Summer Transfer Window: 8 Players Who Have Upped Price at Euro 2012
With only the Euro 2012 final left to be played, it's time we begin preparing to say goodbye to one of world football's greatest tournaments for another two years.
We've seen epic tactical clashes, great skill, incredible upsets and remarkable consistency from some of the giants of the game.
But not all is lost. For like every major international competition, Euro 2012 has unearthed some major world football talents and given lesser-known talents the opportunity to broadcast their ability on the world stage.
As a result, in the aftermath of Euro 2012, we can expect a number of Euro 2012's biggest stars to become hot commodities on the transfer market and maybe even secure a big move to a club they would've never been known to otherwise.
Who are these stars? Read on to find out.
Many people had Alan Dzagoev as an outside shot for Player of the Tournament after his brilliant start to the tournament against the Czech Republic and his impressive outing against Poland.
Unfortunately, he was let down by his teammates (and, to an extent, by his coach) in Russia's final group match vs. Greece. The world was robbed of a chance to see more of Russia's newest talent's repertoire of tricks and skills.
Nevertheless, even in the loss to Greece, Dzagoev was one of Russia's most persistent danger men, and he arguably produced the best chances of any of Russia's attackers.
Dzagoev entered the tournament off another respectable campaign with CSKA Moscow, but upon Russia's exit from the tournament, many have called on Dzagoev to move on to one of football's big boys, saying he's too big to remain in the Russian Premier League.
For now, the Daily Mail reports heavy interest from Arsenal only, but I wouldn't rule out a late swoop from some of the English Premier League's other big clubs.
On the topic of Arsenal, and talented Russia attackers, Arshavin gave an excellent representation of his skills and ability at Euro 2012, despite Russia's short stay in the tournament.
Whereas Dzagoev handled the scoring, Arshavin handled the playmaking, and the Russian still remains the top assist-maker with three assists, all recorded in Russia's first two games.
Despite his performances, Arsene Wenger seems keen to sell high, and it has been reported by The Daily Star that Arshavin will likely be sold back to Zenit for £8 million. It's not a huge figure, but for a player who many thought was worthless at Arsenal, it's a decent sum of money.
Croatia were another good team that crashed out early. Mario Mandzukic was easily the team's breakout star, scoring three goals in Group C's first two games. Here's what Tony Lucadamo of B/R had to say about the striker:
The Croatian version of "Super Mario" scored three times in group play. That kind of output was enough to turn heads across Europe.
Will he get much playing time at Bayern Munich? Unlikely. But I'll guarantee you that Bayern would not have been as keen to wrap up a deal for him with Wolfsburg if it wasn't for his Euro 2012 performances.
Theodor Gebre Selassie
Here's your classic Euro 2012 zero-to-somebody story.
A defender playing in a small club in his domestic league shines on the international stage and gets picked up by a team well-respected in European football.
Theodor Gebre Selassie, earning his place in the Czech Republic team after good performances in the Czech league as a right-back, was signed by Werder Bremen for roughly €2 million.
He'll represent a major upgrade for Bremen at right-back, while Bremen will give him the opportunity to make much more money, get much more exposure and become a regular for the Czech national team.
A win-win for all involved.
Denmark's defense was terrific at Euro 2012. Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger were an impenetrable wall in the middle of Denmark's defense, and attackers didn't have much luck attacking down the flanks either.
One full-back, Simon Poulsen, really stood out for Denmark. Poulsen was excellent in defense, but his offensive work is what really made him shine. He completed the most key passes of any of his teammates and linked up excellent with Michael Krohn-Dehli.
Simon Poulsen may have upped his transfer value with his performances at Euro 2012, but Michael Krohn-Dehli was hands-down the best Danish player in the tournament. He scored the winner against the Netherlands and brought his team back in the game against Germany.
He also assisted with one of Nicklas Bendtner's two goals against Portugal and was the team's second-highest shot-taker after Bendtner.
According to The Sun, Michael Laudrup has made Krohn-Dehli one of his top transfer targets at Swansea City, and I expect he'll succeed in the EPL if he does make the move from the Danish league.
Tony Lacadamo breaks it down for us:
Moutinho has been world-class in the center of the pitch. Just about all of the movement in the final third goes through the Porto talisman.
The Portuguese midfielder notched two assists in the competition. However, the majority of his impact goes on off the stat sheet.
In truth, there has been, at most, two to three midfielders who have been better than Moutinho at Euro 2012. After them, Moutinho has proven his ability to handle nearly every aspect of the game, and I can't imagine that he'll still be with Porto come the start of the season.
Heading into this tournament, there were a lot of doubts about Mario Balotelli. Of course, there were the usual doubts about his attitude and temperament, but for the first time in a long time, there were doubts about his ability.
With the intense competition at Manchester City, Balotelli had seen a decrease in playing time in favor of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, and there was a very real risk that Roberto Mancini might try and cut his losses with the Italian by bringing in another big-name striker like Robin van Persie (via the Daily Mail).
But against Germany, Balotelli reminded us all why we're so patient with him, why managers like Mancini, who are repeatedly infuriated by his antics, put up with all of it: Because he's one of the world's most brilliant strikers.
Against Germany, Balotelli proved that he does learn, that he does work hard and that's passionate. He proved, to Mancini and everyone else, that he does learn.
And so, at this point, Mancini would be foolish to try and find a replacement for Balotelli. The Italian is on the path to becoming one of world football's greatest strikers, and Mancini would be foolish to stand in his way.