ALTHOUGH Euro 2016 is something of a shop window for players looking for their next move, the most marketable players in European football are not actually appearing in the competition.
According to research by CIES Football Observatory, Napoli and Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette are the two players most likely to make a big money move in the close season.
Higuain, who netted 36 goals in 2015-16 and equalled a Serie A record that dated back to 1929, has reportedly signed a new deal with Napoli, thwarting both Chelsea and Liverpool, who hoped to lure the former Real Madrid striker to the Premier League.
The next biggest target, Lacazette, did not make the France squad for Euro 2016. He’s been on the radar of some big clubs for the past two years, and has scored 63 goals in three Ligue 1 seasons. CIES calculate his transfer value is around EUR 41.5 million. A year ago, the 25 year-old extended his contract with Lyon to 2019. But France manager Didier Deschamps, who named the player on his standby list, has said that the time is probably right for Lacazette to “spread his wings”.
Another Ligue 1 player, Michy Batshuayi, is currently in Belgium’s squad in France, but he may be heading for the Premier. West Ham United are courting the 22 year-old and are said to have placed a EUR 35 million bid for the midfielder. Fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku, after scoring 67 goals in 121 games for Everton, may also be looking for another move. He’s still only 23 and is valued at EUR 51.8 million.
Frenchman Antoine Griezmann is also high in the CIES list, with an astonishing value of EUR 120m. Since joining Atletico Madrid in 2014 from Real Sociedad, Griezmann has netted 57 goals in 107 games, scoring 22 in La Liga in both campaigns. If he ends Euro 2016 well, it would seem likely that Atletico will cash in on their prized asset.
AC Milan’s Colombian forward Carlos Bacca, who has only spent one year at the San Siro, CIES calculated a EUR 35.4 million value on Bacca, but apparently, West Ham have table £ 21m for the former Sevilla player. Another Serie A player in demand is Inter’s Maruo Icardi, valued at just under EUR 50m. Arsenal are interested in the Argentinian, but there are just as many stories insisting that Icardi is going nowehere.
Andre Gomes of Valencia and Portugal is in France at present, but there has been talk of him moving to either Barcelona, Manchester United or Juventus. He’s a versatile midfielder and, at just 22, has his best years ahead of him. CIES reckon on a EUR 41 million-plus fee will secure his services.
Generally, the CIES “fees” look slightly too high. Lionel Messi is valued at EUR 211 million, while Neymar is listed at EUR 201 million. The top 10 from across the “big five” leagues, by value:
1-Messi 211.1; 2- Neymar 201.5; 3- Ronaldo 137.8; 4- Griezmann 120.2; 5 – Kane 112.5; 6 –Martial 111.8; 7 – Suarez 105.8; 8 –Dybala 104.5; 9 – Aguero 96.8; 10 – Pogba 90.4.