The summer transfer window is in full swing and there are plenty of players who could be on the move. Here are eight players who could earn a big move this summer.
The euro best xi is the last day of the transfer window, which means that it’s time to make some big moves.
Major international tournaments typically produce a few players who go on to earn a major transfer as a result of their efforts. However, as Manchester United’s move for Czech great Karel Poborsky after Euro ’96 and Real Madrid’s €75 million acquisition of Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez after the 2014 World Cup demonstrate, basing your summer transfer business on a few excellent games may be hazardous.
The quality on display at Euro 2020 has been impressive, but which in-form players might be considered safe signings for clubs this summer?
Winger Mikkel Damsgaard (Sampdoria, Denmark)
Damsgaard may be unfamiliar to people who haven’t been paying attention to Serie A. Following an impressive first season in Italy, the technically talented midfielder has been scouted by a number of major European teams. Damsgaard makes things happen in the final third with clever dribbles or a creative pass. He’s fast and agile, comfortable with both feet and can score from distance, as he demonstrated with his stunning free kick for Denmark in the semifinal against England.
Damsgaard, 21, is most often used as a wide left midfielder by Claudio Ranieri at Sampdoria, although he is equally comfortable as an attack-minded “No. 8” in central midfield. Damsgaard will not leave Sampdoria this summer, according to president Massimo Ferrero, but things may change if bids of about €30 million come in.
Striker Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad, Sweden)
Despite failing to score in the tournament, the centre-forward displayed a mature all-around style that has been lacking for Real Sociedad at club level. In La Liga, he is mostly a goal scorer who like to play on the shoulder of defenders (he has 33 goals in 89 games over the last two seasons), but for Sweden, he tracked back, dribbled effectively on the break, and showed an excellent hold-up game.
Isak has been on the radar of major European teams since breaking through as a 16-year-old at AIK, where he won a transfer to Dortmund in 2017. Though he failed to make an impact in the Bundesliga, his newfound ability to dominate big games will undoubtedly rekindle interest. Isak, 21, signed a new five-year contract with Sociedad shortly after Sweden’s elimination from the competition, allegedly increasing his release clause from €70 million to €90 million.
Striker Patrik Schick (Bayer Leverkusen, Czech Republic)
At Euro 2020, Patrik Schick scored five goals. Getty
Scouts have been waiting for this very gifted centre-forward to go to the next level for years. Following a €14 million move to Roma, Schick had an underwhelming stint of eight goals in 58 appearances after showing early potential as a youngster at Sampdoria in 2016. With a loan to RB Leipzig, he went back on track in the Bundesliga, earning a €26.5 million transfer to Bayer Leverkusen in September 2020.
Schick demonstrated why he is so highly regarded for his finishing abilities at Euro 2020. He scored a contender for Goal of the Tournament with an attempt from the halfway line against Scotland, after which he opened his account for Czech Republic with a magnificent header (despite being marked by two opponents). He scored again against Croatia, and his opportunistic goal in the knockout stages helped to eliminate Netherlands. Despite the fact that Denmark was too strong in the quarterfinals, he volleyed in a consolation goal with his weaker foot to tie Cristiano Ronaldo for the Golden Boot with five goals (however Ronaldo’s assist would see him win it).
He is a complete centre-forward who, if his current form continues, may be a contender for the Bundesliga top scorer award next season. Who would bet against Schick, 25, being Bayern Munich’s long-term replacement for Robert Lewandowski?
Wing-back Joakim Maehle (Atalanta, Denmark)
The Danish wing-back has shown why Atalanta spent €12 million to buy him from Genk in January, and why many other elite teams in Italy, France, and Germany are obviously kicking themselves for not pursuing him more aggressively.
Tor-Kristian Karlsen is a former chief executive and sports director of AS Monaco and a Norwegian football scout and executive. He’ll be writing for ESPN on a regular basis on the business of soccer and the scouting process.
