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Most improved players 2023/24: Arsenal target Michael Kayode top, Chelsea target Assane Diao third

Tom Weber
Tom Weber

  • Updated: 4 Jan 2024 16:44 GMT
  • 4 min read
Michael Kayode, Fiorentina, Assane Diao, Real Betis
© ProShots

Like every season, 2023/24 has seen the emergence of plenty of talented players.

Be they the stars of the future or players who have finally found the right club, there are many players in world football who have massively improved this term. Many wonderkids have burst onto the scene and made names for themselves after getting a shot at first-team football in 2023/24.

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Using data provided by SciSports, we can actually quantify to some extent the level of improvement footballers have made. SciSports tracks the development of players over a six-month period and boosts or decreases their SciSkill level on the basis of that data.

Here are the five most-improved players of the 2023/24 season so far…

Michael Kayode (Fiorentina)

Michael Kayode
© ProShots – Michael Kayode

Top spot, according to SciSports, belongs to Fiorentina defender Michael Kayode, whose SciSkill has been given a whopping boost of 44 points over the past six months. This is the biggest increase of any player in the world, and by a fair margin too.

The 19-year-old right-back made his debut in senior football this season and has quickly become a mainstay in the Florence outfit’s side, providing two assists in 11 games. Had it not been for an unfortunate injury, Kayode would have more games under his belt at this point.

Given his stunning development this term, Arsenal are said to be keeping a keen eye on the Italian youngster.

Samu Omorodion (Atletico Madrid, on loan at Alaves)

Another player who only made his debut earlier in the season, Samu Omorodion was snapped up by Atletico Madrid from Granada for €6 million in the summer and sent on loan to Alaves. Shortly before his departure for Madrid and Alaves, he actually scored on his LaLiga debut for Granada. Since his switch, he has added another four goals in league play.

The 19-year-old Spaniard has received a 40-point increase from SciSports over the past six months, enough to make him the second-most-improved player in the world so far this term. It looks as though Atletico Madrid got themselves a good one.

Assane Diao (Real Betis)

Assane Diao has been one of the biggest surprises of LaLiga this season. A relative unknown before this season, he has become a regular for Real Betis. When he first emerged, he was unstoppable, scoring on his LaLiga debut and in the next game as well. He also netted in the Europa League.

The goals have since dried up a bit but he remains a player who ensnares Europe’s elite. Chelsea and Liverpool hold a long-standing interest in him, while Brentford recently emerged as a potential destination. Diao has received a 39-point SciSkill increase so far this season.

Nico Paz (Real Madrid)

Nico Paz
© ProShots – Nico Paz

A player who is not getting as much first-team game time as he should, Nico Paz is regarded as one of the biggest talents in world football. The 19-year-old Castilla product has only made substitute appearances for Real Madrid so far this season and this has led to some criticism of Carlo Ancelotti.

Many feel Paz should be getting more game time with Los Blancos’ seniors as he is the biggest locally-produced prospect currently at the club. His development this term – scoring once in the Champions League and seven times for Castilla – sees the attacking midfielder sit fourth on the list of most improved players with an increase of 37.5 points.

Rikelme (Cuiaba)

Our final player is our first player based outside of Europe. Cuiaba‘s Rikelme has been handed a 37.4 SciSkill boost over the past six months by SciSports. The 20-year-old left-back was a regular for Cuiaba in Brazil’s Serie A in 2023, notching one goal and an assist in 31 fixtures.

The Brazilian narrowly beats out competition from Valencia’s Fran Perez. Barcelona starboy Lamine Yamal makes the top ten.

Top 5 most-improved players in 2023/24

Player Age Club SciSkill increase
Michael Kayode 19 Fiorentina 44.1
Samu Omorodion 19 Alaves 40.2
Assane Diao 18 Real Betis 39.3
Nico Paz 19 Real Madrid 37.5
Rikelme 20 Cuiaba 37.4

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