Our series of hot prospect scout reports advances into the more attacking positions on the pitch, with five young wingers taking centre stage this time around. Here we have chosen a handful of players who are likely to play important roles for their sides next season having already made their talents known in the 2011/12 campaign. As ever, each player will begin the new season under the age of 23.
Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad) - 6.97
After seemingly trying to engineer a move away from the club last summer, Real Sociedad's French winger began the previous campaign in the fans' bad books. A then 20-year old Antoine Griezmann was left out of the team's season opener but soon forced his way back into the reckoning, putting in a string of eye-catching performances to ensure all ill-feeling was forgotten.
He ended the season having started 28 times, picking up 35 appearances overall, scoring 7 goals and assisting a further 4. The confident youngster mustered more shots per game (2.7) from wide than any teammate, meaning a chance conversion rate of 7.5% could certainly do with some work. In an attacking sense, modest averages for both key passes (1.2) and dribbles (0.9) per game prove that he isn't a hugely potent attacking force, though an excellent cross accuracy of 28.4% is certainly a strength.
Elsewhere he is particularly useful when it comes to defensive contribution, protecting the left full-back well with impressive averages of 2.3 for tackles and 2.9 for interceptions per game. However, a main weakness lies in his passing, with just 73% of Griezmann's overall attempts reaching a teammate. There's definitely room for improvement, but the Frenchman has the work ethic to succeed and should be key for Sociedad once again assuming the Spanish outfit can fend off any interest.
Patrick Hermann (Borussia M'Gladbach) - 6.90
There was a reason that Gladbach manager Lucien Favre converted star man Marco Reus into a centre forward last season, and his name is Patrick Herrmann. Although the departure of Reus will have a big impact on the side, a decent summer's spending coupled with the emergence of some promising youngsters, with Herrmann head of the pile, should see last season's surprise package in the Bundesliga continue their form into 2012/13.
At 21, right-winger Herrmann started 22 games last season, scoring 6 goals and picking up an impressive 7 assists. Said set-ups came from a fairly modest average of 0.9 key passes per game, meaning 28% of the chances he created were converted, which when compared to Reus' 12.5% certainly makes for impressive reading and suggests his final pass was spot on. His crossing, however, is a weakness, finding a man with just 3 of a meagre 26-attempted deliveries last term.
Averaging just 1.1 shots per game, a 20% chance conversion rate is far more impressive, and a figure of 1.4 dribbles per game is also encouraging, as he was dispossessed just 0.9 times per game last season. Defensively he also does his bit, averaging 1.9 tackles per game, and that hard graft will certainly be crucial if he is to make a success of himself in the Champions League next season, with Favre a manager who demands 100% from all of his players.
Jonathan Schmid (Freiburg) - 6.85
A more defensive wide man than the rest of our chosen 5 here, 22-year old Jonathan Schmid is primarily a right-midfielder but made 7 of his 22 starts for Freiburg at full-back last season. Born and raised in France, Schmid made the move from hometown club Strasbourg as a teenager in 2008 but only broke into the German outfit's first team last season.
He picked up just 1 goal and 1 assist but Schmid's main qualities are certainly defensive, with exceptional averages for both tackles (2.8) and interceptions (2.3) per game. Elsewhere, he also flourishes when it comes to crossing, with a 27.7% accuracy having completed 1.2 accurate deliveries into the box per game. Said strength was the main contributing factor to a decent average of 1.3 key passes per match, meaning he may have merited more than the solitary assist.
In terms of weaknesses an aerial success rate of 31.3% is certainly lower than one would expect for a player who is capable of filling in at the back, while he offers little flair in attack, completing just 0.8 dribbles per game. He was also dispossessed 1.5 times a match on average and conceded possession via loose control 1.2 times per game, suggesting Scmid could perhaps be best suited to an attacking full-back role.
Philippe Coutinho (Inter - loan at Espanyol) - 6.79
Already fairly well known across Europe, this season could well be Coutinho's breakthrough at Inter under Stramaccioni. A successful loan spell at Espanyol should have been enough to convince the young manager that he is ready to push for a regular starting berth this season, and let's just say you can tell this guy is Brazilian.
With pace and flair in abundance, the 20-year old netted 6 goals last season (5 for Espanyol) from just 18 starts (14 for Espanyol), and the majority were quite spectacular. With long shots calculated as a strength in his WhoScored characteristics, Coutinho netted twice from range last season, hitting the woodwork once and averaging a 43.8% accuracy from outside the box. Elsewhere, like any Brazilian winger, he loves to dribble, completing 1.5 per game on average, though a success rate of just 29.3% is poor and suggests that he needs to pick his moments more wisely.
All of that will of course come with maturity, which will be needed in an Inter side looking to put right the wrongs of the previous campaign, and although an average of just 0.9 key passes per game last season may indicate towards a selfish nature, that isn't necessarily the case. Coutinho averaged 1.8 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game at Espanyol last season, which may prove that he has learned to put the effort in that he will need to be a success in Milan.
Kostantinos Fortounis (Kaiserslautern) - 6.51
Our only teenager here, 19-year old Greek winger Kostas Fortounis' modest rating of 6.51 can be forgiven when considering 10 of his appearances came as substitute last season. In the 18 games in which he did start, in no less than 6 different positions, a rating of 6.77 certainly indicates to Kaiserslautern having signed a real prospect last summer.
The youngster failed to register in the Bundesliga last season, and having taken 32 shots last season he will certainly be hoping to open his account for the club sooner rather than later. He did, however, pick up 4 assists, coming from a modest 1 key pass per game, while his dribbling statistics are more impressive. Having rounded an opponent 1.8 times per game last season, Fortounis' success rate of 49.5% is promising.
His final ball is often decent, if irregular, completing 12 of 40 crosses last season (30%) and an excellent 3 of 4 attempted through balls (75%), while defensively he is another who doesn't shirk his responsibilities. An average of 1.8 tackles per game is impressive, though he was dribbled past 1.7 times per game and will need to prove harder to beat in the future. However, we're tipping a good season for Fortounis in 2012/13, with his confidence sky high having been chosen to represent Greece at Euro 2012 this summer.