Signing a player based largely upon a successful tournament is always a risky venture – Karel Poborsky anyone? – not to mention a costly exercise due to their inflated value.
The fact remains however that there will be at least a couple of future Premier League stars who will be born in the Euro spotlight and already it is becoming apparent who these might be. Yes the players below will all have been previously scouted thoroughly and indeed their names have probably resided on club’s short-lists for some considerable time but sometimes it takes a couple of impressive performances on the main stage to prompt chairmen to open up their chequebooks.
Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow and Russia) – The 21 year old began the tournament as one to watch and he’s lived up to the billing with a dazzling two-goal display against the Czechs followed by a cute flicked header that broke Polish hearts. Russia may have now exited the Euros but their youngest ever debutant has fulfilled his wish to place himself firmly in the shop window with the sharp, scampering attacker saying recently, ‘Of course, I have the desire to try myself in other clubs in Europe. But I’ll think about it only after the tournament. Now I’m doing my own job here.’
It was a job well done.
Who should take the punt – Showing no signs of being once bitten, twice shy following Arshavin’s dramatic fall from grace Arsenal are reported to be extremely keen with the figure of £13m mooted for a player who is out of contract in December.
Mathieu Debuchy (Lille and France) – In just 180 minutes of football Debuchy has already been a revelation with his ceaseless marauding down the French right flank, often proving to be one of their most potent attacking options whilst always tenacious in his defending. Any wide player that gives Ashley Cole such a work-out will always be noticed – for an opposing full-back to do it, hemming him back and causing untold nightmares has really made people sit up and notice. The 25 year old is a graduate of the respected Lille academy and began his career as a deep-lying playmaker before being switched to his present berth where he’s been in sensational form in Ligue 1 for several seasons. Now it seems a move across the channel is imminent.
Who should take the punt – Was the latest on Graham Carr’s list of hidden continental gems and Newcastle were preparing a bargain swoop before Chelsea entered the fray and appear to have muscled the Toon out of it. The £6m fee will be a steal for a player of his qualities and a huge advance on Jose Bosingwa.
Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg and Croatia) – With every strike the Croatian’s value rises another million and David Moyes must be tearing his coppery hair out as Everton have been following the hit man for some considerable time. Viewing him as the ideal foil for his international partner Jelavic and available for the ‘fair price’ of between £7-8m (depending on differing reports) has the 26 year old fired his way beyond the Toffee’s financial restrictions?
Prior to the tournament there were lingering doubts about whether Mandzukic could make an impact at the highest level. With three in two games he’s certainly proving his critics wrong this summer as he now hunts down the Golden Boot.
Who should take the punt – Assuming Wolfsburg don’t get greedy based upon the striker’s eye-catching displays then Everton are expected to make their move.
Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kyiv and Ukraine) – Has thus far failed to ignite as hoped but the heir to Shevchenko’s throne has still shown glimpses of his twinkling talent down the Ukrainian left. His pacy forays for Kyiv in their Europa Cup games alerted some of Europe’s elite clubs but he won’t come cheap – Milan are reputed to have seen a £18m bid rejected out of hand.
Who should take the punt – Considering his age and position Arsenal have predictably been linked. Should Bale move to City expect Spurs to come into the mix too for a player half the Welshman’s price.
William Kvist (Stuttgart and Denmark) – Calm, assured and authoritative Kvist and his childhood pal Zimling were the midfield shield that allowed another Euro stand-out star Krohn-Delhi and Bendtner to spring a surprise on the Dutch before so nearly doing likewise to the Portuguese and Germans. Having only moved to Stuttgart last season he’d be hard to dislodge and granted most English clubs will be coveting his younger, more skilful team-mate Eriksen, but if a side needs bolstering with an intelligent ball-player who is content to keep things ticking they could do a lot worse than put together a £6m bid for the player who called Van Bommel a ‘girl’ for pinching him in the tournament opener.
Who should take the punt – It would take the debating skills of Peter Ustinov to convince us that Kvist wouldn’t be a huge upgrade on Lee Cattermole.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Schalke and Greece) – The stocky youngster has been an immovable force since coming on for his sent-off name-sake in the opener to Poland. Strong in the challenge, quick and powerful with exceptional positional sense it was no coincidence that Greece looked a different proposition in that second half after being in disarray for the first 45 minutes. A potential rock on which a European chasing Premier League club can be built upon. He’s that good.
Who should take the punt – The player has stated that he dreams of playing for Manchester United. He may yet get his wish.
Eugen Polanski (Mainz and Poland) – Unlucky to have a goal ruled out against Russia that finished off a great team move Polanski went about things in an understated, no-nonsense fashion and impressed in all three games he featured. For a defensive midfielder he covers an awful lot of ground and has an astute knack of instinctively knowing when to push forward usually unnoticed until it’s too late.
Who should take the punt – A real bargain is to be had here for the 26 year old former Monchengladbach scrapper but any English club interested will have to move quick as he is destined for Lazio. With Barton’s suspension and age catching up with Derry would be a perfect bit of business of Mark Hughes at QPR.
Ludovic Obraniak (Bordeaux and Poland) – Often at the heart of all that was good and inventive about Poland’s attacking third the French-born number 10 with the exquisite left foot joined Bordeaux in January for a criminally meagre one million. Linked up brilliantly with Lewandowski and would be a classy addition to the Prem. Having spent his whole career in Ligue 1 the 27 year old would surely be tempted with the challenge.
Who should take a punt – Obraniak excels to the left of a mobile and intelligent front man such as Darren Bent. Could he prove to be Villa’s belated replacement for the much-missed Ashley Young.