John Ford
Tue 1 July 2008

What next for the Euro finalists?

Euro 2008, one of the most enthralling international tournaments in living memory from David Villa's hat-trick - one of only eight in the competition's history - to Turkey's great late shows against the Czech Republic and Croatia, the early departures of once great nations in Italy and France to the eventual crowning of Europe's new power - Spain. This tournament which, as highlighted in an earlier post by one of my colleagues, began at a rather laboured pace when the Swiss took on the Czechs but quickly became illuminated by performances of the highest quality, is now sadly over.

Of the 22 which took to the field for the final on Sunday night, just three plied their trade in the English Premier League which begs the question, 'Of the remaining bright lights, should we be expecting any to jump ship and head to Blighty?'

Of course it would be a great shame to see either of the aforementioned trio leave this Summer but at the same time I personally cannot see Ballack, Fabregas or Torres going anywhere anytime soon.Let's start with the players of the tournament.

A nine-strong panel selected Xavi Hernandez as their key man and the Barcelona man will no doubt be attracting the attention of Europe's elite. This guy is Barcelona through and through after spending his entire career at the club. Although his contract does carry a buy-out clause, it is set at a massive £100 million - a price which will not be met for this 28-year-old midfielder.

What about the transfer rumours, though? Although there were whispers abound that Avram Grant's Chelsea were keen to sign the Barca star back in March, since then there has been very little in terms of movement. Be that due to Grant's departure or the apparently imminent capture of Deco by the Blues no-one really knows but it looks as though classy Xavi will be staying with Barca with his agent Ivan Corretja claiming that:

"Xavi has a deal until June 2012 and is happy at Barca. The decision about a possible exit is Barcelona's."

Okay so the player of the tournament looks like he will be staying put but what about the best of the rest?

Well we should check out the transfer odds firstly and it looks as though there has been heavy movement for Liverpool to clinch a double signing of club-mates David Silva and golden-boot winner David Villa although their performances over the past month will surely have boosted their transfer value regardless of Valencia's current financial strife.

Let's start with Villa (right) because this guy looks as though he's had more clubs sniffing round him than a dolled-up poodle at the Crufts after-party.

Their have been rumours that Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United have all shown an interest in the striker with figures from £17 million - the supposed asking price - to £30 million being thrown around.

It is likely that Villa will be moving this Summer. His club side Valencia didn't exactly avoid the drop by the skin of their teeth but the Spanish striker will be looking for Champions League football next season and Valencia cannot offer him this.

In my opinion this means that Spurs are out of the running to land the players but with Luka Modric and Dos Santos already joining the North Londoners, I could be proved wrong as Juande Ramos continues to attract big names to the capital.

A sum around £23 million for this guy would be a bargain for any of the top teams in England and a joint bid in the region of £40 million would surely seal his buddy Silva's signature into the bargain too.

The rumour mill has been extremely quiet on the Silva front but both The Sun and The Mirror in England have claimed recently that Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is after the highly-rated attacking midfielder. I believe a clever footy bet should be put on this guy heading over from the Med with Villa in tow.

What about their German counterparts then? Well Werder Bremen playmaker Torsten Frings has been making waves - actually more like ripples - in the market after being named as a surprise target for Arsene Wenger. At the ripe old age of 31 he is much older than many of the Gunner's usual options but it is believed that Wenger wants the German to replace Flamini in the heart of Arsenal's midfield and at £4 million it could prove to be the bargain of the Summer. Mind you many said that about Mateja Kezman...

One of Germany's most consistent performers in this tournament was one Bastian Schweinsteiger (right), after being sent off against Croatia the influencial midfielder came back with a bang, scoring the opening goal of their quarter-final encounter with Portugal and scoring their equaliser against Turkey in their semi-final.

The bottle blonde was out of favour for Bayern Munich last season with the likes of Tim Borowski and in-form Franck Ribery further up the pecking order.

He may not be the biggest of players but his strength on the ball and ability to pick out the killer pass would be something which any team in the Premiership would be more than welcoming to his skills and I believe this would greatly improve their odds of success next term. Following his fall from grace with Munich his valuation has dropped significantly from the £30 million mark bandied about a couple of years back and even after a great Euro campaign an offer around £16 million should force the German clubs hand.

There are of course plenty of other names which could feasibly make a move to England this Summer but I can't really see the likes of Puyol, Podolski or Ramos heading our way before the start of next season - unless that is, Roman Abramovich has, let's say, a spare £100 million down the back of his luxury lazy-boy?

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