Prem Bound? Spanish striker and four others impressing at Euro 2016
Every side at Euro 2016 has now played at least twice, and that means we’ve had plenty of opportunities to spot the breakout stars and established talents who are continuing to shine in France this summer.
Managers across the Premier League are bound to be watching too, but just in case they’ve skipped some of the action – here are five players who could be heading to England this summer, and the clubs they’d be a perfect fit for.
LW: Nolito (Celta de Vigo & Spain)
It’s less than two years since the Celta man made his Spain debut, but the 29-year-old is now one of the first names on Vicente Del Bosque’s teamsheet.
And with good reason. His sensational cross set up Alvaro Morata’s opener against Turkey on Friday night before he grabbed a calmly-taken second in a 3-0 triumph for La Furia Roja.
He heads into the final group game against Croatia on the back of five goals in as many games for Spain. And having grabbed a brace in two of his last five international appearances, he looks well worth backing to score twice or more here at 16/1.
His superb delivery could well benefit a Tottenham side who had the second-worst record from crosses last season, but it’s Manchester City currently leading the race to sign the player.
Transfermarkt.co.uk valuation: £11.25m / Potential Prem Clubs: Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham
CF: Milan Skoda (Slavia Prague & Czech Republic)
The 30-year-old’s emergence on the international scene came even later than Nolito’s, with Skoda making his Czech bow in June 2015, on the back of 19 goals in 28 games in the top-flight for capital club Slavia.
And Skoda has aptly found yet another gear since making his international debut, with the beanpole striker netting both goals in the crucial 2-1 comeback win over Kazakhstan in qualifying, before his finish against Croatia last weekend drove his side on to take a point.
Physically imposing and possessing incredible prowess in the air, he’d be a great – and inexpensive – option for sides like West Brom, Burnley and Sunderland, all of whom favour a direct approach, and will produce many of their best chances from set-pieces. Any interested parties will be hoping he doesn’t further boost his value with a goal anytime against Turkey at 23/10.
Transfermarkt.co.uk valuation: £675,000 / Potential Prem Clubs: Burnley, Sunderland, West Brom
LB: Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg & Switzerland)
It’s no surprise to hear that Manchester City are looking at the Wolfsburg man, and he would certainly be an upgrade on the Citizens’ current left-back options, with Gael Clichy a fading force. Liverpool, too, could be interested, with Jurgen Klopp needing to bolster a patchy Reds defence.
Quick, skilful, and a reliable source of assists, the 23-year-old has a surprisingly mature and complete game, but with his club side Wolfsburg missing out on European football ahead of next season, he could be off.
Transfermarkt currently rates the Zurich-born defender’s value at £18.75m, but his superb displays this summer – with Schweizer Pati conceding just once in three games so far – could well see that price skyrocket.
Transfermarkt.co.uk valuation: £18.75m / Potential Prem Clubs: Liverpool, Leicester City, Man City
CM: Axel Witsel (Zenit Saint Petersburg & Belgium)
The bruising midfielder was regularly linked with a move to Old Trafford before he joined Zenit in 2012, and the Red Devils’ loss was the Russians’ gain, with Witsel leading his club side to league and cup glory in the past two seasons.
The 27-year-old possesses the best qualities of two usually separate types of midfielder. He’s imposing and tough-tackling, yet is as comfortable spraying passes around the pitch as he is doing the dirty work.
He’d be ideal to offer the steel which Arsenal lack in midfield, while a move to Chelsea could see him recreate the interplay with Hazard which is so key to Belgium’s game. And that dynamic could well be too much to handle for Sweden tomorrow night, with De Rode Duivels 5/6 for victory.
Transfermarkt.co.uk valuation: 17.25m / Potential Prem Clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham
CB: Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kyiv & Croatia)
While Vida is most often deployed in the middle of defence for club and country, pegging him down as simply a centre-back does a disservice to the versatile 27-year-old, who is equally comfortable anywhere in the backline.
Despite his physical strength, aerial threat and ability to slot into different positions, he’s surprisingly not always selected for his club side, and there has been talk that Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is interested in offering him a move to the Riverside.
Slaven Bilic could also be a potential suitor, with the West Ham United boss having given Vida his Croatia debut back in 2010. Certainly, if a starting place at a Premier League side was on offer, would a player battling for game time in the Ukrainian Premier League turn it down? You suspect not.
Transfermarkt.co.uk valuation: £5.63m / Potential Prem Clubs: Middlesbrough, Sunderland, West Ham
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.