With Euro 2016 all but over, the summer transfer market will hit another gear. A couple of clubs have already registered some big moves, with the Premier League clubs’ spending topping €350 million after one week.
However, it doesn’t always require a bunch of cash to land a quality player. Therefore, let’s look at five underrated players every team should aim to buy.
Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa)
In the summer of 2015, Leicester City were snubbed by Gueye, who opted to join Aston Villa. Consequently, the Foxes turned their attention to a player named N’Golo Kante, while Gueye was relegated with the Villains. However, the 26-year-old was a bright spot for Villa, making 35 Premier League appearances and registering similar stats to Kante.
Gueye made 3.2 tackles per game compared to Kante’s 3.7 and provided 4.1 interceptions comparted to Kante’s 4.6. On top, he proved to be a better passer, more successful dribbler and was better in aerial duels. With Villa relegated, Gueye could possibly be snapped up with a discount, after joining the club for €9m.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich)
Joining the senior squad of a top club like Bayern isn’t easy for an 18-year-old. Consequenlty, Hojbjerg was sent on loan the past two seasons, one at Augsburg and one at Schalke 04. The 20-year-old played a key part in Augsburg’s magical 2014/2015 season, when they finished fifth in the Bundesliga, and made 23 appearances for Schalke last season.
With his 3.7 tackles and interceptions per game, the Denmark international proved to be a steady midfield force, even at his young age. He was very highly rated by Pep Guardiola and even made 15 Bundesliga and three Champions League appearances for the German champions in his young career. Hojbjerg is hungry for a chance to shine…
Nabil Fekir (Olympique Lyon)
During the 2014/2015 season, not many players in Ligue 1 impressed more than Fekir. The 22-year-old provided 13 goals and 12 assists for Lyon, being able to play multiple positions upfront. Fekir even made his senior international debut in March 2015, netting his first goal for France in just his third cap.
However, Fekir suffered a painful knee injury in September 2015 and missed a great part of the season. he didn’t play a single game in Lyon’s Champions League campaign and only made his return in April, playing a total of 117 minutes in five appearances. This could have lowered his transfer value, because a player returning from injury is always a risk.
Hakim Ziyech (FC Twente)
Financially, Dutch club FC Twente are a mess and only avoided relegation because of it after winning an appeal against the KNVB’s decision. The fact that Twente didn’t relegate due to footballing reasons, has everything to do with their star player Hakim Ziyech.
The 23-year-old Moroccon provided 17 goals and 10 assists for his club last season in the Eredivisie. That made him responsible for 56 per cent of Twente’s 48 league goals. He made the most key passes of anyone in the Dutch top flight and completed the second-most dribbles. With Twente’s financial issues, Ziyech is primed to leave for a bigger club in need of some creativity.
Amadou Diawara (Bologna)
If you’re only 18 year old and you’re coming off a Serie A season in which you made a total of 34 appearances, there must be something great about you. That’s the story of Amadou Diawara. The Guinea midfielder played the full 90 minutes on 27 ocassions and was a key player in Bologna’s solid first season back in Italy’s top flight.
Diawara made 2.2 tackles per game, that’s the same level as Paul Pogba. Meanwhile, he registered 2.7 interceptions, beating veteran players like Lucas Biglia, Milan Badelj, and Daniele De Rossi. Like Swiss talent Breel Embolo, Diawara could make a big move soon, but considering his young age, the fee could be pretty low for a future superstar.