Coral’s five underrated stars in Europe who could make a PL impact
As Premier League managers rub their mittens together at the prospect of a blockbuster binge in the January sales, we take a look at some under-the-radar performers who may be left at the bottom of the pile.
Here is a festive selection of five who we think could shine in English football’s top tier.
Neto (Goalkeeper, Fiorentina)
Nifty Neto has been one of Viola’s most vital players this term, so Premier League clubs in need of an upgrade between the posts should pounce before the uncapped Brazilian’s value sky rockets with an anticipated Samba Boys debut to come soon.
Yet to agree a new contract with Fiorentina, Liverpool should snap-up the promising stopper, who has kept seven clean Serie A sheets this season, before he signs on the dotted line, or another club swoops in summer. Viola are 22/1 with Coral to win the Europa League.
Taulant Xhaka (Defender/defensive midfielder, Basel)
Often in the shade of younger brother Granit, the 23-year-old star has been a key component in Swiss side Bsael’s qualification for the Champions League last 16. A versatile talent, Xhaka can operate on either flank as a full back or wing back, or as a midfield anchor.
While most of the transfer talk has been about teammate Fabian Schar, Basel-born Albania international Xhaka was one of the standout performers against Liverpool, with his strength, energy and forward thrust causing problems at Anfield.
If Southampton fear they may lose Nathaniel Clyne or Morgan Schniederlin in January, they should look at Xhaka the elder to plug gaps.
Domenico Criscito (Left/centre back, Zenit St.Petersburg)
Still only 27, Italy international Criscito appears to be in Russian exile. A competent and experienced defender with an eye for an assist, the former Genoa full back could be a useful asset, either in that berth or at centre half, for a number of Premier League clubs.
Tottenham and Arsenal could certainly do with adding more defensive nous to their squad and adaptable Criscito, who can also operate further forward, deserves a chance to prove himself at the highest level.
Jeremy Menez (Forward, AC Milan)
The incredibly skilled AC Milan attacker is blessed with pace and technique, but has been largely ignored by France national boss Didier Deschamps.
Magician Menez may have failed to live up to his early hype, but has now blossomed into a deadly frontman, having been shifted from the wing to a central striking role for the Rossoneri. With eight goals and three assists in 16 Serie A appearances, the Frenchman must surely have registered on several club’s radars.
With his inconsistent record, Menez may be overlooked by elite sides, but could find a home for his fine finishing in Liverpool.
Son Heung-Min (Forward, Bayer Leverkusen)
The South Korea star is still only 22 years old, but will spearhead his nation’s attack at the Asian Cup in 2015. Involvement in the tournament may mean he is tough to sign this winter, but that should not put potential suitors off.
For Son, the sky is the limit. Quick, tricky and boasting a knack for scoring important goals, it can’t be long before an top club starts sniffing around Leverkusen’s leading man.
Having netted five times during the Champions League qualification and group stages, Chelsea may take note if they plan on replacing hard working Willian with more potency.