Cole Palmer’s brilliant debut season at Chelsea continued at the weekend, as the forward was involved in all three goals during his side’s 3-2 win at Luton.
It’s been a breakthrough campaign for the 21-year-old, who took the brave decision to leave treble winners Manchester City last summer in search of opportunity. This season, Palmer has been among the most productive players in Europe aged 21 or under.
We’ve looked at the players aged 21 or under with the most goals and assists in Europe’s top five leagues in 2023/24.
The u21 players with the most goals and assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season:
Anthony Elanga – Nottingham Forest (10)
Anthony Elanga was squeezed out at Manchester United in the summer after struggling for regular first-team football last season.
The Swedish winger featured for just 424 minutes in the Premier League last season and signed for Nottingham Forest in a £15m deal in search of game time.
Elanga has proven to be a shrewd signing for Forest, having recorded four goals and six assists in the Premier League in 2023/24.
— Nottingham Forest (@NFFC) December 30, 2023
No Forest player has been involved in more goals than Elanga, while his 10 goal contributions is as many as Manchester United widemen Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho, Antony and Jadon Sancho have produced combined.
Xavi Simons – RB Leipzig (11)
Xavi Simons was sent on loan last summer with the midfielder having joined RB Leipzig on a season-long deal.
The Dutch midfielder had earlier re-signed for Paris Saint-Germain after a breakthrough season at PSV Eindhoven, where the 20-year-old ended last season as the joint-leading scorer in the Eredivisie.
Simons has continued to enhance his growing reputation in German football, with 11 goal involvements in the Bundesliga for Leipzig. He has added a further four goals and assists in the Champions League’s group stage, as Leipzig qualified for the last 16.
His creativity and goal threat has been a big boost to Leipzig, following the summer exits of Christopher Nkunku and Dominik Szoboszlai to the Premier League.
Florian Wirtz – Bayer Leverkusen (12)
Florian Wirtz appears to have put his injury problems behind him to re-cement his reputation as one of the best young talents in Europe.
The 20-year-old has been the creative spark of a Bayer Leverkusen side thriving under Xabi Alonso, with the German side top of the Bundesliga and unbeaten as we reach the winter break.
Wirtz has fashioned opportunities for his teammates with regularity, carving out chances of which Victor Boniface has been the biggest beneficiary. The midfielder has 19 goals and assists in 19 starts across all competitions this season, 12 of which have come in the Bundesliga.
Arguably the jewel of German football, alongside Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala.
Cole Palmer – Chelsea (12)
Cole Palmer has the joint-second most goal involvements of players aged 21 or under in Europe’s big leagues this season, having reached a dozen Premier League goals and assists at the weekend.
Palmer was directly involved in all three goals as Chelsea won 3-2 at Luton, scoring a brilliant brace at Kenilworth Road.
Having failed to break into the Manchester City side last season, Palmer signed for Chelsea last summer and has gone from strength to strength at Stamford Bridge.
Ice cold. ❄️ pic.twitter.com/qXa2i5FPts
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 31, 2023
He made his senior England debut in November, and on current form will be confident of breaking into Gareth Southgate’s plans for next summer’s European Championship. Palmer is averaging a goal or assist every 95 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid (15)
Jude Bellingham is out in front on this list, following a stunning start to his career at Real Madrid.
Bellingham turned down approaches from the Premier League in favour of a switch to Spain, and has made an instant impact despite the pressure of the all-white colours.
Jude Bellingham (15) is the only under-21 player in Europe’s top five leagues with more goal contributions this season than Cole Palmer (12) 👏
The English youngsters are 𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 🏴💫 pic.twitter.com/jjulvjgM2i
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) December 31, 2023
The 20-year-old is the leading scorer in La Liga (13) and has netted 17 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions. He will be the key for England at Euro 2024.