Euro 2020 is just days away, and that means the rumour mill is about to go into overdrive.
International tournaments always represent something of a showcase for clubs seeking reinforcements and this year will be no different, even if the impact of the pandemic means spending may not quite reach levels of old.
There will be several players eager to impress at these finals: some will be long-term targets out to justify the hype, while others will be seeking a new challenge as contracts begin to wind down.
Using Opta data, Stats Perform has compiled a list of some of the candidates vying to be front and centre of this particular shop window…
Belgium: Jeremy Doku
One of Belgium’s less-known attacking stars, Jeremy Doku was directly involved in 10 goals in the Jupiler League by the time he was 18 years and 115 days old, a record bettered only by Romelu Lukaku.
Previously wanted by Liverpool, the Rennes forward could become a target for Jurgen Klopp – thought to be exploring new attacking options – should he be given the chance to impress by Roberto Martinez.
11 – @rscanderlecht‘s Jéremy Doku completed 11 dribbles against KV Oostende (15 attempted) and is the first player to record at least 10 succesful dribbles in a Jupiler Pro League match since Yassine El Ghanassi in January 2017. Devilish. pic.twitter.com/eBAv1fnJA6
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) August 28, 2020
Croatia: Bruno Petkovic
“Bruno Petkovic has to be at Euro 2020 what [Mario] Mandzukic was in Russia,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic last month. No pressure, then.
Still, the Dinamo Zagreb forward impressed in last season’s Europa League with four goals in nine starts and could represent a relatively low-cost option in the market.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) February 25, 2021
England: Jadon Sancho
The star performer as Borussia Dortmund won the DFB-Pokal final, Jadon Sancho was the first English player since David Beckham 20 years ago to register at least 10 assists for three seasons in a row in Europe’s top-five leagues.
Manchester United continue to be mooted as the winger’s most likely destination should he leave Dortmund, but a star turn at the Euros could trigger a bidding war among some of the biggest clubs.
10 – Jadon #Sancho has registered 10+ assists for the third consecutive Bundesliga campaign, becoming the first Englishman to reach 10 assists in three straight seasons in Europe’s top five leagues since David #Beckham between 1997-98 and 2000-01 (four seasons). All-seeing. pic.twitter.com/MLn09QRNyv
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) May 16, 2021
France: Jules Kounde
Getting into the France starting line-up is no easy task these days, but Jules Kounde could well force Didier Deschamps’ hand given the qualities he brings to centre-back.
An accomplished stopper, the Sevilla man is also impeccable on the ball: he made 887 forward passes in LaLiga last season, the most of any outfield player. Little wonder that Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked.
98.7% – Jules Koundé
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