Champions Spain swept the boards yet again at the European Under-21 Championship, but they weren’t the only ones to impress.
Scouts from across the continent’s clubs couldn’t have failed to be stirred by the supreme talent on display throughout the competition. From La Rojita’s victorious horde, to starlets from dark horses Romania and Denmark.
With the summer transfer window now in full swing, we’ve taken a look at the hot prospects – with help from WhoScored.com’s statistics – whose superb performances in Italy and San Marino have made them hot property:
Club: Real Madrid
Position: Centre midfield
Euro 2019 record: Five games, two goals, two assists
Interested clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan
“I’m clear on what I want. I know what my intentions are for next season. I don’t want to be sitting on a bench anymore.”
The 23-year-old proved he is far too competent to be sat on the Santiago Bernabeu sidelines from the moment play began, curling in a sublime 30-yard effort in the rollercoaster opening 3-1 loss to the hosts.
The 2017 edition’s player of the tournament went on to lead the way for key passes (14) and successful dribbles (19).
Ceballos’ quick passing and penetrative dribbling would add drive to Milan’s staid midfield, while he looks a natural replacement for Christian Eriksen if the Denmark international departs Spurs.
The only thing tempering more interest is an avowed desire to depart on loan.
Club: Viitorul Constanta
Euro 2019 record: Four games, two goals, zero assists
Interested clubs: Sevilla, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund
Watched on throughout by iconic father Gheorghe, the ‘Maradona of the Carpathians’ and alumnus of Real Madrid and Barcelona, Ianis passed the test of challenging himself against elite contemporaries.
His teenage years had featured an unfulfilled two-year stint at Fiorentina, encompassing just two Serie A run-outs. But a lead role with Romania U-21s and Viitorul has bolstered him with invaluable maturity, adding to his existing creative skills.
These were showcased in his goal during the 4-2 rout of England. An instinctive roll over the top of the ball with his right foot earned critical space, from which a low hammer blow with his left foot was rapidly produced.
Links to Barca seem fanciful, for now. The 20-year-old’s average pass-success percentage of 69.8 just wouldn’t do at Camp Nou.
Sevilla’s sale of Pablo Sarabia to Paris Saint-Germain, however, has created a void that the €8.5m-rated Hagi now appears eminently capable of filling.
Club: KRC Genk
Euro 2019 record: Two games, two goals, one assist
Interested clubs: Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid
Denmark swiftly exited without leaving much of an impression.
This statement, however, did not apply to Maehle. He top scored from right-back for Denmark with two goals, the highlight his incisive solo run and dinked finish against Austria.
Per game, the adventurous 22-year-old also had the joint second-best average dribbles for the Danes.
These performances were almost made as a Southampton player. They failed with an £11.8 million bid in January, with Genk’s decision to hold on proving wise thanks to a rise in value caused by their run to Jupiler Pro League glory and Maehle’s international displays.
A confidence on the ball and assured physicality make links to Atleti and BVB make perfect sense.
Club: Dinamo Zagreb
Position: Attacking midfielder
Euro 2019 record: Four games, three goals, one assist
Interested clubs: Manchester United, Barcelona
Olmo’s bold call to swap the congested Barcelona youth set-up for Zagreb’s proving grounds has proved to be wise.
Regular football and development under the radar helped make him a pivotal player for Spain once boss Luis de la Fuente made changes in the wake of the chastening Italy opener.
Olmo started all four remaining games from the right flank, claiming either a goal or assist in each one thanks to an ability to instinctively find pockets of space when cutting inside. The 21-year-old was also named man of the match for the final, a 2-1 defeat of Germany.
Manchester United have already been linked with a €40m bid, while extensive interest from elsewhere exists. He’ll be cheap at the price.
Euro 2019 record: Five games, seven goals, one assist
Interested club: Lazio
A promising end to the Bundesliga season led into Waldschmidt’s sensational Euros.
Placed at the head of Germany’s attack, the 23-year-old responded with a joint all-time record seven strikes. The only game he didn’t score in was the final, with a hat-trick coming in the group stage against Serbia and brace in the semi-final with Romania.
Unsurprisingly, Waldschmidt’s average shots per game of 5.4 led the way and was 0.7 more than any other player. But we are not talking about an unflinchingly selfish striker, 12 chances also being created for team-mates.
Serie A’s Lazio are the only club linked with the €12m-rated striker, to date.
This lack of clamour could be because few Golden Boot winners have kicked on to experience stellar senior careers; the list includes underwhelming names like Marcus Berg, Maceo Rigters, Massimo Maccarone and Adrian Lopez.
Know more about Sport360 Application