Arsenal, Spurs, et al… Five EURO 2016 stars your club should avoid like the plague

From every major tournament a player emerges into the wider reckoning, and though most times it is hardly from obscurity, their superb showings at the World Cup or EUROs prompts an expensive swoop from a Premier League club or European giant.

Two years ago in Brazil it was James Rodriguez who jumped to the top of Real Madrid’s long list of targets following a clutch of brilliant displays at the biggest audition of them all that was capped off with an unforgettable goal for Colombia. This sudden elevation into the big time is hardly reserved for the superstars-in-waiting either: defender Giancarlo Gonzalez was happily ambling along in Major League Soccer until five imperious performances at the back for Costa Rica en route to an unexpected quarter final placed him on Serie A’s radar. A move to Palermo swiftly followed.

As this summer’s EUROs gets underway every club worth their salt will be closely assessing individuals to see if they can cut it at the very highest level while history suggests there will be at least one player who breaks through from nowhere and puts himself in the shop window.

A degree of caution is required, however, because for every discovery there is a Karel Poborsky or Yuri Zhirkov just waiting to be impulse bought and regretted.

Here are FIVE potential EURO 2016 stars in the making your club should avoid like the plague…

Nicolae Stanciu (Romania)

A number 10 full of impishness and vision who is highly rated in some circles, yet you have to question why the 23 year old remains at Steaua Bucharest despite being one of their leading lights for three seasons now.

Inconsistency is an issue while his small frame may not suit the frenetic demands of the Prem. Three influential games for Romania in Group A won’t change that.

Aleksandr Kokorin (Russia)

Linked to Arsenal last summer the 25-year-old Zenit St. Petersburg forward plays on the right side of a fearsome attacking trio for his country and certainly has the potential to impress in France.

A somewhat lacklustre World Cup in 2014 – where he was expected to shine – reduced his stock but without that burden of expectation great things are possible for the weeks ahead. Let’s hope not though if your club is currently prioritising an upgrade in his position because Russian strikers and the Premier League hardly make for successful bedfellows.

Michy Batshuayi (Belgium)

With a slight revision on the original premise of this feature we present the familiar name of the Marseille’s hit-man, who enjoyed a fantastic campaign in Ligue 1 last term that resulted in 17 goals. The ‘Batsman’ has made it quite clear he is seeking pastures new for 2016/17 a development that sparked an early tussle between Spurs and West Ham for his signature.

So why should your club give this undeniably talented young front-man a swerve should he enjoy a successful EUROs? Because the bidding is already at the £30m+ mark for a player who is still relatively unproven at the highest level.

Viktor Kovalenko (Ukraine)

A 20-year-old attacking midfielder for Shakhtar Donetsk who has been compared to Kaka (yawn) and presently has the world at his feet this recent inclusion in the Ukrainian squad is certainly one to watch. That is where the interest should end for now though as he is still developing and learning his craft with the fear being an upheaval to a different culture of football might hinder that.

Don’t be surprised if the young blonde schemer upstages Andriy Yamolenko against Northern Ireland, Poland and Germany but the likes of Everton and Spurs would be wise to applaud only for now and keep their wallets in check.

Anyone from Iceland


This is not meant to be disparaging towards the Icelandic side: if anything it is a compliment. Such has been the terrific team ethic that has taken a country with a population of three million to their first major championship it can be tempting to think that individuals (Gylfi Sigurdsson aside) are better than they are. Any eye-catching performances could – in the long-term – flatter to deceive once taken out of the collective.