Like so many major international tournaments before it, Euro 2020 could prove fertile scouting ground for clubs on the hunt for big-game pedigree. This lot are all likely to be on Premier League radars this summer.
Raphael Guerreiro, Portugal
Guerreiro and Joao Cancelo have spent their club seasons in defence, but neither Portugal star is a conventional full-back. The Borussia Dortmund left-sider is a fine passer, dribbler and creator, has also played in central midfield and will be arguably more important to Portugal in attack than defence. Guerreiro is 27 and no stranger to the rumour mill, but with BVB in financial difficulties, they could be forced to consider offers after Euro 2020. Expect a number of English clubs to form a disorderly queue if so.
Konrad Laimer, Austria
Austria were one of the biggest disappointments of Euro 2016. Tipped as potential dark horses before the tournament got underway, they were about as deadly as a stuffed toy and fell at the first hurdle without winning a game. Thankfully, Laimer has emerged as a key player for his country since then. A versatile performer who can play as a box-to-box midfielder, in the holding role, out wide or even in defence, the RB Leipzig man could be on the radar of several clubs this summer – if he’s fully fit.
Milan Skriniar, Slovakia
A former Manchester United target who was linked with Tottenham in January, the brilliant Skriniar could finally move to the Premier League after this year’s European Championship. Although he has just completed his fourth season at Inter Milan, there are doubts about whether the centre-back, 26, fits Antonio Conte’s formation – but there’s no doubt that Skriniar will have a pick of clubs if he is made available, with Spurs and the Red Devils both likely to be in the mix. Fiiight!
Manuel Locatelli, Italy
Roberto Mancini will oversee a revamped Italy squad at Euro 2020, with Locatelli among the newcomers to his line-up. The Sassuolo midfielder made his international debut only last year, but he has already emerged as a standout player for the Azzurri after some star showings. Once considered surplus at AC Milan, the deep-lying playmaker has since been linked with Real Madrid, Juventus and several Premier League sides – and at 23 years of age, he will only get better.
Jose Gaya, Spain
Last summer, Valencia made their entire first-team squad available for transfer... except for their prized, homegrown left-back. Twelve months on, however, Gaya might be keen to move away from the troubled Spanish side – although any English suitors could face stiff competition from Barcelona. A tireless runner who will bomb up and down the flank until his legs fall off, Gaya is every inch the modern full-back.
Alexander Isak, Sweden
Even with a 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in the fold, Sweden’s biggest threat is Real Sociedad’s Isak, who hit nine goals in his first six La Liga games of 2021. The 21-year-old is only an inch or two shorter than Zlatan, but rather than challenge for flick-ons, he prefers to run with the ball and sprint in behind – which could work very nicely indeed in Sweden’s preferred 4-4-2. Domestically, he has been linked with Manchester City, though a strong display this summer could lengthen his list of admirers.
Duje Caleta-Car, Croatia
The 24-year-old came close to joining Liverpool as a solution to their defensive horror show in January, and the Reds could go back in for Caleta-Car this summer. Marseille endured a turbulent season in 2020-21, but their promising Croatian centre-back – composed, commanding, confident – was a rare source of calm at the Stade Velodrome. He made only one tournament outing as his country reached the World Cup final in 2018, but is a more prominent member of the squad three years on.
Viktor Tsyhankov, Ukraine
Born in Israel as the son of a Ukrainian footballer, Tsyhankov became a tricky left-footed winger who can operate on either flank. Ukraine’s Player of the Year for 2020 has been tipped for pastures new in the near future, having spent his entire club career at Dynamo Kiev up to this point. While Tyshankov does have time on his side – he’s 23 – he would surely relish the chance to test himself in England. He wouldn’t find offers hard to come by.
Florian Neuhaus, Germany
Having been heavily linked with several sides throughout 2021, Neuhaus looks likely to leave Borussia Monchengladbach sooner rather than later. The midfielder was drafted into the Germany squad last September and has every chance of starting at Euro 2020, in spite of the intense competition for places. Neuhaus, 24, is an inventive passer who can control a game’s tempo and contribute in the final third – hence the appreciative glances from Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Ryan Gravenberch, Netherlands
Gravenberch is the latest teenage starlet from Ajax’s prolific production line. The midfield all-rounder heads into Euro 2020 on the back of a terrific season at club level, and even at 18 he could be an important member of the Oranje squad, having been called up last November. If you believe what you read in the papers, Manchester United reportedly view young Gravenberch – who is 6ft 3in but primarily a dynamic creator who excels at carrying the ball upfield – as a potential Paul Pogba replacement.
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