Euro 2016 has been a great tournament for the likes of Gareth Bale, Dimitri Payet and Eden Hazard. These established names have to do it on the biggest stage, they’re expected to deliver, and after all they are paid the big bucks for a reason.
In the furore around these star names, and there are plenty more who could be mentioned here, some of the lesser known players go under the radar, their contributions become lost and thanks to football’s obsession with the individual they probably don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Players head to a tournament knowing they can put themselves in the shop window and for these ‘unknown’ (to the general football fan anyway) men it is an opportunity to really show what they can do.
Here, we look at some of the players who the Premier League elite should be sniffing around this summer. Some of them may even offer value for money, a rare thing in the current climate.
Don’t you dare pretend you had any idea who he was until he scored against Albania in Switzerland’s opener at Euro 2016. Well, many people now know who the Hoffenheim stopper is and it is impossible not to have been impressed.
The 24-year-old marshalled the Swiss backline excellently in this tournament. He plays with little fuss and is more than happy bringing the ball out from the back or spreading the play with solid distribution. He is a player still learning his game but he has that trait so hard to find in central defenders, consistency.
The Gunners currently have Laurent Koscielny as their first choice centre half, with Per Mertesacker doing duel to pair up with him. Neither of those two look up to the job of being an established title challenging defender, while Schar’s normalcy and tendency to lean away from mistakes would make him a reassuring presence in a Premier League full of defensive errors.
Schar was ranked as the Swiss’ best player at the tournament by Who Scored and at present finds himself as the pick of the central defenders on the same website. The fact he made just 1.5 tackles per game shows his superb reading of the game, he is no last ditch, desperate footballer. Throw in his obvious goalscoring prowess, he has six goals in 21 international caps, and his agent should be a busy man in the coming weeks.
He is hardly going to break the bank and has plenty of room and years to develop into a world class stopper. Wenger is not a man who takes kindly to huge outlays on players, well this isn’t one, and so the likelihood of adding him to the squad at the Emirates looks even healthier. If he doesn't make a move then surely a fellow top tier side will.
Who should sign him: Arsenal, obviously, but he’d add a lot to nearly every side in England. Everton may need a replacement for Johns Stones soon.
Many people believe the day of the old fashioned winger is over, well somebody forgot to tell Poland’s Kamil Grosicki. The Rennes man was superb for the beaten quarter-finalists this summer and has done his chances of a move no harm at all.
Everton are the team heavily linked with the 28-year-old but he is sure to have caught the eye of many other teams in England with his showings in France. In all fairness, he would be an excellent acquisition for the Toffees, who lacked creativity at times last term.
Grosicki clocked up two superb assists in the two knockout games over in France and he got on the scoresheet nine times in just 14 starts for his club in Ligue 1, only Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku got anywhere near that for Everton last season.
A fee of around £8m is believed to be enough to secure his services, a snip for a player who has 44 caps for a European powerhouse and is at the peak of his powers.
Who should sign him: Everton are very interested but he would fit in well at Stoke
The Derby midfielder is a player that many people will already of heard of but he is not one that you would have expected to be talking about as an unlikely star of a major tournament.
The 24-year-old has always been well respected at Derby but seeing his name linked with a switch to Champions League club Galatasaray is something even he couldn’t have dreamt of.
He sat in the middle of the Irish midfield and dictated play excellently throughout the summer. Against France he was one of the best players on the pitch, showing he can hack it with the best of them, refusing to shy away from tackles and driving the Boys In Green forward at every opportunity.
His long range shooting is clearly one of his strongest attributes but his assured presence in the centre of the park is probably his greatest trait, he just always seemed to have time on the ball, while he gave his opponents none at all. He is the player Ireland have been lacking in the middle for years, sorry Glenn Whelan, your time is up.
The Rams midfielder has the ability to play in the top-flight without doubt. He is certainly worth a gamble. In fact, such is his maturity, it wouldn’t be a risk at all.
Who should sign him: Links to Middlesbrough and Hull persist but he’d be a worthy assistant to Yohan Cabaye at Crystal Palace, while Brendan Rodgers would surely love him at Celtic?
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