After three-and-a-half seasons of steadily increasing performances, Maehle had outgrown the Belgian division. While his solid all-around game had previously gotten him the most praise, it was his two fine goals, progressive ball carrying, one-on-one skills, and ability to deliver a delightful cross — all from an unusual left wing-back position — that got everyone talking during Denmark’s incredible run to the semifinals. He has strong competition for both wing-back positions at Atalanta, with Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens excelling, but despite interest from a number of elite clubs, it will require a price in the region of €50 million for the Italians to contemplate selling him.
Olmo, Dani (RB Leipzig, Spain)
Olmo, 23, was the country’s most consistent danger this summer in a Spain team that depends more on individual brilliance in attack than past collective-driven ones. He not only provided two great crosses in their dramatic extra-time victory against Croatia, but he also played a vital role as a “false 9” before the entrance of Alvaro Morata in their semifinal penalty shootout loss to Italy. Olmo was difficult to stop via legal methods because of his change of speed, direct running (on and off the ball), and an almost-excessive desire to shoot from in and around the penalty area.
His ability on the ball is undeniable as a Barcelona youth graduate. He exhibited great courage when he moved to Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb at the age of 16 to begin his career. Now, following a €30 million transfer to Leipzig in 2020, he’s beginning to demonstrate why he’s such a good player. The consistency and sharpness of his performances for Spain — on either side of the attack or as a roaming striker — demonstrates that he’s ready for bigger challenges, and with a reputed €75 million release clause in his contract, he’ll be extensively monitored by Europe’s top teams.
Central Midfielder Renato Sanches (Lille, Portugal)
Renato Sanches has had an eventful couple of years. Getty
Sanches has spent the last two years in exile, attempting to regain the form that earned him a €80 million transfer to Bayern Munich from Benfica after his outstanding displays for Portugal at Euro 2016, when he was only 18 years old. He struggled to regain his form after winning the Golden Boy award five years ago, and even went on loan to Swansea in 2017-18, but has since found a fresh lease of life at Lille.
Sanches has matured into a more patient and measured center midfielder after helping Lille to a surprise Ligue 1 championship victory this season. Sanches impressed at Euro 2020 with his vision, calmness on the ball, and line-splitting passes, while still being able to go out on a few characteristic offensive runs from midfield. Sanches is just 23 years old, but elite teams would be secure in the knowledge that he belongs on the greatest stage in European football because of his quality, experience (yes, experience), and intellect.
Xaver Schlager, Defensive Midfield, Xaver Schlager, Defensive Midfield, Xaver Schlager (Wolfsburg, Austria)
Schlager, 23, was one of the finest performers on an Austrian team that almost missed out on the round of 16 to Italy. Schlager tackled, retrieved the ball, and delivered it in a calm, controlled way, full of confidence following a great season with Wolfsburg.
While Marcel Sabitzer, the team’s creative midfielder, received the most of the pre-tournament attention, Schlager and Konrad Laimer, the team’s defensive midfield combination, were as outstanding. Even against a fantastic Italian midfield, both pushed, harassed, and made things difficult in the middle zones. The Austrian attackers were able to execute their pressing responsibilities high up the pitch thanks to their efforts in midfield, and Schlager’s reputation has grown significantly as teams seek for a strong anchorman to build around.
Striker Roman Yaremchuk (Gent, Ukraine)
The 6-foot-3 centre-forward was one of the talents most scouts wanted to watch during Euro 2020 after scoring 23 goals in 43 appearances for Belgian football. He made an impression with a pair of well-taken goals and a solid performance overall. Yaremchuk, 25, showed off his smart off-the-ball movement and physical strength, as well as his ability to finish from a variety of situations, much as he did at club level.
With a fantastic right-footed shot, a good hold-up game, and excellent speed, Yaremchuk may emerge as a genuine contender for a major European league team this summer, with West Ham being connected with him on many occasions.
The did italy deserve to win euro 2020 is a question that has been asked many times. Eight players who could earn a big move this summer are listed below.
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