Those already feeling withdrawal symptoms from the end of the 2014/15 Premier League campaign will undoubtedly have refocused their attentions to the Copa America already.
It may not be quite as exciting as the Premier League – or for that matter its European counterpart – but the South American tournament (this year featuring Mexico and Jamaica for added measure) showcases some of the biggest, most well-known talents in the game today, not least including Champions League-winning Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Neymar.
And they’re just the icing on the cake; every nation has one or two stand out performers, whilst South American footballers in general are filling up the squads of European clubs like never before.
So with that in mind, we at Football Fancast are doing a bit of scouting on behalf of the Premier League’s top clubs – in other words, using nightly football matches as an excuse to turn up late to work in the morning.
Here’s FIVE stars from the Copa America Liverpool should be keeping one eye on.
Douglas Costa’s displays at Shaktar Donetsk have already generated plenty of Premier League interested in his services, so performances at the Copa America for tournament giants Brazil could be pivotal in forcing through summer a move to England.
The attacking midfielder boasts 37 goals in 196 appearances for the Ukrainian outfit and his combination of pace, power, balance and left-footed trickery has already taken Jose Mourinho’s fancy according to reports from Goal.com.
The 24 year-old’s international career has thus far left a little more to be desired, but registering his first goal for Selacao on Sunday – a stoppage time winner in a 2-1 over Peru – will have done his stock no harm, whilst Costa’s blend of technique and physicality should serve him well in the English top flight.
The tabloids rate him at around £20million, but Shaktar have a knack of securing monumental fees for their top stars.
Liverpool were linked with Jefferson Farfan last week and although the Schakle star may not particularly befit the FSG model at the age of 30, he’s a well-proven and potent wideman.
Indeed, Farfan boasts a career return of 153 goals in 490 appearances throughout his spells with Alianza Lima, PSV Eindhoven and the Miners, reaching the 20-goal mark in two consecutive Eredivisie campaigns. His return of 17 goals in 63 outings for an unexceptional Peru side is nothing to be sniffed at either.
As previously stated, Farfan’s a little on the aged side compared to the Reds’ usual targets, but performances at the Copa America could convince the Liverpool board he’s an exception worth making
The dynamic and explosive wideman is reportedly keen on a new challenge for next season and with his contract expiring in 2016, Schalke could be forced to sell on the cheap.
Liverpool need a new No.2 following the bosman departure of Glen Johnson and Malaga’s Roberto Rosales represents an interesting Copa-America-inspired suggestion.
The Venezuela international was a dominant force in the Eredivise during his four campaigns with FC Twente, earning a reputation as an incredibly athletic, marauding right-back with vital contributions at both ends of the pitch alongside sporadic links with Arsenal and Real Madrid.
He switched to the Spanish top flight this summer and although Rosales didn’t shine as brightly as many expected during his debut Malaga campaign, his offensive qualities and ability to play in midfield could make him the ideal signing for Liverpool -who regularly fluctuated between full-backs and wing-backs this season.
Having only signed him last summer, Malaga will be reluctant to sell – but the Copa America gives the 52-cap international the perfect platform to prove his capacity at a higher level.
Argentina international Ever Banega has been linked with a Premier League move for much of his career, but it could finally come into fruition this summer with just one season remaining on his Sevilla contract.
The 26 year-old has just come to the end of a decent season at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, bagging three goals and three assists in 23 La Liga starts whilst featuring prominently in Europe as Sevilla recorded a second consecutive Europa League title – even claiming the Man of the Match award in the 3-2 final against Dnipro.
Liverpool need to add depth to their engine room this summer following the departure of Steven Gerrard and although Banega is no incarnate of the iconic skipper, his agile and technical playmaking style should see him link up well with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling.
Banega’s already received two outings at the Copa America after his shock exclusion from Albicelste’s World Cup squad, and impressive performances at the tournament will undoubtedly force some of his prior suitors – not least including Manchester United – to take notice.
Liverpool are still on the look-out for added firepower, despite the recent signing of Danny Ings, and Valencia boast one of the Copa America’s most formidable front-men in Salomon Rondon.
The 25 year-old has already proved himself a goalscoring force in the Spanish and Russian top flights, bagging 25 goals in 67 league appearances during his two La Liga campaigns at Malaga and producing a return of 53 goals in 113 outings across all competitions throughout his spells with Rubin Kazan and Zenit St. Petersburg.
His 13 goals in 39 caps for Venezuela isn’t too bad either – which includes a winning goal in a 1-0 win over Colombia last Sunday.
Blessed with a broadly shouldered 6 foot 2 frame and famed for his beastly battering ram style, Rondon seems like a natural fit for Premier League football.
Liverpool were linked with the former Aragua youngster back in February by Mirror Football. But having originally purchased Rondon for just shy of £16million just 18 months ago, it will take a sizeable fee to convince Zenit to sell this summer.