Five of the best young players in La Liga outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid
By Guillem Balague, Nick Wright and Adam Smith
Last Updated: 02/10/17 11:51am
Guillem Balague takes a look at some of the young stars impressing in La Liga this season.
Everybody knows about Marco Asensio and Ousmane Dembele, but who are the best young players in La Liga outside of Real Madrid and Barcelona?
From a Real Sociedad winger to a central midfielder from Levante, we've picked out five rising stars who are turning heads this season.
Let's start with Mikel Oyarzabal. The 20-year-old left winger has been with Real Sociedad since he was 14 and has been an ever-present in the first team since last season.
An injury caused him to miss three games in September, but he came back into the team with a goal and an assist in La Real's 3-2 defeat to Valencia last weekend.
Oyarzabal made his debut for Spain as a substitute in a game against Switzerland in 2016, and he is widely predicted to become a regular for the national side.
Athletic Bilbao tried to invoke his 40m euro buyout clause before he signed a new contract last year, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Premier League clubs soon start knocking on La Real's door.
Comparisons have already been made with Antoine Griezmann, a previous La Real superstar, and if he does eventually leave, it will certainly be for big money.
Valencia's Carlos Soler is another 20-year-old with a bright future.
Soler made 15 appearances for his boyhood club last year, but he is now a regular starter for a Valencia side who have regained their mojo under the very demanding regime of Marcelino.
Soler has been tipped to become a future Valencia captain and Spain star, and this season he has contributed more assists from open play than any other player in La Liga.
Manchester United have tried to sign him in the past, but Valencia were quick to reject their £25m offer before tying him to a new contract with a £70m buyout clause.
At the moment, it seems there is nowhere he would rather be playing.
Soler is not the only young player impressing at Mestalla. Valencia renewed the contract of full-back Nacho Vidal last season amid interest from elsewhere, and he has rewarded them with strong performances.
The Campello-born defender has alternated with Martin Montoya at right-back, but his star is clearly in the ascendancy - even though Marcelino is a great fan of Montoya.
Nacho did his chances of claiming a regular starting spot no harm at all with the goal that helped Valencia to a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad last weekend.
More contributions like that and the 22-year-old could soon become a key player for Marcelino's side.
Villarreal have had an inauspicious start to the season but in Enes Unal they have bagged one of the hottest properties around at the moment.
Manchester City sold him to the Castellon club for around £12m, but only on the basis that they can re-sign him for £17.5m.
It shows how highly the Turkish international is rated, and there have already been glimpses of his talent this season.
His goal against Real Betis was an absolute belter, and he is clearly a highly rated star of the future.
If he fulfils his potential, he could well end up returning to the Premier League sooner rather than later.
Our last young player to watch comes from Levante, who have hit the ground running having bounced back into the top flight after just one season in Segunda.
Enis Bardhi has been the star man. Levante paid just €1.5m to sign the Macedonian midfielder from Ujpest. It could turn out to be one of the bargains of the year.
Bardhi has already scored three goals in six games for the Valencian club, making him the joint-highest scoring midfielder in La Liga.
He was originally considered to be too lightweight by some, but his magnificent free-kick in Levante's recent meeting with Real Sociedad showed many clubs what they might have missed.
Levante would do well to secure him on a new contract with a large buyout clause, because it might not be long until predators start circling.
Make sure you keep an eye on these players this season.