Euro 2012: Top 7 U-21 Transfer Prospects
Euro 2012 provides a perfect opportunity for players to showcase their talents. It could make or break a potential transfer to a bigger club.
This article will focus on seven under-21 talents who could move in the summer transfer window on the basis of their Euro 2012 performances.
Mario Götze won't be listed because it's highly unlikely that he'll leave Borussia Dortmund this summer. Same applies to Mario Balotelli at Manchester City.
7. Netherlands: Luciano Narsingh
Heerenveen, Right Forward, Age: 21
Bert van Marwijk must use Luciano Narsingh as an impact sub.
If a left-back is lackadaisical with his defending, Narsingh will take full advantage. He's Theo Walcott, except with higher football IQ, more accurate crossing and a killer instinct.
In a 5-0 win over Excelsior, Narsingh went past Martijn de Vries like there was no tomorrow and provided four assists—yep, four in one game.
When Nijmegen took a surprise 2-0 lead, Narsingh accumulated a hat trick of assists to ensure the game ended 4-2.
If you rewind back to the season before last, in a 2-2 draw against PSV Eindhoven, it took him six minutes to supply two assists after coming on as a substitute.
In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Carlos Alberto Parreira had an ace up his sleeve with Ronaldo. Twelve years later, Sven-Göran Eriksson included Walcott into the English squad.
On both occasions, Ronaldo and Walcott weren't used.
Van Marwijk needs to have the courage of his convictions to ignore Narsingh's inexperience and take advantage of his athleticism and world-class crossing.
6. Germany: André Schürrle
Bayer Leverkusen, Left Attacking Midfielder, Age: 21
If André Schürrle was as limited as Mohammed Abdellaoue, the German would have started in his preferred position of forward for Bayer Leverkusen.
Instead, Leverkusen expects Schürrle to conjure up his inner Pierre Littbarski and dink his way past full-backs.
He's quite good at doing that because he had the fifth highest dribblers per game average in the Bundesliga this season.
However, it would be more beneficial to his career if he started the majority of his games as a forward—like he did for Mainz.
It seems he has the Miroslav Klose syndrome where he plays better for Germany than he does for his club.
Start following Schürrle because his upside is huge.
5. Netherlands: Jetro Willems
PSV Eindhoven, Left-Back, Age: 18
Stay back and defend—that is all Jetro Willems needs to do because he didn't do that against Northern Ireland.
If Bert van Marwijk wanted a safe option, he should have gone with Alexander Büttner, Eredivisie's best left-back this season.
Van Marwijk should start Willems at left-back because playing Stijn Schaars out of position is not a risk worth taking.
4. Greece: Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Schalke, Centre-Back, Age: 20
The allure of crunching opposing forwards has seen Kyriakos Papadopoulos give away daft fouls.
However, this Bundesliga season, he won the ball back 226 times. Plus, he's only 20 years old.
During the Euro qualifiers, Avraam Papadopoulos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos were Fernando Santos' two main centre-backs. So, it's up in the air if Kyriakos will start at centre-back.
Keep an eye out for Papastathopoulos, who was imperious for Werder Bremen—kicker rated him as the Bundesliga's fourth best centre-back.
3. Russia: Alan Dzagoev
Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe
CSKA Moscow, Right Winger, Age: 21
According to transfermarkt.co.uk, Alan Dzagoev's contract expires in several months.
Surely that's a typo because there's no way CSKA Moscow is dumb enough to have not sold him if he didn't want to extend his contract.
For someone who's comfortable as a playmaker, Dzagoev has recently played as a winger for CSKA.
If Dick Advocaat persists with a 4-3-3, Dzagoev will play as a right forward, but Michael Cox at Zonal Marking noted:
Although this is a 4-3-3, it's a very different type of 4-3-3 ... Arshavin essentially becomes a playmaker, a number ten, while the highly-promising Dzagoev plays in a similar position but looks to get in advance of the striker more frequently.
2. Denmark: Christian Eriksen
Ajax, Attacking Midfielder: Age: 20
Christian Eriksen is a sublime genius because he can predict the run of his teammate and thread a perfect through ball.
Michael Laudrup's teammates used to just make blind runs on the assumption that Laudrup was intelligent enough to notice the run and accurately send in an incisive pass. Eriksen has that ability too.
If Eriksen can make the Euro Team of the Tournament from the Group of Death, his transfer value will skyrocket.
1. France: Yann M'Vila
Rennes, Defensive Midfielder, Age: 21
Cerebral is a perfect word to describe Yann M'Vila's playing style.
He completed 117 tackles yet only received two yellow cards. Oh, and factor in 94 interceptions.
He has high football IQ and exceptional positional awareness and is an improving deep-lying playmaker.
He started every single Ligue 1 game this season, yet sprained his ankle a week out from the Euros—oh, the irony.
Just to clear something up from his injury, pain wasn't the reason for his tears—he cried because he thought he'd miss the tournament.
He hasn't been ruled out of the tournament (yet), but it will impede his defensive ability.
His positioning is so good that he can avoid making 3.1 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game, yet still be a capable midfielder.
It remains to be seen if Laurent Blanc will take that risk.
What with Étienne Capoue outplaying M'Vila this season, M'Vila being arrested and now the likelihood of him playing through injury, his transfer value is falling.
Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.