In addition to being perennial stomping grounds for Spain, major international tournaments like EURO 2012 can serve as proving grounds for young professionals to gain fame and secure transfers to major clubs. With much of the world tuned in, those few games are often the most vital of any young player’s career.
Recently, players like Luis Suarez, Mesut Ozil, Andrey Arshavin, and Alexi Sanchez featured in major tournaments and earned big money moves to clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Real Madrid. EURO 2012 also enabled a new crop of young professionals to shine, and a few are likely to embark on a similar path as their successful predecessors.
One such player is Alan Dzagoev from Russia. Already a key man at CSKA Moscow, the 22 year old burst onto the international scene scoring three goals in Russia’s first two EURO 2012 matches. Unfortunately, a loss to Greece in the final match resulted in Russia’s elimination even though they had a better goal differential. Thus the tournament was cut short for Dzagoev, but he clearly drew notice from a host of major clubs and has already been linked with Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester United.
Alan Dzagoev is an attacking midfielder and would improve any team with his smart passing and deft finishing. At such a young age, he could develop into a world famous star if he seals a move to the right club.
Another exciting new player at EURO 2012 was Mathieu Debuchy of France. The Lille right back had an outstanding performance against England in the country’s tournament opener which clearly drew interest from the English Premier League. Earlier this year, Debuchy was heavily linked with Newcastle, but now it seems as if Chelsea or possibly even Inter Milan are set to swoop in and lure the player to a bigger club.
Chelsea would be a fantastic place for the Frenchmen where he could linkup with his former Lille team mate, Eden Hazard. The tandem led Lille to a Ligue 1 championship in 2011 and would love the opportunity to help Chelsea improve upon their recent league troubles. Debuchy’s attacking prowess makes him an intriguing talent.
Probably the most exciting player to emerge from EURO 2012 was Jordi Alba of Spain. Alba was able to start each match at left back for the Spanish side after an injury to Carlos Puyol. Those expecting a drop in quality were horribly mistaken. Alba’s speed and technical skill helped Spain lift the trophy. In addition to excellent defending, Alba also had an assist against France and a wonderful goal against Italy in the final. He made a daring 60 yard run out from his own half and collected a brilliant Xavi pass and eased the ball into the net like a classy veteran.
Barcelona has already gobbled up this talent just last week, but we can expect lots of chatter about the destination of Dzagoev and Debuchy. For these players, EURO 2012 was a tremendous success. The soccer world will soon become quite accustomed to their names.