Germany win the U21 European Championships
The under-21 championship finals have been taking place over the last week, featuring the youngsters from the top Nations across the continent.
After some fascinating knockout games, it was an anticlimactic final as Germany edged out Portugal 1-0 thanks to a close-range finish from Lukas Nmecha early into the second half.
Portugal created plenty of opportunities, but were unable to take their chances as the Germans were crowned champions for the second time in three tournaments.
Full of exciting players, the U21 championships are always a great place for young players to put themselves into the shop window for moves to bigger clubs. With that in mind, 101 has picked out five players that should be moving clubs this summer.
Ridle Baku came into this tournament off the back of a brilliant season with Wolfsburg. featuring in 32 Bundesliga games and providing six goals and eight assists in the process.
Having signed for Wolfsburg just last summer from fellow Bundesliga outfit Mainz, Baku has impressed many Bundesliga watchers with his versatility and decision making.
Now 23, Baku is contracted to the German club until 2025, meaning that anyone wanting to prize him out of Wolfsburg will have to stump up a significant sum.
Although traditionally a right back, Baku played both right-back and right-midfield for Germany at the tournament, and walked away as the top assist provider in the knockout rounds. Indeed, it was his clever pass that provided Nmecha’s goal in the final.
Ridle Baku at Euro U-21:
✅12 key passes
✅2 big chances created
✅5 successful dribbles
✅15 tackles won
MotM in the final against Portugal. Fantastic tournament by Wolfsburg’s versatile right-back! 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/M8lI8FsU2U
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) June 6, 2021
Clubs may be seriously considering signing Baku even after just one season with Wolfsburg. Another season of the same level, and they may find themselves priced out of a move for the youngster.
Diogo Dalot arrived at Manchester United in 2018 for £19.8 million (as per Transfermarkt). Now 22, the defender has amassed just 20 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils, and was sent out on loan to AC Milan for the 2020/21 season.
The Portuguese full-back, who played at both left and right-back during his time in Italy, struggled for game time in an AC Milan side that finished 2nd in the Serie A. Although he made 21 appearances in the league, only 10 of those were from the start, and he was often restricted to substitute appearances, with Davide Calabria preferred at right-back.
Diogo Dalot vs Italy
Clearances : 3
Interceptions : 4
Tackles : 3
Ground duels : 4
Aerial duels : 1
Touches : 89
Long balls (acc.)
Off to the semis 😃 pic.twitter.com/0ON9tQEKL7
— DalotXtra (@DalotXtra) May 31, 2021
Despite a disappointing final defeat to Germany, Dalot impressed throughout the tournament, capable of carrying the ball forwards as well as being strong defensively.
However, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka already at Old Trafford, it would seem that his progression will be stunted if he stays in Manchester.
And with Manchester United seemingly keen to finance a deal for Jadon Sancho, there could be no better time to pick up a proven defender for a cut price.
A name familiar to football manager players out there, Calvin Stengs is a winger who currently plies his trade at AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie. Able to play on either flank, the Dutchman impressed in his two outings for Holland despite failing to register a goal or assist.
Calvin Stengs was on fire in #AZ Alkmaar’s 3-1 victory today, opening the scoring and laying on an assist.
The 22-year-old is likely to bag a big move this summer, under the stewardship of super-agent, Mino Raiola. pic.twitter.com/7Uj964IeW7
— ZICOBALL (@ZICOBALL) February 14, 2021
However, the winger looked bright, and built upon an impressive season in Holland. Playing 30 times for Alkmaar, Stengs registered seven goals and five assists, the fourth-highest return in the squad.
Now with just two years left on his current deal, Stengs is likely to be on the move this summer. Being represented by notorious Super agent Mino Raiola, however, could make this move more difficult than anticipated.
Nevertheless, Stengs has shown over the past season that he is more than ready for a new challenge in his fledgling career.
Fabio Vieira carried a hefty reputation into the tournament, and his performances for Portugal can only have enhanced that. Appearing 19 times for Porto, he is widely considered one of the nations top talents.
One goal and one assist does not do his performances for the under-21 side justice, as much of the positive play Portugal produced flowed through the 21 year old.
🗣️ “An excellent link between midfield and attack.”
Portugal’s Fábio Vieira named #U21EURO Player of the Tournament by UEFA’s team of technical observers 👇
— UEFA U21 EURO (@UEFAUnder21) June 6, 2021
His performances were enough to land him the player of the tournament, following in the footsteps of now renowned players such as Thiago, William Carvalho, and Fabian Ruiz. With one year left on his current deal, Fabio Vieira could well be available on the cheap this summer, and even at his tender age would seamlessly slot into a top-flight side.
Amidst all of the attacking talent on show at the tournament, Niklas Dorsch stood out for his defensive nous and ability in the middle of the pitch.
Once on the books of Bayern Munich, the 23-year-old now plays for KAA Gent in the Belgian Pro League, but may not be there for long if he can continue his performances.
🇩🇪 Niklas Dorsch vs Portugal U-21:
• 30/31 passes completed
• 8/9 long passes completed
• 4 tackles made
• 2 fouls won
• 1 pre-assist
— Joe Donnohue (@JoeDonnohue) June 6, 2021
Ostensibly a defensive midfielder, Dorsch was immense throughout the tournament for Germany, providing the likes of Florian Wirtz a solid base on which to flourish.
While the step up from the Pro League to a top Premier League club would likely be a step too far, the midfielder could easily hold his own at a midtable club in the top flight, and would likely be available for a relatively cheap fee.
If his progression path continues its current trajectory, it could well prove to be a bargain in two or three years time.
This article was edited by Tom Canton.
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