Euro 2016 has finished with Portugal crowned as Champions despite finishing their group in third place and only winning one match in 90 minutes throughout the entire competition. A testament must be made to their team spirit and stamina as well as individual performers such as Renato Sanches and Raphael Guerreiro who have both secured transfers to the Bundesliga this summer.
18 year-old Sanches was tipped to succeed in France as the midfield powerhouse had impressed enough to earn a £40 million move to Bayern Munich. Portugal underwhelmed in the group phase but started to improve in the knockout stages as Sanches came into the side to add some much needed energy and drive into midfield. His man of the match display against Croatia in the last 16 gave him the opportunity to start against Poland in the quarter finals and he did not disappoint. Sanches scored on his first start under coach Fernando Santos and went on to be involved in both the semi final and final in Paris. The former Benfica man was named young player of the tournament ahead of teammate Guerreiro who made the team of the tournament after dazzling at left back. The 22 year-old will join Sanches in Germany next season as he has signed for Borussia Dortmund.
But other than the Portuguese stars, there were many other stand out performers at Euro 2016 such as Antoine Greizmann, Dimitri Payet, Ivan Perisic, Aaron Ramsey and Jerome Boateng. Here are five influential players who may have gone under the radar and could also be on the move to bigger clubs this summer after their impressive tournament antics.
Northern Ireland did their nation proud at the Euros, bowing out at the last 16 stage to British neighbours Wales after a 1-0 defeat in Paris. The Green and Whites managed just one victory out of four at the tournament but only conceded three goals, largely down to the heroics of goalkeeper Michael McGovern. The 32 year-old was especially sensational in stopping Germany, making a string of top draw saves during their final group game. McGovern left Scottish side Hamilton at the end of last season and is now available on a free transfer and there will be no shortage of interest in his quest to find a new club. Recently promoted Premier League side Burnley are reportedly interested in his signature.
2- Emanuele Giaccherini
Emanuele Giaccherini thrived in Antonio Conte’s 352 system for Italy at Euro 2016. The 31 year-old was a forgotten man just 12 months ago after failing to make an impression in the Premier League with Sunderland. A successful loan spell with Bologna last season reignited his career and he has continued to impress with the Azzurri in France this summer, scoring against Belgium and then featuring in all of their other games up until elimination at the hands of Germany in the quarter finals. Giaccherini is now subject to lots of interest across Europe and a permanent move back to Italy looks to be on the cards. The former Juventus man is available for a cut price £2 million fee and is thought to be closing in on a transfer to Napoli, with Torino also keen.
3- Jakub Blaszczykowski
Poland were defensively solid at Euro 2016, conceding just two goals, both of which were in the knockout stages. They also provided a threat going forward, Jakub Blaszczykowski scored two and assisted one, arguably standing out as Poland’s best player ahead of Robert Lewandowski. Interestingly, Blaszczykowski also made more tackles than anyone else in France. Having spent last season out on loan at Fiorentina, the 30 year-old returns to Borussia Dortmund this summer looking to regain a place in their squad. However he has been linked with a permanent transfer away from the Westfalenstadion and former boss Jurgen Klopp is keen to bring Blaszczykowski to Liverpool.
4- Moussa Sissoko
France fell at the final hurdle, losing to Portugal at the Stade de France in Paris. In a star studded squad of high pedigree European players, Moussa Sissoko more than held his own in Didier Deschamps midfield. The 26 year-old was a powerful influence adding pace and strength in driving runs from central and wide positions, attributes only sporadically shown at Newcastle United in recent years. Following the Magpies relegation from the Premier League, Sissoko has expressed a desire to leave St James Park, recently talking up a move to Arsenal. However Newcastle have demanded a £35 million fee for Sissoko but they may be forced to lower their valuation due to being a Championship club next season.
At the end of last season, Hal Robson-Kanu was released by Reading. The 27 year-old striker/ winger flew out to Euro 2016 without a club and the Welshman therefore had a lot to prove at the tournament. Wales sensationally made it to the semi finals and Robson-Kanu had stood out after scoring once in the first game and then again in the quarter finals against Belgium, with the second strike winning goal of the campaign. Hull City are keen to bring him to the Premier League but will face competition from other top clubs and a couple from China who are willing to offer big money.