Man Utd target among 5 set to explode in the Champions League

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Juan Manuel Iturbe may not be a recognisable name to many Manchester United fans, but the former Verona winger could be one to watch in the Champions League this term.

The Red Devils won’t feature in this year’s edition of Europe’s Premier cup competition but that shouldn’t put them or any other neutrals off switching on and tuning in to see some of the most exciting footballers on the planet.

Ahead of the first round of games in the competition we’re picked out five largely unheralded names that could go stratospheric in this season’s edition of the tournament.

Stefan Kiessling – Bayer Leverkusen

With Miroslav Klose retiring and Mario Gomez continuing to suffer on-and-off injury woes, Kiessling must surely believe his time with the German national team has come and on current form it would be difficult to argue against his inclusion in the next Die Mannschaft squad.

The German Peter Crouch has racked up nine goals in six competitive games for Leverkusen this term, including three in two games against Copenhagen in the play-off round of this tournament. Back the 30-year-old to enjoy an Indian Summer in the Champions League this term.

Iker Munian – Athletic Bilbao

Arguably the one, true, world-class player in the Athletic Club ranks, Munian was instrumental in helping the Bilbao side reach the final of the Europa League a couple of seasons back and looks primed to help them go far in the Champions League this term.

Scorer of the team’s crucial away goal in the play-off against Napoli, the 21-year-old could dazzle in games against Porto, BATE Borisov and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Vincent Aboubakar – FC Porto

Linked with a summer move to Newcastle, how Alan Pardew must wish he had recruited the 22-year-old striker, who scored 16 times in Ligue 1 for Lorient last term and moved to Lisbon for a bargain €3m fee late in the summer.

Though so far only used sparingly by Porto, two goals in a 4-1 African Nations Cup qualifying win over Ivory Coast showed he is capable of being something very special this season.

Juan Manuel Iturbe – AS Roma

A tricky Argentine attacker capable of playing on the wing or in a supporting striker role, Iturbe has naturally drawn comparisons with Lionel Messi and moved to Rome over the summer in a deal worth €22m after impressing with Hellas Verona in Serie A, where he scored eight times.

An effective dribbler with an eye for shooting from distance, Iturbe has started well for the Giallorossi this term and could be the danger man when Roma meet Liverpool.

Adrian Ramos – Borussia Dortmund

While much of the talk around Dortmund over the summer has been focused on the impact Robert Lewandowski-replacement Ciro Immobile will have, the reality is that another recently-acquired stand-in for the Pole could be the one to watch this season.

Part of the Colombia squad at the World Cup but relegated behind Jackson Martinez and Carlos Bacca in the pecking order, Adrian Ramos arrived in the Westfalenstadion having scored 16 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for Hertha Berlin.

He has started well, with two goals in two for Dortmund and could prove a dangerous goal threat against Arsenal, either from the start or off the bench  – Arsene Wenger you have been warned.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.