Euro 2012: Top 10 Players Whose Stock Rose at the Tournament
As is always the case with international tournaments, Euro 2012 staged the platform for players to prove themselves on a scale that seldom comes around for many.
The competition showed us some players, both young and old, who were relatively unknown up until May but by the time the end of the tournament rolls around in July, find themselves being chased by clubs from over the world.
This countdown lists which stars benefited most from the publicity that has been Euro 2012 based on how much they will have been sought after before as opposed to after.
While some superstars undoubtedly found that the Poland and Ukraine finals didn’t damage their price tag, the 10 players included may not be established household names but may be in the future thanks to the European Championships.
As is only polite, hosts Poland find themselves with a starting berth on this countdown after a stern performance in their tournament, a factor that was helped greatly by the performances of Eugen Polanski.
The Mainz anchorman played around 230 of Poland’s 270 minutes in Euro 2012, and while his Bundesliga season may not have panned out as he and his teammates would have hoped, Polanski was a very visible presence for the hosts.
Operating from a defensive midfield position, the 26-year-old showed that his no-nonsense approach to opponents was an effective one, doing particularly well in the 1-1 draw against Russia.
With Blaszczykowski and Lewandowski operating in attack, Poland's offence was taken care of but it was always their defence where the problems were going to lie.
Polanski provided a fearsome link between defence and midfield and while stopping the assaults of the opposition was a priority, he also displayed some neat passing skills going forward.
After playing the role of super-sub in the tournament opener against Poland, Fernando Santos didn't make the mistake of not starting Dimitris Salpingidis again in Euro 2012, and the winger went on to be arguable Greece's man of the tournament as they found themselves knocked out at the quarterfinal stage.
The PAOK attacker is yet to play outside of his native Greece in his career, but at the age of 30, may consider a final move abroad before that playing career comes to an end.
However, Saplingidis, along with others at the tournament, proved that age is just a number and, given his energetic displays and the fact that he finished Euro 2012 as his nation's top goal scorer, could still be worth a punt.
Salpingidis may be a familiar name to those who remember him scoring for PAOK against Tottenham Hotspur in a Europa League tie last season.
Wigan Athletic have been linked with a move for the veteran (as reported by the Daily Mail).
While Alan Dzagoev may already be a familiar name to some, his inclusion on this list is certainly justified as Euro 2012 certainly didn't do anything bad for his price tag.
That being said, his contract runs out in December of this year and you can bet that the amount of clubs chasing him will have risen significantly as a result of his exploits in the tournament.
The playmaker may be just 22 years old but he was Russia's leading man in the tournament and, up until their shocking exit from, was on track to make a very realistic challenge for the Golden Boot award.
Dzagoev netted three goals in his first two matches at a major international tournament and was also a constant catalyst for those around him to get forward and attack.
Arsenal have been linked with the youngster and given his miniscule price tag (any club would only have to pay a signing-on fee should he join on a Bosman free transfer), you can bet that the race for his signature will be a hotly-contested one.
Missing only two minutes of the Czech Republic's Euro 2012 finals tournament, Václav Pilar has officially emerged as one of the nation's brightest talents after shining in Poland and Ukraine.
The 23-year-old agreed a move to Wolfsburg in November 2011 after impressing during a loan spell at Viktoria Plzen but was still an unknown quantity coming into Euro 2012.
However, with his country's participation in the competition now over, it's easy to see why the German outfit had so much interest in the speedster, who scored the Czech Republic's sole goal in the 4-1 defeat to Russia.
Following his nippy exploits down the wings, we may see a lot more of this wide talent in the future. For now it appears Wolfsburg conducted some sound business in snatching his signature last year, before interest in his signature blew up as a result of Euro 2012.
Denmark's joint top scorer at Euro 2012, Michael Krohn-Dehli certainly did leave it late in his career to show that he is capable of a much higher standard of play than Brøndby.
Following his appointment at Swansea City, Michael Laudrup has been swift to link himself with a move for fellow Dane, Krohn-Dehli (as reported by the BBC) and may choose to invest in his compatriot this summer.
In 34 starts for Brøndby last season, Krohn-Dehli scored 10 goals and registered eight assists, but it was in Poland and Ukraine where the attacker showed the damage that he can really do.
Denmark's shock opening victory over Holland was a great start to the tournament and one that Krohn-Dehli played a massive hand in, but the wideman was consistently impressive during his nation's entire run in the competition and did more than enough to court the interest of some European clubs.
Having just agreed a move to German titans, Bayern Munich, it's fair to say that Euro 2012 did absolutely nothing to tarnish the reputation of Mario Mandžukić.
The lanky attacker was almost always certain to leave Wolfsburg this summer after falling out with the club's hierarchy, but Bayern will have certainly raised their eyebrows slightly more after seeing the striker play so well at the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
Netting thrice in two matches at the tournament, Mandžukić's quality heading was a huge role in why Croatia once staked a big claim in progressing from Group C instead of Italy or even Spain.
It's uncertain how much playing time the 6'1" forward will get in his new surroundings of the Allianz Arena, but he will certainly thank Euro 2012 for boosting his estimations in the eyes of others.
Newcastle United will rue the day that Mathieu Debuchy played a role in France's Euro 2012 campaign after the Lille defender featured so well for Les Bleus in Poland and Ukraine.
Prior to the tournament, Debuchy was being touted as the Magpies replacement for the departing Danny Simpson (as reported by Metro).
However, following some impressive displays at Euro 2012, the north-east club may find themselves priced out of a move for the Lille star after it emerged that Chelsea were also interested (as reported by the Daily Mail).
Debuchy's reported price tag of £6m may increase as a direct result of his European exploits and his days at Lille certainly look all the more numbered.
After playing the role of England executioner, West Ham supporters will have grown slightly more disgusted at the sight of their former flamboyant winger, Alessandro Diamanti.
That being said, Diamanti's recent displays in Poland and Ukraine have been the caliber of a player much more valuable than the attacker's past transfer prices signify.
The Hammers sold Diamanti to Brescia for just £2.5m, who subsequently sold the speedster to Bologna for little over £1m.
At 29, Diamanti may hold little in terms of sell-on value but Euro 2012 has been a testament that the attacking playmaker still has a lot to offer, although Bologna state that their star is not for sale.
With almost the entirety of the German squad already in the transfer grapevines of the world, Lars Bender came into this tournament as one of the more understated members of Die Mannschaft.
However, the 23-year-old was highly impressive in his first major international tournament and is unfortunate to be playing as a central midfielder for a nation that has such a massive wealth of talent in that position.
That being said, Bender played his first minutes for the side in his second position of right-back—where he has played for Bayer Leverkusen—and may consider making it his primary after impressing so much in defence.
The youngster kept Germany's 100 percent group stage winning record alive with his match winner against Denmark, and his versatility will certainly have alerted some top outfits as to his presence.
Plying their trade in their native leagues, a vast majority of the Ukrainian squad's announcements will have been met with a resounding response of "Who?"—Yevhen Konoplyanka included.
However, the right-footed left winger was a breath of fresh air for the host nation, and while they may not have proceeded past the group stage this time around, the 22-year-old is a sign of good things to come for the nation.
In 26 league starts for Dnipro last season, Konoplyanka scored eight goals and recorded eight assists—a decent return by the standards of any winger.
GiveMeFootball report that a host of elite Premier League outfits want the services of Konoplyanka and following some technically proficient performances at Euro 2012, a transfer could soon come to materialise.