• Nathan Smith


Updated: Aug 24, 2021

With the world watching, major international tournaments have proven to be a great launching pad for some players careers.

An impressive performance on the big stage could guarantee interest in your services after the tournament is over.

We all remember James Rodriguez’s rise to stardom via the 2014 World Cup, but can any players from the upcoming European Championships earn themselves a big move?

Here are four players who have an opportunity to impress this summer…

Zeki Celik

After being a dependable figure in the title winning Lille side, Zeki Celik’s name has already been linked with numerous ‘big’ teams, with the likes of Manchester United and Leicester City being early favourites to sign the right back. This tournament will provide Celik a chance to show exactly what he proved in Lille this season, in a Turkey team that may be dark horses. A strong all-rounder, the Turk is a solid defender, and a good attacker, but not someone who will rack up assists like Trent Alexander-Arnold. What you will get though is an incredibly reliable full back, who will stay consistent throughout the season. At 24 years old, Celik has plenty of years left at the top, and if he performs well at the Euros, we may see him in the Premier League sooner rather than later.

Manuel Locatelli

After breaking into the AC Milan team at just 18, Manuel Locatelli looked like he had the world on his feet, however limited appearances under Gennaro Gattuso led to the Italian having to part ways with his first team. An initial loan spell with Sassuolo was turned permanent in 2019, and since then Locatelli has established himself as one of the best young midfielders in Europe. Mainly operating as a defensive midfielder, Locatelli is a calm head who’s football brain goes beyond his years and he is a particularly good passer of the ball. He is also a strong defender with an ability to read the game and possess a decent long shot on him, although he is not a prolific scorer. He is alleged to be Massimo Allegri’s number one target at Juventus, with interest also from Manchester City. There is no doubt that Locatelli will more than likely be playing for one of Europe’s ‘elite’ next season and a good Euro 2020 campaign will help.

Nuno Mendes

At just 18 years old, Nuno Mendes has already established himself as one of the brightest prospects in world football. Starring at left wing-back in a great Sporting CP team, the Portuguese wonderkid has already gained interest from both Manchester United and City. While he has only one goal and one assist in the league this season, Mendes ability to facilitate attacking play from those in front of him has shown that he is a mature player for his age and perhaps ready to take that big step early in his career. A consistent player, Mendes is great with the ball at his feet, ready to take on his man at any time and then put a good ball in the box, but he also can defend well, with an ability to anticipate and tackle when necessary. Being only 18, there is still plenty he needs to work on, but that has not deterred Pep Guardiola as Manchester City look set to spend around £60m to bring in the wing-back and the upcoming tournament could showcase exactly why Man City are keen to bring the youngster in.

Okay Yokuslu

A name familiar to some Premier League fans, Okay Yokuslu’s form after his arrival at West Brom went well under the radar of many, more than likely due to how bad his team were. Yokuslu however was a shining light of the relegated side, and had the Hawthorns faithful resigned to the fact that they could not bring him in permanently while in the Championship. Able to play in both the ‘six’ and the ‘eight’ role, Yokuslu brings a strong defensive awareness to any team he is at, with a big physical presence meaning he is not afraid to get stuck in. Alongside this, the Turk has a great passing range, and can dictate the tempo of games from defensive midfield. While Celta Vigo may now want to keep their midfielder, sending him out on loan to West Brom could indicate a move elsewhere for a good price and if he can impress at the Euros, Yokuslu may be back in the Premier League right away.