International Stardom: 5 Players That Have Risen to Fame During EURO 2024.

25.06.2024 17:07:03 Craig Simpkin
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There has to be an air of caution when signing new players on the back of a strong showing at an international tournament in the summer.
How do you know your new star striker isn’t going to turn out to be the new Oleg Salenko, World Cup ’94 Golden Boot winner turned Rangers reject?

 
What if your new forward turns out to be a carbon copy of El-Hadji Diouf, World Cup 2002 star turned controversial bad boy who lost his knack for goals?

 
And what if your new midfield dynamo turns out to be the second coming of Kleberson, the Brazilian World Cup winner that played just 20 games for Manchester United in two years?

 
No transfer comes without risk, but one-tournament wonders are not short on the ground….Even so, EURO 2024 has been an explosion of goals, assists, brilliant play and outstanding goalkeeping from players that you may never have heard of before the tournament kicked off.
But the quintet below have put their names on the footballing map in a big way in Germany, and they could be putting pen to paper on a lucrative transfer move themselves this summer.

 

Nico Williams

Football fans in Spain are now doubt already very familiar with the talents of Nico Williams, the tricky winger who lit up LaLiga in 2023/24.

 
The 21-year-old contributed 16 goal involvements to Athletic Bilbao’s cause, eleven of them assists, and it’s his dribbling prowess and ability to beat his marker in one-on-one situations that marks Williams out as a player ready for a move to an elite club.

 
The complication is that he has not long signed a new deal with Athletic Club, with the agreement carrying Williams through until 2027. That won’t stop cash-rich teams from coming in for him, of course, but they will need to pay a premium for his services.

 
There may also be an emotional pull keeping Williams in Bilbao. Older brother Inaki generally plays on the opposite wing for the Spanish side, so any club that makes a move for him may need to be at their persuasive best.

 
But there’s no doubt that the 21-year-old, who won the Player of the Match award for Spain against Italy at EURO 2024, is a talent with a remarkably high ceiling, and they usually find their way to an elite club at the top of the European game.

 
Riccardo Calafiori

Italy has a long history of producing world-class centre backs, although they often have the physical appearance of an ogre in a blue shirt.
But not Riccardo Calafiori, who manages to combine a stylish, surfer dude aesthetic with the defensive smarts of his countrymen.
He was a lynchpin in Bologna’s outstanding run to fifth place in the Serie A table in 2023/24, with his aerial ability and prowess in one-on-one duels matched by an ability to play out from the back. Those things combined to see him serve up five assists in a side that conceded just 32 goals in 38 games.

 
The 22-year-old has been fast-tracked into the Italian national team, playing all 270 minutes of their group games and providing yet another assist for their crucial late equaliser against Croatia.

 
Given the season he’s just had and his performances at the EUROs, it seems a certainty that Calafiori will say arrivederci to Bologna this summer. His former boss at the club, Thiago Motta, has just been appointed manager of Juventus, and so a switch to Turin seems like an obvious possibility.

 
However, the Old Lady aren’t thought to be flush with cash, which opens the door for another club from the Premier League or elsewhere to come along and meet Bologna’s valuation.

 
Giorgi Mamardashvili 

Football’s data revolution has been forgetful when it comes to goalkeepers. There’s yet to be any advanced stats produced that measure the true worth of a shot-stopper.

 
But if you want to use the crudest metric, shots saved, then Giorgi Mamardashvili has been very much the number one keeper at EURO 2024.

 
Of course, that’s largely due to the fact that Georgia’s noble but flawed high pressing game has been easy to play past, which has resulted in Mamardashvili facing a large number of shots, giving him an opportunity to make plenty of saves.

 
But stats aside, the eye test confirms that the 23-year-old is agile, has a safe pair of hands and appears to be a commanding presence within his own penalty area, so even though his country has struggled somewhat at EURO 2024, Mamardashvili himself has furthered his own career in front of a global audience.

 
He’s currently on the books of Valencia, who improved immeasurably in 2023/24 from the doldrums that came before, but a switch to a club that can offer him continental football seems like a probable outcome this summer.


Georges Mikautadze

Another Georgian makes the list. This time an impressive forward with an uncanny eye for goal.


Georges Mikautadze looked to have hit the big time when he swapped Metz for Ajax last season, but the 23-year-old never really took to life in Amsterdam and was often a forlorn figure.


And so he returned home to Metz, where he ended the 2023/24 campaign like a man possessed, notching eight goals in seven games and winning the Player of the Match Award on three separate occasions.

 
Metz had all but been condemned to relegation by this point, with Mikautadze embarking on a one-man mission to keep them up.

 
Two goals at EURO 2024, including Georgia’s first ever at a major tournament, have only enhanced his appeal with clubs in Ligue 1 likely to be circling for a cut-price deal given Metz’s demotion.

 
Jaka Bijol 

Classy, ball playing defenders are all the rage these days, which perhaps explains why Serie A champions Inter Milan have shown an interest in Udinese and Slovenia centre back Jaka Bijol.

 
The 25-year-old started his career in midfield, which perhaps explains why he’s so comfortable in possession, but he’s a big lad at 6ft 3in and so can handle the physicality of the more traditional defensive assignment.

 
Had Luka Jovic not scored a 95th minute equaliser for Serbia against the Slovenians, Bijol would have a clean sheet to his name and an easy passage to the Round of 16 for his country.

 
He was irrepressible throughout, however, and is the fifth player on this list to really shine at EURO 2024. But how many of them will be enjoying a transfer to a Premier League club this summer?

 

 

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