Top 5: South American gems

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Scouts at top European clubs are always monitoring the latest South American talent - and with good reason.

The continent consistently produces excellent players. Get them earlier enough and you can grab a real bargain. Leave it too late, like Barcelona did with Neymar, and you'll need to pay a fortune.

So, let's take a closer look at five of the most promising players currently playing in South America.

5. Geronimo Rulli | Goalkeeper | Estudiantes

Linked with: Manchester City, Barcelona

It's been a while since Argentina produced a top-class goalkeeper - although Sergio Romero has shown plenty of talent - but Estudiantes shot-stopper Geronimo Rulli could be the real deal.

The 21-year-old, who stands at 6ft 3in tall, has enjoyed an excellent 2013 - and his performances have not gone unnoticed by the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona.

Watch Rulli in action HERE

4. Leandro Paredes | Midfielder | Boca Juniors

Linked with: AS Roma, Atletico Madrid

When watching Leandro Paredes play for Boca Juniors, it's impossible not to make the comparison to teammate Juan Roman Riquelme.

The 19-year-old glides over the pitch, he is blessed with wonderful vision, he can play a pass, he can shoot from outside the box, he can take a free-kick. Heck, he even rolls his foot over the top of the ball like Riquelme.

Paredes is a joy to watch - and it won't be much longer before we see him in Europe.

Watch Paredes in action HERE

3. Angel Correa | Winger | San Lorenzo

Linked with: Arsenal

Angel Correa made the breakthrough with San Lorenzo in Argentina this year - and his impressive performances have put some of Europe's top clubs, including Arsenal, on high alert.

The 18-year-old Argentinian is an expert dribbler who can fly past opponents with his blistering pace. Although he's still very young, Correa can still pick a pass and score a goal.

Watch Correa in action HERE

2. Doria | Defender | Botafogo

Linked with: Chelsea, Juventus, Barcelona

It's no surprise that Europe's biggest clubs are keen to sign Doria, the left-footed centre-back who captained the Brazil U20 side earlier this year.

He's physically strong, quick, brave and possesses a fine footballing brain. He rarely looks troubled under pressure and reads the game superbly.

Doria also earned his first senior Brazil cap this year - and could be included in the Brazil squad for next summer's World Cup finals.

Watch Doria in action HERE

1. Eder Alvarez Balanta | Defender | River Plate

Linked with: Barcelona

But sitting top of this list of South American gems is another left-footed centre-back: the wonderfully promising Eder Alvarez Balanta, who has been compared to the great Daniel Passarella.

Alvarez Balanta has picked up multiple Man of the Match awards since making his River Plate debut in 2012 - but has not yet featured for the Colombia national team, despite being called up for the recent friendlies against Belgium and the Netherlands.

Just watch the clip below to find out why Alvarez Balanta is so highly-rated in South America.

Watch Alvarez Balanta in action HERE

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