International tournaments are being watched by millions of football fans, but also by every important human being in every club management. It is therefore one of the best ways for a player to put himself in the spotlights.
A bunch of internationals made their stock rise during Euro 2016, but the following five did so in an unexpected and drastic way.
Emanuele Giaccherini (Italy – Sunderland)
Italy weren’t expected to do much in France, but the Azzurri beat Belgium in their opening game of the tournament and went on to beat Spain before losing to Germany on penalty’s in the quarter-finals. Emanuele Giaccherini was a key player in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 formation and has seen has stock rise dramatically.
The 31-year-old failed to live up to the expectations at Sunderland and played on loan at Bologna last season. He’s set to depart the Black Cats and even Chelsea have called. Giaccherini is most likely to end up in Serie A, but his goal against Belgium, endless work rate en timely forward runs have made him an unexpected wanted man this summer.
Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales – free agent)
“Without doubt, running down my contract at Reading was the best decision of my life. Reading wanted me to stay, but I felt it was the right time to move and take my future in my own hands. I always believed in myself,” Hal Robson-Kanu said after scoring a Cruyff-like goal in Wales’ quarter-final win against Belgium, as reported by the Daily Mirror.
The 27-year-old striker is a free agent after Reading let him go, and scored twice for the Dragons at Euro 2016, as he also hit the net in a group stage encounter with Slovakia. Robson-Kanu is hunted by many clubs, including a couple from the Premier League, and will make his decision soon. One that nobody could have imagined a couple of weeks ago.
Balazs Dzsudzsak (Hungary – Bursaspor)
It took Hungary play-offs to make it to France and nobody expected them to quality from Group F with Portugal, Austria, and Iceland. But they did, as Hungary even won the group with five points. The Hungarians drew against Iceland and Portugal, and beat Austria. Their star player, Balazs Dzsudzsak, found himself at the heart of their success.
The 29-year-old scored a beautiful brace against Cristiano Ronaldo and co, while showcasing his speed, creativity, and work rate in midfield. The former PSV player left Russian Dinamo Moscow for Bursaspor last summer, but he’s primed to jump to a bigger league like the Bundesliga due to the interest by a number of German clubs.
Marko Pjaca (Croatia – Dinamo Zagreb)
You must have done something right when Juventus, AC Milan, Napoli, and Borussia Dortmund are engaging in a bidding war for your services. That is the case for Marko Pjaca, who showcased his speed and dribbling skills on Croatia’s wing during games against Spain and Portugal.
The 21-year-old played just 103 minutes at Euro 2016, but made his mark in a big way. He’s primed to leave Dinamo Zagreb and is already being compared to Germany’s Julian Draxler. Milan look to have to upper hand for now, but Pjaca’s performances in France have nearly doubled his market value.
Michael McGovern (Northern Ireland – Hamilton Academical)
Only three goalkeepers made more saves at Euro 2016 than Northern Ireland’s Michael McGovern, who had 17 as his country made an astonishing run which ended with a 1-0 loss to Wales in the round of 16. Those three keepers were Poland’s Lukasz Fabianski (19), Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois (20), and Iceland’s Hannes Halldorsson (27).
The 31-year-old was the highest-rated goalkeeper of the group stages, according to Opta statistics. He was most impressive during Northern Ireland’s encounter with World Champions Germany, which they lost only 1-0. McGovern made a series of superb saves against the Germans, making his search for a club this summer a lot easier.