Poland and Ukraine provided football fans immense entertainment this summer, and also provided the scout of footballs biggest clubs some new names for their shortlists. Many lesser-known players made names for themselves – here are a few that caught my eye, and a look into where they might be playing their football next season following a transfer window bound to be full of exciting moves.
Alan Dzagoev, Russia, CSKA Moscow
The tricky attacking midfielder caught the eye of the public after netting two quality goals on the tournament’s opening day. He was subject to strong interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, who were reportedly lining up £10m bids to contend with Inter Milan and Juventus for his signature, however his club have told him that he won’t be allowed to leave this summer.
Michael Krohn-Dehli, Denmark, Brondby
The Danish winger looked dangerous during the group stages and scored a vital goal against Holland to give them the win. Last season he plied his trade in his domestic league, however he has expressed an interest in joining former Denmark legend Michael Laudrup at Swansea. The club are believed to be eager to secure his services, and it’s likely he will be playing in South Wales next year.
Theodor Gebre Selassie, Czech Republic, Slovan Liberec
Another player who was playing in his homeland last term, Gebre Selassie became the first coloured player to pull on the Czech Republic shirt, and his performances certainly did him justice. Teams in the lower half of the Premier League were interested; however he has signed for German side Werder Bremen, and will join fellow Czech stars Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar in the Bundesliga.
Mario Mandzukic, Croatia, Wolfsburg
Mandzukic scored some impressive goals despite Croatia being placed in a difficult group involving the two eventual finalists, and deservedly has earned himself a move to German giants Bayern Munich. It will be interesting to see whether or not he can dislodge Gomez from the starting eleven and become a regular for them, as he was probably the better of the two Marios in Poland/Ukraine.
Jordi Alba, Spain, Valencia
The marauding left back just about pipped Portugal’s Fabio Coentrao to the left back spot in the Team of the Tournament, scoring a fantastic goal in the final against the Italians. The ex-Barcelona youth product only earned his first cap in September of last year, and has come a long way since then, earning a return to his previous club as a replacement for Eric Abidal.
Robert Lewandowski, Poland, Borussia Dortmund
Four of England’s largest clubs are keen on securing the signature of Polish talisman Lewandowski, who has won successive Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund in the previous two years. Chelsea and Tottenham are both reportedly interested, however Arsenal and Manchester United are extremely eager to add him to their squad, and he could well be playing in red next season.