Euro 2021 is not over, and it could still have many surprises in store for them. Both good and bad. But as the group stage draws to a close, several players have already taken advantage of the competition to shine and increase their odds.
Denzel Dumfries (25, right-back, Netherlands / PSV)
The same blase as Denzel Washington (it’s no coincidence), and the same efficiency as him against nasty opponents. Already scorer of the victorious goal against Ukraine in the first match of the Dutch (3-2), Dumfries was doubly decisive against Austria (2-0), with a new goal and a penalty caused.
Launched among the pros by Sparta Rotterdam, PSV player since 2018, and even captain of the Eindhoven club, the side has never left the Netherlands. It could happen quickly, since according to Sky Sport Germany, Bayern are on the record. According to Voetbal International, Everton and Inter are also interested. Enough to raise the stakes.
Robin Gosens (26, left side, Germany / Atalanta)
Of the eleven of the Mannschaft, he was undoubtedly the player least known to the general public at the start of the Euro. Because he only has seven selections, he is not from German training, and he does not play (yet?) For a giant in Europe. But his festival Saturday against Portugal (4-2) marked the spirits.
A professional past in the Netherlands (Vitesse Arnhem), Robin Gosens is nevertheless a reliable player of Gian Piero Gasperini at Atalanta, who had recruited him in 2017 for… one million euros. The Italian club could achieve a very nice added value in case of departure this summer, since according to Bild, AC Milan and Barça would have him in their sights.
Manuel Locatelli (23, defensive midfielder, Italy / Sassuolo)
Players from Sassuolo and Atalanta, two of Serie A’s most interesting teams, have been in good shape since the start of the Euro. Matteo Pessina or Domenico Berardi would thus have had their place in this list. But because he is very, very elegant, and he signed a brace against Switzerland (3-0), Manuel Locatelli may have caught the eye more than his compatriots.
Trained at AC Milan, where he failed to win, the midfielder was a centerpiece of Roberto De Zerbi’s eleven this season. And like the technician, he too should leave “Sasol” during the offseason. This would probably have been the case without the Euro, it is a virtual certainty now. Interested for several months, Juventus could have new competitors on the file.
Kalvin Phillips (25, defensive midfielder, England v Leeds)
A single Premier League season in the legs, zero appearances in continental club competitions, but a starting place acquired with the Three Lions in the space of a few games. Much less exposed in the media than the nuggets Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho or Jude Bellingham, Kalvin Phillips allowed England to stabilize his environment, and also to beat Croatia (1-0), since he had been decisive passer during the first game.
Born in Leeds, raised in Leeds, trained in Leeds, the “Yorskhire Pirlo” saw his life change in 2018, when a certain Marcelo Bielsa arrived with the Whites. The Argentine technician has finished shaping this promising Championship relay midfielder, has often taken him down a notch, and allowed him to explode. Close to joining Aston Villa in the summer of 2019 (an offer of 30 million euros had been mentioned), Phillips has remained loyal to his club of heart. Will he continue like this? Joining a Premier League cador would open the doors to the Champions League for him. But that would take him away from Bielsa …
Roman Yaremchuk (25, striker, Ukraine / La Gantoise)
If Ukraine did well against the Netherlands (3-2 defeat), and beat North Macedonia (2-1), it owes it largely to two men: his winger Andriy Yarmolenko and his forward -centre Roman Yaremchuk, each author of two goals. Passed through Dortmund before joining West Ham, the first is relatively well known. But the second has so far gone under the radar.
Trained as the best players in the country at Dynamo Kiev, Yaremchuk joined La Gantoise in 2017 for two million euros… and never left. Despite very good statistics (23 TCC goals this season), the Ukrainian has surely paid for the low exposure of the Jupiler League, and this reputation as a long irregular player. A point on which he seems to have made progress. According to Le Soir, La Gantoise would hope to draw 25 million euros this summer. Lazio, Arsenal and Wolverhampton are cited as potential buyers.
Alexander Isak (21, forward, Sweden / Real Sociedad)
One of the favorite nuggets of Football Manager players, which finally confirms in reality, as shown by his two good performances against Spain (0-0) and Slovakia (1-0).
Compared very (too?) Young to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and gone from 17 years old to Borussia Dortmund, Isak had rebounded in the summer of 2019 at Real Sociedad after two complicated years in Germany and a loan to Willem II (Netherlands). Interesting in 2019-2020 (16 TCC goals), he reached a milestone this season by scoring 17 goals in La Liga. According to Marca, the Basque club has offered the Swede a new contract, but fears that his performance at the Euro will push a cador to align the 70 million euros of his release clause.
Xherdan Shaqiri (29, winger, Switzerland / Liverpool)
At almost 30 years old, the most muscular man in Switzerland is no longer a promise, but a confirmed player, passed with more or less success by Bayern, Inter, Stoke, then Liverpool since 2018. But the Euro could be very helpful in his situation. Especially for the Reds.
Not much used by Jürgen Klopp, Shaqiri was part of a list of unwanted items in the spring, according to the Liverpool Echo. He even said that the English club was ready to sell off the winger, bought 15 million euros three years ago. He shouldn’t need it. After the performance of the Swiss against Wales (1-1), and especially his double against Turkey (3-1), the contenders should not be missing.