6 Euro 2012 Players To Replace Bale And Modric At Tottenham
With the European Championship now past the halfway point, many feel this has been the best group stage of any tournament thus far. The quality of football has been at its highest and at the time of writing, there is yet to be a 0-0 draw. The array of talent on offer has seen a number of the star performers of the tournament linked with big money moves this summer following the displays of a fair share at Euro 2012.
It is ultimately hard to judge whether a player could adjust to a change in league following the tournament, but it gives fans and scouts an idea of the capability of certain players. However, with the links comes uncertainty, with fans hoping their team’s player will still be at the club in time for the new season.
In the case of Tottenham Hotspur, Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, who was linked with a move away following failure to qualify for the Champions League, is one of those players that has enjoyed an excellent tournament thus far. The performances of the diminutive schemer has seen speculation heighten surrounding his future and having viewed Euro 2012 thus far, below are three players that could end up replacing the 26-year-old next season
Should a possible swap deal be on the cards, Spurs would be wise to see Khedira included
Sami Khedira (Germany and Real Madrid)
The Real Madrid powerhouse has been pivotal to Germany’s unbeaten start in the European Championship so far, forming a partnership with Bastian Schweinsteiger in the middle of the park that has seen the tournament favourites concede just once and score three. A mainstay in the national side following his debut in 2009, the midfielder has earned rave reviews for his ability to break down play and instigate attacks in one fluid movement.
Moved to Real Madrid in 2010 from VfB Stuttgart when Jose Mourinho was confirmed as head coach, the 25-year-old had made over 80 appearances following his switch from Germany to Spain. However, with Nuri Sahin, Xabi Alonso, Fabio Coentrao and Lassana Diarra all vying for one spot at the Bernabeu, it has seen Khedira linked with a move away from the club in the past months.
With Modric also linked with a move to Los Blancos, any deal could see Khedira move the away. If Mourinho is to convince Spurs to sell the Croatia international, the German’s future is likely to be thrown into doubt in the Spanish capital. Should a possible swap deal be on the cards, Spurs would be wise to see Khedira included in any deal that would see him swap Madrid for North London. Possessing all the physical attributes to make an impact in the Premier League, if Modric were to depart White Hart Lane, the powerful Germany international could be a viable replacement.
Marvin Martin (France and Sochaux)
The Sochaux youngster is one that has been tipped to succeed for France during Euro 2012, even if he is forced to play a bit part role. Unfortunate to be behind Yann M’Vila, Yohan Cabaye and Alou Diarra in the pecking order under Laurent Blanc, Marvin is one that could be ideal to replace Modric, both of which share the same physical frailty, but excellent vision and passing accuracy.
A deep lying playmaker, much in the same vain as the Croat, Martin is an ideal technical midfielder
A move to Lille is said to be close to completion, with Les Dogues thought to have agreed a fee with Sochaux for his signature, but should any deal break down, the 24-year-old could be a perfect fit for Spurs. A deep lying playmaker, much in the same vain as the Croat, Martin is an ideal technical midfielder that has the potential to form a decent partnership alongside either Scott Parker or Sandro in the middle of the park.
With Sweden now out of the competition, and Ukraine and England set to face each other in the final round of Group D encounters, qualification for the quarter finals of Euro 2012 is all but guaranteed for Les Bleus, provided they avoid defeat against the Scandinavian side. Blanc may look to give his fringe players a run out and with it, Martin could be given the start to showcase his capabilities on the grandest stage, another reason why Lille will be hoping to wrap up any deal for the Frenchman sooner rather than later.
Andrea Pirlo (Italy and Juventus)
A move that is unlikely to happen, given his exceptional season for Juventus, but Pirlo is one that would more than accommodate for the loss of Modric. Rolling back the years this summer, the Italian has been pivotal for the Azzuri in the midfield this summer. Spreading the play like he was in his heyday, it is unsurprising to have seen the 33-year-old lauded as one the tournaments finest thus far.
In the same group as Croatia, the two came up against each in the 1-1 draw on Thursday evening and both showed similar characteristics in their ability to pick up the ball from deep and initiate attacks with pin-point passing accuracy. And Italy will be heavily dependent on Pirlo’s vision as they look to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
Pirlo could provide a perfect stop-gap until a long-term successor to Modric can be secured at White Hart Lane.
