Europa League 2013: Players Fans Want to See in Champions League

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Europa League 2013: Players Fans Want to See in Champions League
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The Europa League doesn't have the same allure as its older cousin, the Champions League, but nonetheless calls together some of the finest clubs and players that football has to offer.

One only had to watch Erik Lamela's nonchalant skills for Tottenham on Thursday to wonder what he might do for the North Londoners on the biggest stage, and the former Roma man is not alone.

Many players will already have Champions League experience to their names, while others have been flying under the European radar for some time, patiently waiting to receive their chance at the big time.

Regardless of how much they may have featured in Europe this season, the following talents are all players that fans would rather see lighting up the continent on the grandest of stages rather than settling for second best.

 

Mario Gomez

Gomez has barely had a chance to feature in Florence as a result of his injury

In an unfortunate turn of events, Fiorentina's summer signing Mario Gomez picked up a knee injury in mid-September that ensured their newly-acquired striking asset has been limited to just two Europa League appearances so far this term.

Sky Sports confirmed the news at the time:

Despite hardly featuring, however, it's hard to argue against the talents of the former Bayern Munich star, who fell behind Mario Mandzukic in the pecking order before leaving the Allianz Arena.

In 27 Champions League starts Gomez managed 26 goals and has proven himself on that platform time and again.

La Viola were inches away from qualifying for this season's tournament, but with a fit and healthy Gomez leading their line, it may not be long until Fiorentina are back in the Champions League saddle.

 

Clement Grenier

One of Lyon's crown jewels and a player who spent a great deal of his development in the club's academy before graduating several years ago, Clement Grenier ranks among the most likely stars capable of firing his side back into Europe's spotlight.

The 22-year-old continues to grow into his increased responsibilities as one of Lyon's more senior players and is once again showing the talent that the Express' Ben Jefferson says is once again attracting the attention of Arsenal this winter.

Although Grenier has featured in several Champions League qualifiers in recent years, the attacking midfielder is yet to make it to the ball itself, and may have to think about a transfer away from central France in order to realise such fantasies.

 

Jan Vertonghen

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

This season has seen Jan Vertonghen drift in and out of Tottenham's Europa League squad as and when he has been deemed necessary, featuring well from both centre-back and left-back.

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The Belgian has Champions League experience from his time as Ajax captain, but was unlucky in the draw that the Godenzonen were given on his last few seasons there. The Dutch club never really stood a chance last term when grouped against the likes of Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.

At White Hart Lane, Vertonghen is now part of a squad that can genuinely make a claim on such competitions and his short time in North London has shown just what a talent he is.

Spurs have conceded just one goal in their Group K campaign thus far, the joint-lowest of any side still left in the competition.

 

Miroslav Klose

In 39 career Champions League appearances (not including qualification), Miroslav Klose has recorded 14 goals and made five assists, all of which came with either Werder Bremen or Bayern Munich.

Although those days are nothing but a distant memory now, Klose's prestige as a European striker is as respected as any other. At 35 years of age, the Lazio journeyman has already seen his best days, but it's sometimes the seasoned veterans who are most enjoyable to marvel at.

The joint-highest scorer of the German national team is still making history at international level, so even while his age may not be ideal, class is most definitely permanent in Klose's case.

With a shout of making it to next summer's World Cup and capping off a 13-year career with Die Mannschaft in style, there's no reason to see the veteran's diminishing involvement as a Lazio player to be any less of a reason why Klose's not of the Champions League grade.

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