5 Players Whose Stocks Have Exploded Following Euro 2020
With an unforgettable Italian triumph at Wembley Stadium, we’ve now concluded what’s been an unbelievable tournament that's once again demonstrated the thrills and drama of international football.
Every nation will look back at this campaign with either fond memories or memories which would be better off forgotten.
For now though, let’s look at the players who made a name for themselves on Europe’s biggest stage, and who’s form could propel their career to another stratosphere, or perhaps give them one last precious international memory as they enter their twilight.
What a resurgence for Granit Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder was once labelled a flop, no-good and wasting a spot in the Arsenal midfield. However, this tournament has shown that if used properly, he’s an immensely valuable player. Spraying 40-yard balls left, right and centre, breaking up play and being that inspirational leader, he propelled an under-appreciated Swiss team all the way to the quarters, knocking out France and almost doing the same to Spain in the process.
Xhaka’s tournament was encapsulated in the infamous game against the reigning World Cup champs. He captained his side to an incredible victory over the tournament favourites and played one hell of a game at that. He led the game for progressive passes with 9, passes into the final third with 15 and provided that brilliant assist for Gavranović which levelled the game in stoppage time.
With a transfer to Roma imminent, his latest value by Transfermarkt has him at 22 million pounds, but his Euro 2020 campaign has proved he is still more than capable of playing at the highest level. He would be the perfect addition to a Jose Mourinho side whose heavy emphasis on defence and counter attacks would suit his ball-playing ability to a tee.
“Has anyone noticed what an 18-year-old boy named Pedri has done in the Euros? Not even Don Andres Iniesta has done it.” High praise from gaffer Luiz Enrique after Spain's heartbreaking semi-final loss to Italy on penalties. In that phenomenal match, Barcelona’s Pedri completed 61 of his 62 passes and was the heartbeat of the Spain midfield alongside Dani Olmo. The 18-year-old has exploded on the scene this tournament and has shown that Barcelona's future is in good hands (on the pitch at least).
His game against the Swiss was his standout where he had a game-high 8 shots creating actions and 5 key passes. His 15 passes into the final third and 12 progressive passes both ranked in the upper echelons with the Canary Islands-born youngster proving his class in a high-pressure scenario.
His sale from Barcelona will be highly unlikely considering their tendency to keep younger Spanish players. And, their current situation requires a massive wage turnover, so the sale of Pedri isn't something that will fix a dire situation. A 70 million value ranks him as the highest valued player born in 2002. Quite simply, we’re looking at a future superstar of the game.
With no Zlatan Ibrahimović in this campaign, Sweden needed another star to take this team on their back and carry them. And a man by the name of Emil Forsberg stuck his hand out and took the mantle.
His campaign was typified by his exhilarating performance in their last group game against Poland where his 2 goals sealed top spot and pushed Spain into the more difficult half of the draw.
As Well as Forsberg’s 2 goals, he was the catalyst for all Swedish attacks, 4 progressive carries and dragging defenders out of position which allowed the likes of Dejan Kulusevski and Alexander Isak to have a major impact on the game.
Valued at 20 million by transfermarkt, he will be a vital cog for the RB Leipzig going forward, so don't expect him to make a move in the transfer window based on this performance alone.
With that said, expect future opponents to take even more notice of a player who doesn't have the flashy name or big reputation, but a clinical and efficient creator and finisher who is more than capable of taking a team on his back.
Heading back to Switzerland, Yann Sommer was the impenetrable brick wall that inspired the Swiss to an unforgettable Round of 16 victory over France. He faced the most shots on target of any goalkeeper in this tournament and stood up big time when his nation needed him most.
In what was arguably the moment of the tournament, the Swiss came from 3-1 down against the French to send the game to penalties. The 5th penalty taker, Kylian Mbappe faces Yann Sommer, and he must score to keep the world champs in the tournament, and he is denied by the Swiss superman. This moment of brilliance overshadowed an excellent tournament by the Swiss shot-stopper, as his 70% save percentage has him ranked 9th, while his 22 saves ranks him top.
The 32-year-old will most likely stay put at Borussia Monchengladbach for the foreseeable future, however he’s proven that once his contract is up at the end of the 2022/23 season, he’d make for an astute signing if someone gets their hands on him.
Mikkel Damsgaard came into this Danish side in the most traumatic circumstances. Replacing Christian Eriksen, he had massive expectations to fill, and he did so in spades. His 2 goals and only 1 assist don't do justice to how truly incredible his performances were.
Firstly, his goals were stunning. His first against Russia was a coolly taken, sublime finish. And his second against England was arguably the goal of the tournament. In a semi-final, to produce that strike at only 21 years of age is truly unbelievable.
The only signing for Sampdoria last season, it’s only a matter of time until a major European club takes him off their hands. With a market value of only 13 million according to transfermarkt, that’s an absolute steal for someone who’s shown he’s capable on the world stage, versatile in different positions and has the poise and composure of a seasoned veteran
He was laughed at by some in the English media, however he scored England's first 3 goals at the tournament and has now proved himself to be undroppable under Gareth Southgate.
His tournament ended early through a heartbreaking Achilles injury, but before that, he was instrumental in the way Italy played. Bombing on from that left-hand side, getting beyond Insigne and posing a major threat for each defence he came up against.
A relative unknown before the tournament started, he’s become a household name in a matter of weeks through his incredibly good performances. He has become one of the Danish’s most dangerous attacking threats, with his 60 progressive carries (ranking 3rd in the tournament) testament to that.
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