Five Young Stars In The Shop Window At Euro 2016
There’s more money changing hands than ever before across Europe’s top clubs and with several potential recruits taking to the shop window this summer, it is certain to be a hectic transfer window ahead of next season.
We have taken a look at five youngsters set to star at the Euro 2016 Finals and more than likely find themselves scribbled on the notepads of Europe’s top scouts watching from the stands in July.
Alen Halilovic – Croatia
One of Europe’s hottest young properties, Croatia’s Alen Halilovic was born on the day that England were destroying Holland at Wembley in Euro ’96.
Five tournaments later and Halilovic looks set to make a name for himself at the finals in France having become Croatia’s youngest ever player when making his debut aged 16.
His international bow put him in front of prying eyes and it was Barcelona who pounced to snap up the Dinamo Zagreb forward as an 18 year old with 7 top flight goals already to his name in Croatia. This season they have sent him on loan to Sporting Gijon, where at 19 he has gained vital experience playing regularly in a top league, scoring 3 goals and setting up another 5.
Predictably dubbed ‘The Croatian Messi’ in Catalan quarters, it’s not difficult to see why judging by the video above and his penchant for a nutmeg. A good showing at the Euros would make it difficult for suitors to prise this youngster from Luis Enrique’s grasp at the Camp Nou.
Dele Alli – England
It’s been a rags-to-riches story for the Spurs man who began his footballing career as an 11 year-old in the youth system at Milton Keynes Dons.
His first professional appearance came as a 16 year-old in an FA Cup tie against Cambridge City in the lowly dwellings of Histon FC’s Glassworld Stadium. Four years later he looks set to play a key role on the biggest stage in England’s bid for a second major trophy. Not to mention his involvement in a title race with Tottenham Hotspur.
Should England finally banish their major tournament blues, Dele Alli’s understanding with teammate Harry Kane may well have formed the basis of success. He looks set to form part of England’s midfield in years to come and has already announced himself on the international stage with a wondergoal against France at Wembley in November.
Another worldy and goal of the season contender followed in January against Crystal Palace when back on club duty and should he continue such form in France, expect Daniel Levy’s inbox to be cluttered with offers come August.
Bernardo Silva – Portugal
Aged 21, Silva has been plying his trade in France’s Ligue 1 with Monaco since a move from Benfica which became permanent in January 2015.
In Summer 2015 he almost tasted success at the U-21 version of the European Championships, when only a penalty shootout defeat to Sweden denied Portugal’s youngsters the mantle of Europe’s best young side.
Silva however did make the team of the tournament and won two Man of the Match awards at the finals last summer in the Czech Republic.
Since then he has appeared at the end of Portugal’s senior qualifying campaign and also started on the right side of a front 3 in their two most recent friendlies, so we expect this little number 10 to be competing for a starting spot in France in June.
There has been a heavy link with Juventus and there were reports last month that a deal is already in place, however it is also worth noting his name was popular in the gossip columns when Jose Mourinho still held a position of authority at Chelsea. So a move to Manchester wouldn’t be out of the question either should a certain managerial change come to pass in the red half of England’s second city.
Leroy Sane – Germany
The Schalke starlet has been attracting interest from a stellar cast of European clubs since his stunning goal against Real Madrid last season on his first ever Champions League appearance.
It was a game that alerted Europe’s top scouts and his performances in Schalke’s attacking midfield positions since have put a massive price tag on his head even before he takes to the shop window in France.
Schalke director Horst Heldt said in October that Sane was already a marked man.
There were a number of prestigious clubs contacting us about Sane and Liverpool were ready to pay money for him. These offers didn’t interest us or the player.
Whether Sane eventually does follow his teammate Joel Matip to Anfield is questionable especially if Barcelona and Real Madrid enter the auction, but the offers may be of more interest to Schalke’s director approaching the end of the transfer window should they be a bit more substantial.
Sane meanwhile may be eyeing up a mouth-watering pay rise off the back of a successful European campaign from the World Champions, if he manages to force himself to the forefront of Joachim Low’s plans.
Michy Batshuayi – Belgium
Despite an embarrassment of riches in attacking positions, yet another Belgian youth product will be putting pressure on boss Marc Wilmots for a starting berth at the Euro 2016 finals this summer.
Marseille forward Michy Batshuayi has been raising eyebrows with his performances in Ligue 1 this season with only PSG talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic being involved in more goals than this proliflic 22 year old marksman.
With 9 assists and 13 goals, he finds himself near the top of all the French stat columns this season with the likes of Zlatan, Di Maria, Cavani and Lacazzette for company.
His emergence may spell benchtime for Liverpool’s Divock Origi and despite only making 2 appearances to date for the national side, he has scored in them both. With Marseille holding out for a mega offer for their prized asset, Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham are the latest to be rumoured to be keeping a close eye on Belgium’s games this summer alongside the Republic of Ireland in Group E.