Joe Allen - Wales & Liverpool
A little bit closer to home here. Joe Allen has been somewhat reviled for much of his Liverpool career since following Brendan Rodgers there from Swansea in 2012. Under Jurgen Klopp in 2016, Allen has shown his suitability to a team that presses high, thriving under The Normal One’s Gegenpressing system. However, The Welsh Pirlo is tipped to leave Anfield this summer, with Swansea seemingly at the front of the queue to bring him back to South Wales.
A fee of £8-10m has been touted by several papers, and that could prove to be very shrewd business for any mid-table/lower mid-table Premier League side. He’s an experienced Premier League player, a great age at twenty-six, and has had an excellent EURO 2016 thus far.
Adam Nagy - Hungary & Ferencvaros
Although Hungary’s group wasn’t the strongest in the tournament, very few people would have picked them to win it. A key part of their success was Adam Nagy. The Ferencvaros man is a midfielder who is relatively defensive minded, but has shown himself willing to make late runs into the box and press high for his national side.
Having just turned twenty-one, he’s another player who would bring a great deal of potential, and his combative, aggressive style would compliment SAFC’s midfield very well, and fit in with the sort of midfielder Sam Allardyce likes to have at his disposal. Although he’s probably not quite ready to slot straight into the first team, he would be a low-risk signing who wouldn’t command much of a transfer fee.
Birkir Bjarnason - Iceland & Basel
The man known as Thor in his homeland is another midfielder who has impressed in a side that aren’t ever really going to dominate a game. The twenty-eight year old is capable of playing anywhere across the middle, and is generally employed on the left in a counter-attacking Iceland side.
Bjarnason has shown himself to be very tactically aware in the tournament so far – something that Sam Allardyce values very highly – and his work ethic and composure on the ball would make him a useful player to have in the squad. Basel offer Bjarnason annual Champions League football, but if a Premier League side came knocking, he’d surely be interested in a move. Oh, and if Seb does leave this summer, Thor can assume the mantle of SAFC’s resident handsome Nord.
Bartosz Kapustka - Poland & Cracovia
The Cracovia midfielder is one of the tournament’s youngest players at nineteen, but his display against a dogged Northern Ireland side in Poland’s opening fixture really impressed me. Kapustka is a primarily a left-sided midfield player most comfortable on his right foot, but is capable of playing anywhere across the middle.
He isn’t lightning quick, but he’s a player with great vision who puts in a serious shift, pressing high and relying on his dribbling skills to go past defenders. He’d be another low-risk signing for us, unlikely to command a high transfer fee and bringing with him a boatload of potential, and his style would fit in well with the intensity of the Premier League.
Marko Pjaca - Croatia & Dinamo Zagreb
With many of Europe’s biggest clubs being linked with Pjaca, he is perhaps up there with Ozan Tufan as one of the more ambitious names on this list. The Croatia wide man is only twenty-one, but by the age of nineteen had already notched a Europa League hat-trick and made his international debut. He boasts real pace and breezes past players easily, and has notched double figures in both his seasons in the Dinamo Zagreb first team.
Pjaca will definitely have his pick of potential suitors this summer, but a move to a side like Sunderland would guarantee him first team football in the Premier League, and give him a platform to shine on a bigger stage immediately. He wouldn’t come cheap – fees between £10-12m have been mooted – but it could prove to be a steal.
Andre-Pierre Gignac - France & Tigres UANL
The game has changed massively since the likes of Lilian Laslandes and Stephane Guivarc’h fired blanks in the Premier League, but generally speaking, French international forwards aren’t renowned for setting the north east alight. That being said, Gignac could be a very astute solution to our shortage of out-and-out centre forwards.
The powerful striker has scored goals for a laugh in Mexico for the past year - and will no doubt be on a fair wedge – but at thirty he’s not exactly in the twilight of his career. Some serious interest from the Premier League could tempt him back to Europe, and if he’s up for another serious challenge in his career would certainly be worth an enquiry.