Scouting Spotlight: Antonio Sanabria, Max Philipp, Pione Sisto

Which players are attracting attention in Europe's biggest leagues? Introducing Scouting Spotlight, looking at three players each week whose performances are making headlines ...

Antonio Sanabria -- Real Betis

Tipped for a bright future by Francesco Totti in 2014, Sanabria spent his formative years at Roma and Barcelona. He announced his potential during an impressive loan spell at Sporting Gijon in 2015-16, before signing for Real Betis last year.

Playing style

A striker with poise and a poacher's instinct, Sanabria is most effective inside the penalty area where his aerial talent, despite being under 6-foot, poses a problem for defenders.

The 21-year-old's movement, which he demonstrated with a back-post run to open the scoring in Betis' 4-0 win over Levante at the weekend, is one of his biggest strengths, although he isn't what you would term a natural goal-scorer.

Sanabria has never scored in more than two successive appearances in his career, but he could break that duck in his next match after goals against Levante and Real Madrid.

He can have a tendency to drift out of games, with his link-up play lacking in deeper positions.


Sanabria's brace at the weekend, courtesy of two typical penalty box finishes, followed a 94th minute winner at the Bernabeu five days earlier when he evaded Sergio Ramos to plant a firm header into the corner.

The Paraguayan's goal allowed Betis to avenge recent 6-1 and 5-0 thrashings by Real Madrid, and reminded everyone of his ability after a slow start in Andalusia.

The 2015-16 campaign saw Sanabria break a number of records as he scored 11 strikes in 29 games for Sporting Gijon, but the challenge for current coach Quique Setien is to eke more consistency out of a forward who managed just five goals in all competitions last season.

Where would he fit in?

After being prised from Barcelona's B team by Sassuolo, and then moving on to Roma, Sanabria was strongly linked to Tottenham in 2016 after his breakthrough season at Sporting. Speculation has quietened recently, however, and the youngster's main focus is to help Betis maintain their solid start in La Liga.

Max Philipp -- Borussia Dortmund

Dubbed the next Marco Reus, Maximilian Philipp has already proved to be a shrewd acquisition for Dortmund following his €20m move from Freiburg in the summer. Despite being made to wait for his first Germany cap, he could play his way into Joachim Low's World Cup squad if he maintains his current form.

Playing style

A direct forward with excellent close control and sharp movement around the box, Philipp's versatility is perfectly suited to Dortmund's attacking style and allows him to play across the front three.

The 23-year-old has a keen eye for goal and likes to drift into central areas to seek out opportunities, which he is capable of dispatching with either foot.

Philipp can often look to be on the periphery of the game, waiting patiently for his moment to take control and demonstrate his growing understanding with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

He can be easily dispossessed on occasion but rather than measured build-up play, his game is more about finding pockets of space in the final third in which to have a devastating impact.


Philipp's 17 goals and 11 assists for Freiburg over the past two seasons alerted Dortmund to his talent, and the Berlin-born forward has settled quickly at the Westfalenstadion.

He scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing of FC Köln, while another brace and an assist for Aubameyang helped Dortmund continue their unbeaten start in the Bundesliga with a 6-1 demolition of Borussia Monchengladbach.

Where would he fit in?

With Jose Mourinho known to be in the market for a wide forward next summer, Philipp possesses the direct qualities the Manchester United boss admires in an attacker.

Philipp has said he sees the Bundesliga as a stronger competition than the Premier League, however, and after fighting off competition from Tottenham and RB Leipzig last summer, Dortmund are unlikely to let him leave so early into a five-year deal.

Pione Sisto -- Celta Vigo

Sisto first made a name for himself at FC Midtjylland, scoring a stunning goal against Manchester United in the Europa League on the night Marcus Rashford grabbed a brace on his debut at Old Trafford. He moved to Celta Vigo in 2016 and became a regular for the La Liga club in his first season in Spain.

Playing style

A speedy, agile winger with quick feet, Sisto's burst of acceleration enables him to fly past opposing full-backs. He is fond of a trick or two, using his strength and low centre of gravity to shield the ball, but he can be let down by the accuracy of his final pass.

The 22-year-old likes to drive in-field in search of shooting chances and relishes having to work his way out of tight spaces. His dead-ball deliveries are another asset for a Celta side that has scored the second-highest number of goals from set-pieces in La Liga.


After scoring six goals for Celta last season, including a smart finish in a 4-3 win against Barcelona, Sisto has wasted no time in making an impact in the current campaign.

The Ugandan-born Denmark international has claimed two goals and three assists so far, tormenting Eibar in a 4-0 victory at the weekend by setting up two strikes and scoring a free-kick that sailed beyond everyone into the corner.

With 19 goals in 90 league games for Midtjylland, Sisto's goal-scoring pedigree is obvious, but he will want to improve on his return so far for Celta.

Where would he fit in?

Slaven Bilic confirmed that West Ham were close to signing Sisto in 2015, but the forward decided to stay in Denmark for another year.

Everton and Leicester have also been credited with an interest, but the youngster has set his sights on earning a move to Barcelona, the club he has supported since childhood.