There is the general consensus that signing new players off the back of their big international tournament performances is a bad idea.
Their transfer fee is typically out of proportion based upon their summer heroics, and the increased competition for their signature typically leads to a bidding war that pushes the individual’s wage demands to stratospheric levels.
Can we just talk about this guy? 🤩 pic.twitter.com/h5xgRJS6Qo
— England (@England) June 13, 2021
But for every Karel Poborsky or El-Hadji Diouf there’s a Jaap Stam or a Gilberto Silva – those that prove that value can still be found even in the inflated major competition market. Euro 2020 has provided a showcase for many of the continent’s finest, and a few previously hidden gems have come to the fore for their countries.
Could this quintet be on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s shortlist of new signings this summer?
Fresh from helping Inter Milan to the Serie A title, Milan Skriniar has been a key figure in Slovakia’s surprisingly good form at the Euros. The 26-year-old is a no-nonsense defender who, while not necessarily fitting the modern template of the ball-playing centre back, is a secure presence who does the dirty work with relish.
Skriniar could be the ideal foil for Harry Maguire in the United backline, and one football prediction that can be made with some confidence is that Solskjaer will be looking to replace the untrusted Victor Lindelof this summer.
Is the McTominay-Fred axis in midfield strong enough to take United to the upper echelons of domestic and continental football? That’s questionable, and fresh blood is welcomed to ensure that United can challenge on both fronts.
There could be a mad scramble to snap up Manuel Locatelli this summer. He surely won’t stay at present club Sassuolo given how his reputation has been enhanced at the Euros, and the 23-year-old looks to be an ideal candidate for a role at Old Trafford.
Many will assume he’s a goalscoring midfielder after his brace against Switzerland, but actually, Locatelli is an all-action type that also excels in his defensive work. He delivered 2.4 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game in Serie A in 2020/21.
The Czech striker became a global viral sensation for his incredible goal from the halfway line against Scotland.
Look at how much bend Patrik Schick put on that goal 🤯 pic.twitter.com/qs047SbzEn
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 14, 2021
But Patrik Schick is far more than just a flash in the pan, and in 2020/21 he averaged a goal every other game for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga and Europa League.
With doubts about the future of Anthony Martial in Manchester, and Edinson Cavani entering his 35th year, there is a vacancy for a central striker at Old Trafford. Schick has shown that he can lead the line with aplomb.
To call Kalvin Phillips a ‘hidden gem’ would be offensive to those who have been aware of his talents for some time.
But the Euros has given the midfielder an outstanding platform, and established as an England regular he is now ready to kick on and join a big club.
He would fit seamlessly into the United midfield, and while not many make the trip across the Pennines – some chap by the name Monsieur Cantona springs to mind – Phillips seems to have the character to make it work.
If Luke Shaw gets injured, what happens?
That’s a question that Solskjaer must ponder, and, surely, he cannot be convinced that Alex Telles is the ideal replacement. So, why not take a second look at Leonardo Spinazzola, a right-footer playing on the left who would offer the manager some handy tactical options on that side?
His link-up play with Lorenzo Insigne at the Euros has been outstanding, and with seven assists during 2020/21, this is a full back as comfortable in attack as in defence.
But will any of these five figures find their way to Old Trafford this summer?