The England international averaged 4.4 dribbles per game with a success rate of 64%. The level of the matches played was at 45% until October 30.

The 22-year-old right-winger, who has had to deal with some niggling injuries, has participated in 10 Premier League games in the 2023-24 season. So far, he has scored four times and bagged three assists.

#6 Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) – 2.83 Index

Takefusa Kubo Is One Of La Liga's Best Dribblers
Takefusa Kubo Has 5 La Liga Goals This Season

Real Sociedad star Takefusa Kubo has an index of 2.83, making him one of the best U-23 dribblers in Europe. Kubo, 22, averages 4.7 dribbles per game, with a completion rate of 62%. Meanwhile, the sporting level of the games played stood at 42% till the October 30 cut-off.

The right-winger has been in excellent form for Sociedad in the Spanish top-flight, pitching in with five goals and two assists in 12 appearances.

#5 Savio Moreira (Girona): 2.97 Index

Savio Moreira Is One Of The Best U-23 Dribbles In La Liga
Savio Moreira Has Been Involved In Seven Goals This Season

Girona have punched above their weight this season, sitting at the summit of La Liga with 31 points after 12 games. Savio Moreira, with an index of 2.97, has been one of their most effective players. Until October 30, Moreira had completed an average of 5.4 dribbles per game, with his success rate standing at an amazing 58%. More impressively, the average level of the matches he played was +40%.

The 19-year-old left-winger has taken part in 12 La Liga matches this season, scoring thrice and providing four assists.

#4 Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli): 3.02 Index

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia Is The Best U-23 Dribbler In Italy
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia Was Nominated For The 2023 Ballon d’Or

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was arguably the breakout player in Europe last season, with him pitching in with 12 goals and 13 assists in 34 Serie A matches, propelling Napoli to the title. The Georgian caught everyone’s eye with his sensational dribbling skills, and we are happy to report that his Midas touch has extended to the 2023-24 season.

Kvaratskhelia averaged a list-high 6.4 dribbles per game, with him completing 52% of his attempted dribbles. The average level of matches played until October 30 stood at 35%. The 22-year-old has played 10 Serie A games thus far, recording three goals and four assists.

#3 Luca Koleosho (Burnley): 3.05 Index

Luca Koleosho Is One Of The Best U-23 Dribbles In Europe
Luca Koleosho Has Claimed An Assist For Burnley This Season

Burnley ace Luca Koleosho is the third name on the list with an impressive index of 3.05. Until cut-off, the left-winger clocked 5.8 dribbles per game and completed 62% of his attempted dribbles, while the sporting level of the games played stood at +25%.

The 19-year-old, who joined Burnley from Espanyol’s B team in June 2023, has yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League. Playing nine league games, he has thus far clocked only one assist.

#2 Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal): 3.16 Index

Arsenal Ace Gabriel Martinelli Is The Best Dribbler In The Premier League
Gabriel Martinelli Has Only Scored One Premier League Goal This Season

Arsenal left-winger Gabriel Martinelli is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League, and his swanky 3.16 dribbling index proves it beyond dispute. Until the cut-off, Martinelli completed 65% of total dribbles, which is the highest on this list; averaged 4.9 dribbles per game, and the overall match level was at +46%.

The 22-year-old has featured in nine Premier League matches for the Gunners, scoring once and providing two assists.

#1 Lamine Yamal (Barcelona): 3.18 Index

Barcelona Star Lamine Yamal Is The Best U-23 Dribbler In Europe
Lamine Yamal Is Spain’s Youngest-Ever Goalscorer

With an index of 3.18, Barcelona attacker Lamine Yamal has emerged as the best U-23 dribbler across the top five European leagues.

The 16-year-old averaged 6 dribbles per game, completed 56% of attempted dribbles, and the average level of his matches was +42%. The La Masia graduate has played 12 La Liga matches this season, recording a goal and three assists.

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