Having drawn their first two games against Spain and Croatia, only a win over Republic of Ireland will be enough to see Cesare Prandelli’s side to the knockout stage, with Italy hoping the fixture between the aforementioned duo providing a winner. Irregardless of whether they progress, Pirlo, as unfeasible as any move may appear, could provide a perfect stop-gap until a long-term successor to Modric can be secured at White Hart Lane.
Unsurprisingly, a lack of Champions League football hasn’t seen Modric as the only one linked with a move away from North London, with Gareth Bale also showing signs that his future may lie away from White Hart Lane. The Welshman is believed to want out this summer, with Barcelona thought to be keen on the winger. However, every player is replaceable and the next three are players that could replace the 22-year-old at Spurs.
Jakub Blaszczykowski (Poland and Borussia Dortmund)
Blaszczykowski, or Kuba for short, is one that looks to benefit from the hype surrounding the European Championship and his exquisite strike during the 1-1 draw with Russia on Tuesday would have seen much of Europe’s biggest clubs sit up and take notice. The 26-year-old is one of three of the current Poland side to have been linked with big summer moves after the tournament.
Kuba has been excelling for the recently crowned Bundesliga champions following his arrival from Wisla Krackow in 2007. His performances haven’t gone un-noticed either, with Real Madrid believed to be keen on taking him from Germany to Spain. After his goal against Russia, he admitted he rarely uses his left foot when it comes to shooting, but showed what he is capable of with his top corner effort.
The Polish international could be a perfect replacement for Bale on the flank.
Often deployed on the wing with Dortmund, or at wing-back when the need arises, the Polish international could be a perfect replacement for Bale on the flank. Not afraid to run at defenders with pace and his dribbling ability has left many fans singing his praises at the best of times. A move could be on the cards this summer and if Spurs can snare him early, he would be an excellent acquisition for the North London side.
Yevhen Konoplyanka (Ukraine and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)
One of the players tipped to make an impact during Euro 2012, Konoplyanka hasn’t disappointed thus far. Terrifying defenders with his agility, boundless energy and dribbling ability, the young Ukrainian has shown maturity beyond his years with two solid performances against Sweden and France.
Chelsea and Arsenal have monitored the 22-year-old in the past and are highly likely to rekindle their interest in the young winger, dubbed the Ukrainian Messi, should he continue to excel, especially if the co-hosts secure a vital win over England next week. A place in the last eight of the competition will likely see his stock rise; with Dnipro head coach Juande Ramos (remember him?) placing a price-tag of around €55m on his head.
Dnipro head coach Juande Ramos (remember him?) has placed a price-tag of around €55m on his head.
Nevertheless, it is unlikely to deter potential suitors should they find a place in their team for Konoplyanka. Possessing similar characteristics to Kuba, both in playing style and ability, eyes will be focused on him when Ukraine come up against England next week. Likely to come up against Glen Johnson, the Liverpool right-back will be in for a torrid evening if the winger is in the mood to cause damage from the left flank.
Konstantinos Fortounis (Greece and 1. FC Kaiserslautern)
The second to have been dubbed his countries Messi, Fortounis is more similar to Konoplyanka than Kuba. The young Greek star was considered somewhat of an outside pick by head coach Fernando Santos due to his age and inexperience on the international stage. Started the first game from the bench before being picked for the starting XI for the second, it will take a lot for the Greeks to manage safe passage to the next round of the tournament having secured one point from their opening two games.
Underperformed somewhat given his potential, but at just 19-years-old, he is one of Greece’s hottest prospects. Yet to score a league goal for Kaiserslautern, possibly down to his role at the club due to his age, it won’t be long before a number of Europe’s heavyweights are sniffing around the youngster.
Best suited on the wing and best with the ball at his feet, head down and running at defenders, Fortounis could be seen as an ideal replacement for Bale, despite his age. His stock will rise should he turn in an impressive performance against Russia on Saturday night, especially if it ensures qualification to the quarter finals of the European Championship.
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