Five hidden Euro 2016 gems that could earn Premier League summer switches
Holly Thackeray | July 2, 2016
Five under the radar transfer targets from Euro 2016
Yet again, the European Championship has provided a stage on which the continent’s best and brightest can display their dazzling talents.
But Euro 2016 has also been the tournament of the underdog, capping off a club season in which there were several outside surprises such as Leicester City’s shock Premier League title win.
There’s now a climate for canny, under-the-radar signings as well after the emergence of N’Golo Kante, Dimitri Payet and co and the chance for dark horses to do well, with the Euros continuing that trend with Iceland, Hungary, Wales and both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland doing their nations proud on the pitch.
Of course, supporters and pundits alike have seen players raved about after the small sample size of a major international tournament, with many upping their game, only to prove disappointing for expectant clubs after a lucrative summer switch.
Caution is of course required, but for every flop there is the breakthrough of a Riyad Mahrez.
So, while the papers speculate where big names could go, Coral writers consider where value could be found for Premier League sides with a look at some of the high performing hidden gems from the tournament so far. This spectacle is a shop window for those marooned in lower or lesser leagues and smaller club so take a look at who has shone…
Michal Pazdan (Poland)
Poland centre back pairing Kamil Glik and Pazdan earned rave reviews for their rearguard performances for the White Eagles, before their nation crashed out of the Euro quarters on penalties to Portugal.
The Polish pair allowed just two tournament goals to get past them, though Torino defender Glik appears to have already been grabbed by Monaco, amid reports the 28-year-old has inked a deal with the Ligue 1 giants.
Playing for the less fashionable Legia Warsaw, Pazdan (also 28), has looked dominating in defence for his nation and his aggressive style would suit English football to a tee.
While the fashion is currently for fancy ball-playing defenders, the need for a solid and commanding centre half remains. Promoted teams such as Hull City or Middlesbrough would be the obvious shouts, with new boys Burnley perhaps needing a rearguard recruit should they fail to keep hold of Michael Keane.
Further up the table, taking a punt on Pazdan may seem a risk, so the Pole may do better towards the bottom of the pyramid for playing time, with Tony Pulis always eyeing a diligent defender or two for West Bromwich Albion, and Sam Allardyce in need of reinforcements for Sunderland.
Jonas Hector (Germany)
Not quite a hidden gem anymore, Hector will surely have catapulted himself onto many a Premier League radar if he wasn’t already, after assured and consistent performances on the defensive flank for Germany (13/5 with Coral to win Euro 2016).
Now 26 and with 18 Die Mannschaft caps, while being tipped to fill now retired Philipp Lahm’s boots, the time is ripe for this talented left back to move on from midtable club Cologne.
While Arsenal are said to be eyeing Switzerland star Ricardo Rodriguez to reinvigorate their left hand side, Manchester City could be tempted to shell out for the sturdy performer. Though a transfer to a team a tier below like Liverpool, who require a defensive overhaul under German coach Jurgen Klopp, may be more likely.
Typifying the modern full back by being dangerous on the overlap but still doing his defensive duty, Hector could certainly suit compatriot Klopp’s style.
Ragnar Sigurdsson (Iceland)
Defenders are doing well among these picks, so next we consider whether the Premier League could handle a second Sigurdsson? Swansea City star Gylfi has done his club and country justice in France, but namesake Ragnar has been just as crucial in the heart of the Nordic nation’s defence.
Partner in repelling attacks, Kari Arnason also deserves a mention but 33 may have missed the boat for a big move now. Sigurdsson, however, is still only 30 and though currently committed to Krasnodar in the Russian Premier League, has been tipped for a chance at English top-flight champions Leicester City or Champions League side Tottenham.
The centre back would better suit the Foxes, who are striving to increase their depth, and has ‘Claudio Ranieri bargain’ written all over him. Having helped deny England in France there should be few fears about facing Premier League stars, though Sigurdsson may want to look lower than Leicester for guaranteed game time.
Adam Nagy (Hungary)
Hungary were another team to shine before their humbling at the hands of Belgium in the last 16, and young-gun Nagy was the talk of the town for his showings in midfield.
Just 21, the Ferencvarosi man has caught the eye of Leicester and Southampton if reports are to be believed. Saints should be in the driving seat after losing Victor Wanyama and though nimble Nagy is not of the same ilk he can act as a deep shield, though prefers to be an intelligent interceptor rather than tenacious tackler.
Balazs Dzsudzsak and Laszlo Kleinheisler are two others who created waves for the Magyars, but this midfielder is the highest rated of the bunch. Big clubs are often trying to penny pinch these days by plumping for unfinished articles before they garner huge price tags, and intuitive Nagy would slot into Southampton’s plans to build around youth perfectly.
Adam Lang (Hungary)
Another hungry (sorry) for success in France was centre back Lang, another Videoton star like Kleinheisler, though he earned his Bundesliga move before the tournament began.
At 23, Lang is at the turning point where he can become a top established star for his nation and be viable for a move abroad. Usually deployed at the heart of defence, Lang looked solid as an option for right back, but excelled most against Austria when back in his favoured position.
Still, Lang’s versatility could appeal in England, with West Ham United potentially eyeing more able bodies for the backline as both Sam Byram and James Tomkins are tipped for moves away.
Elseid Hysaj was another defender that deserved attention for Albania, but being already at a big club in Napoli his Serie A outings mean he is already apparently been tracked by Bayern Munich and co.