Thursday, July 16, 2009
Top 5 Players Euro-Clubs Should Be Chasing... But Really Aren't
And I don't understand it. The silly season is well underway and these pieces of brilliance are still with clubs in leagues below their level - some well below it.
Each has had numerous suitors come and go without a transfer taking place and each would be a bargain of well less than €10 million - in fact, our top three wouldn't require half that much money to pry loose.
As you might imagine, almost all of these players come from a league outside the top five European leagues.
Honorable mentions: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Paweł Brożek (Wisła Kraków), Rasmus Elm (Kalmar), Andreas Granqvist (FC Groningen), Hernanes (São Paulo), Keisuke Honda (VVV Venlo), Andreas Ivanschitz (Panathinaikos), Nikola Kalinić (Hajduk Split), Denis Kolodin (Dinamo Moscow), Lulinha (Corinthians), Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar), Mario Mandžukić (Dinamo Zagreb), Rubin Okotie (Austria Vienna), Anas Sharbini (NK Rijeka), Semir Štilić (Lech Poznań).
#5 - Marc Janko (Red Bull Salzburg)
Long and lean and a scoring machine, the 26-year old has been linked to interest from a laundry list of English and German sides, as well as Celtic and Marseille. The 6'6" striker, who scored 39 league goals for the repeat champs last season, will run ya about €6 million. Put him out front of some speedy playmakers and crossers, and just watch the scoreboard light up.
#4 - Ivan Rakitić (Schalke)
The 21-year old Euro 2008 standout can make plays from the left or from a central postion, serves deadly restarts and provides a solid physical presence when the ball turns over. Previously scouted heavily by the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Juventus, Rakitić has thus far been left at the altar. A mild form slump in the middle of last season cooled the buzz around him just enough to level his price off in the €8 million range - he will be worth twice that much within two years.
#3 - Daniel Carvalho (CSKA Moscow)
Best known for leading CSKA Moscow to UEFA Cup glory, the 27-year old has been waiting since then for a big club to snap him up and lend more credibility to his Brazil hopes. The slippery dribbler and free kick ace has seen interest from Chelsea and Inter Milan come and go, while reports recently swirled that Benfica had landed him. With his contract set to run out on December 31st, CSKA may even let go of Carvalho for less than €3 million, a real steal.
#2 - Dorin Goian (Steaua Bucharest)
The Romania stalwart has nearly sealed a nice transfer so many times, the moving company probably considers him a "Wolf!" crier. The 28-year old is entering his prime as a center back . Aston Villa, Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart and Sunderland, among others, have all come calling to no avail. If any of those team can find another defender this experienced, this skilled working out of the back and this deadly on set pieces for the €4.5 million bid it would take to get this deal done, then more power to 'em.
#1 - Marek Suchý (Slavia Prague)
I call this skilled, tough-nosed defender "the Czech Daniel Agger" - you'd know why if you ever watched the 21-year old crumple an attacker, dribble downfield and rocket a shot on goal. Suchý (pictured up top) has helped Slavia to consecutive league crowns and some famous European wins, while also leading the Czech Republic to a runners up finish at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. Previously tracked by the likes of Ajax, Everton, Hamburg and Rangers, this gem - sure to multiply in value - can be had for the measly pittance of around €3.5 million. Somebody needs to act fast (and after seeing them lose out on Oguchi Onyewu, I sure wish that someone would be Ajax).
- Greg Seltzer