Euro 2020 kicks off this evening in Rome and Kaustubh Pandey suggests keeping an eye on six players who could move to Serie A after the tournament.
Every major football tournament brings to the fore big expectations and hopes. Stories of success and failures light up the competition, involving countries and players. It’s not rare for fans to witness their future club heroes break their country’s dreams or bring endless joy to an entire nation. It happened back in 2000, for example, when Italian Juventus fans saw their new striker, David Trezeguet, destroy their Euro hopes scoring a golden goal against the Azzurri.
Although the pandemic has strongly affected most clubs’ finances around Europe, especially in Serie A, agents and sporting directors will still have a busy summer dealing with transfers. While Gigio Donnarruma is expected to leave Serie A to join PSG as a free agent, we look at six potential signings for Italian clubs who will feature at Euro 2020.
Many Juventus fans would recognise Sergio Oliviera as the Porto midfielder who sent them out of the Champions League this season, but they could soon find the 29-year-old in the middle of the park wearing the shirt of their arch-rivals Fiorentina.
Oliviera will share the Portugal dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020 and while he may not start regularly, he proved his worth in the friendlies leading up to the big tournament. The Porto man with a bun contributed to 19 league goals at a club level this season, picking up five goals in the Champions League. The central midfielder operates in a box-to-box capacity but emphasises more running between the lines to create and score. Fiorentina fans will undoubtedly get a glimpse of Oliviera in the tournament before his possible move to the Artemio Franchi.
The Wolves goalkeeper could be one of Jose Mourinho’s very first signings at Roma and the 33-year-old would be Portugal’s regular man between the sticks at Euro 2020. The tournament will give Roma fans a chance to watch their future goalkeeper in action, knowing that they’ll need a reliable shot-stopped in 2021-22 after both Antonio Mirante and Pau Lopez failed to impress last season.
Patricio played regularly for Wolves under Nuno Santo in the 2020-21 campaign, although it was one of his poorest seasons at the club, as the goalkeeper came under criticism regularly for mistakes. Having said that, he has played over 90 times for the Portuguese national team and Euro 2020 will be his chance to prove that form is temporary, but class is permanent.
Even though the France striker signed a new contract with Chelsea as early as last week, Giroud is still heavily linked with a move to Milan. Les Bleus will have Karim Benzema back for Euro 2020, but the Chelsea forward is an essential part of the team’s jigsaw – as evident from his brace against Bulgaria recently. Game time had run dry for him in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign under Thomas Tuchel but he remains a threat in front of goal because of his physical ability, aerial prowess and eye for goal.
Milan’s plans with Mario Mandzukic never quite worked out, meaning the Rossoneri will need a new striker in the summer. Considering Giroud’s trophy cabinet and experience, he could be the perfect fit for the role, especially considering Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s physical issues.
Serie A remains no stranger to Emerson’s abilities considering his stint at Roma, but Inter and Napoli are now keeping a close eye on the Italy international at Euro 2020. The Nerazzurri seem to be in pole position to land the former Roma man and Chelsea have offered the left-back and Andreas Christensen plus cash in a deal to sign departing Inter star Achraf Hakimi. However, although Emerson remains on Inter’s radars, the Serie A giants want to sell Hakimi for a cash offer only and would try to sign the 26-year-old in a separate deal.
After Maurizio Sarri departed from Chelsea, Emerson has failed to become a regular at Stamford Bridge. He had been given some playing time by Frank Lampard, but injuries derailed the progress pretty quickly. Italy coach Roberto Mancini even suggested the former Roma defender leave London as it’s quite evident Tuchel trusts Ben Chilwell’s abilities more than Emerson’s pure left-back attributes. Therefore, it’s very likely to see the 26-year-old leave South London after the Euros with one year remaining in his Chelsea contract.
Regardless of which coach ends up at Juventus, the links with Paul Pogba never cease to go away around the Allianz Stadium. Andrea Pirlo had past connections with him and Allegri certainly likes the Frenchman as a player having coached the 2018 France World Cup winner for two seasons in Turin. Even though Pogba may not end up in Turin this summer, Juventus fans still hope to see their former midfielder wear the Bianconeri shirt once again in the future as his contract at Manchester United ends in the summer of 2022.
In some ways, the 2020-21 campaign was one of Pogba’s best at Old Trafford. He got the club crucial wins in the Premier League and Europe while often deployed on the left wing by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He also played a key role in a 3-1 dismantling of old foe Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and at some point in the future, the two men could be crossing paths once again – but this time in Serie A. Pogba has played in a double pivot beside N’Golo Kante in recent weeks with Les Blues. The supremely talented France side is one of the big favourites to win Euro 2020 and although Juventus fans know Pogba very well already, they will still keep a close eye on him.
Reports have stated in recent days that Marcel Sabitzer could be available for a fee of around €17 million and Jose Mourinho’s Roma are reportedly in the race to secure his services along with the Special One’s former club Tottenham. Sabitzer is one of Austria’s most important players at Euro 2020 and Roma fans will certainly catch a glimpse of the 27-year-old pulling strings for Franco Foda’s men.
Capable of playing in many different positions, Sabitzer has played as an attacking midfielder for Austria and in central midfield or out wide for Leipzig, showcasing a tremendous footballing IQ and technical ability to progress the ball into the final third. Roma may already have a player of that ilk in Lorenzo Pellegrini, but Sabitzer would present a big bargain deal for the Giallorossi not to mention that Pellegrini, who won’t participate in Euro 2020 due to a muscle injury, has only one year remaining in his contract and has been linked with a move to Barcelona.