Euro 2012: Top 10 Summer Transfer Targets
With the conclusion of the Euro 2012 group stages, here are the top 10 summer transfer targets.
This article will offer a performance grade for each target and summarise their transfer situations.
Only highly touted transfer prospects are included, so if you’re a member of the Michael Krohn-Dehli fan club, apologies for excluding him.
10. Croatia: Mario Mandžukić
Wolfsburg, Centre Forward, Age: 26
Performance Grade: A
Prior to people raving about Mario Mandžukić's heading ability after two headed goals against a defensively poor Republic of Ireland, he accumulated eight headed goals in the Bundesliga.
Seemingly, the only way he could score for Wolfsburg was with his head. Yet, he isn't technically deficient like Andy Carroll, because the Croatian has lovely passing ability.
The main problem is his lack of urgency. How does a 6'1" forward, who is prolific in the air, can beat teams with his passing and shrugs off opposing centre-backs, only score 12 league goals?
Well, four goals from 101 shots in the Bundesliga is the reason why. Yes, he did score 12 goals, but eight of them were headers. Granted, he did provide eight assists, but he's still coming up short considering his ability.
Don't forget that Wolfsburg transfer-listed him, so he only played his best football when his future was on the line.
According to Charlie Dubuck at express.co.uk, Everton want to form a Mandžukić-Jelavić Croatian strike partnership.
If Wolfsburg stick to their guns, they'll only sell Mandžukić to the highest bidder, and the Toffees will be priced out.
9. Spain: Jordi Alba
Valencia, Left-Back, Age: 23
Performance Grade: B
Jordi Alba has played decently for Spain, but when the opposing team only has 30 percent of possession, it's hard to evaluate Alba's defensive prowess.
He had some minor issues dealing with Christian Maggio's direct-running style, but the Italian didn't attack Alba enough.
The Spaniard completed 78.9 percent of passes for Valencia, which has increased to 93.5 for the national team.
Barcelona is the only realistic destination for Alba because he spent seven years at La Masia.
8. Russia: Andrey Arshavin
Arsenal, Left Forward, Age: 31
Performance Grade: B+
On paper, Andrey Arshavin was a left forward, but he played as a de-facto playmaker.
He redeemed himself by lofting incisive passes left, right and centre in basically a free role—except against Greece, when he didn't show up.
After the game, Arshavin dismissed the feelings of Russian supporters: "If we did not fulfil your expectations, then honestly, these are your problems. What should we apologise for?"
Gazeta.ru (via AFP) wrote. "It is hard to imagine him saying anything that could have hurt the national team's image more."
It wasn't just any game, it was a game that unceremoniously dumped the Russians out of Euro 2012.
If Arshavin becomes a scapegoat in his homeland, Arsenal may encounter difficulties selling the Russian.
7. France: Mathieu Debuchy
Lille, Right-Back, Age: 26
Performance Grade: A
Mathieu Debuchy has been industrious going forward and solid at the back.
He kept Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in check, but the Arsenal prodigy was submissive going forward and didn't trouble the Frenchman.
Do you know who troubled England? Debuchy, because he kept exploiting the space Oxlade-Chamberlain was giving him, allowed the right-back to run at Ashley Cole.
In a 2-0 win over Ukraine, Yevhen Konoplyanka didn't take on Debuchy and was content with low-percentage shots—ironically, he made high-percentage passes.
When France were beaten 2-0 by Sweden, Emir Bajrami was better at tackling than getting past Debuchy.
Newcastle United can forget about signing Debuchy for under £5 million, especially when good full-backs come at a premium.
6. Russia: Alan Dzagoev
CSKA Moscow, Right Forward, Age: 22
Performance Grade: A-
Alan Dzagoev has been a revelation at the Euros, even though he ended the tournament on a sour note.
He wasn't that bad against Greece because he did create seven shots.
Here's some food for thought: What if Dzagoev's header had crept in as opposed to missing the far post?
Like Andrey Arshavin, Dzagoev started out wide but effectively turned into a deep-lying forward.
Given his movement, football IQ and incisive passing, he'd be a perfect fit as one of the three attacking midfielders in a 4-2-3-1.
5. Denmark: Christian Eriksen
Ajax, Attacking Midfielder, Age: 20
Performance Grade: F
Did Christian Eriksen do anything of note? His 84.6 pass-completion percentage is below par considering he didn't do anything with possession.
Michael Krohn-Dehli made himself into a hero whilst the lights were too bright for Eriksen.
When he's playing for Ajax, he produces moments that make you gasp, but he isn't ready for a big move yet.
4. Netherlands: Gregory Van Der Wiel
Ajax, Right-Back, Age: 24
Performance Grade: F
It took Cristiano Ronaldo humiliating Gregory van der Wiel to finally get the message across—van der Wiel is José Bosingwa in disguise.
Not since Moussa Sissoko has there been a player as overrated as van der Wiel.
Low football IQ, poor positional sense and no determination to fight on. Ronaldo rode van der Wiel the entire game and could have scored a double a hat-trick.
If Chelsea sign van der Wiel, the person who runs the Blues' football operations needs to be sacked on the spot.
3. France: Yann M'Vila
Rennes, Defensive Midfielder, Age: 21
Performance Grade: N/A
When Dusan Tadić hacked Yann M'Vila, Arsène Wenger was nefariously hoping that it wasn't a long-term injury but substantial enough to keep the defensive midfielder from being at his best for France.
The Rennes management must be thinking, "Why now?" M'Vila started all 38 league games yet was injured in a friendly before Euro 2012—a tournament that could have inflated his transfer stock to the nth degree.
M'Vila didn't do anything of note in a cameo against Ukraine. Against Sweden, he was decent even though his teammates were lucky not to lose by a larger margin.
He recently said:
I have heard Arsenal are interested in me. I like Arsenal and I like the Premier League. I don’t know what is happening with the clubs, but yes, I would be interested in the Premier League and Arsenal.
So pencil in M'Vila and Olivier Giroud as future Gunners.
2. Croatia: Luka Modrić
Tottenham Hotspur, Centre Midfielder, Age: 26
Performance Grade: A
Luka Modrić was at his majestic best as he controlled the tempo of Croatia's attacks.
His delightful pass fooled the Spaniards, but Ivan Rakitić failed with his header—if only it fell to Mario Mandžukić.
Harry Redknapp's dismissal from Spurs could give Modrić the perfect excuse to leave.
1. Netherlands: Robin Van Persie
Arsenal, Centre Forward, Age: 28
Performance Grade: D
Somewhere in the world, there was an Arsenal supporter sticking a pin into a Robin van Persie voodoo doll every time the Dutchman shaped up for a shot.
One goal from 15 shots. Pathetic.
He was anonymous during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and inefficient during Euro 2012.
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross once commented on the human race:
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
Ashley Cole, Alexander Hleb, Cesc Fàbregas, Mathieu Flamini and Samir Nasri revealed their true traitorous selves. Will van Persie be the same?
Arsenal stood by him when he suffered a fractured metatarsal, a knee ligament tear and ruptured ankle ligaments.
Robin, show some loyalty.