The Ones to Watch: Euro 2016

Well that’s that then, season over. It was nice to go out on a positive note, with that 3-0 win over Norwich, but it didn’t mask what was mostly a season to forget. At least you can forget about Everton now though? Enjoy an international tournament with no clear front-runner? Well, not quite. If you’re like me, then England’s customary quarter-final exit isn’t the biggest deal in the world and Everton are never far from footballing thoughts. With that in mind, here are five players, transfer targets and current squad members, that Evertonians should be keeping their eyes on, come June 10th.

 

Shani Tarashaj – Switzerland

Touted as the next Xherdan Shaqiri, the 21 year old has had an impressive season in his homeland with Grasshopper Club Zurich, scoring 12 and assisting 4. He was signed by Everton last January but was immediately loaned back to Grasshoppers to see out the season. Since then the attacking midfielder has been named as Swiss Young Player of the Year in February (actually though, not like the jarg Player of the Year that Niasse won) and his form has been rewarded with a call up to the Swiss national side. While he may not be a guaranteed starter, it will be interesting to see just how much tournament experience Tarashaj is afforded.

 

Embolo

 

Breel Embolo – Switzerland

One Swiss youngster who will undoubtedly be getting game time is their overall Swiss Player of the Year. Still only 19 years old, the Swiss striker has impressed this season at Basel, scoring 13 goals. He is so highly regarded that Basel turned down a £20 million offer from Wolfsburg in January. If Lukaku is to leave Everton this summer, which seems very likely, a case could be made for Everton attempting to sign the Swiss starlet touted as the next Drogba. If he is to recover fully from a knee injury in time for the finals, then Embolo will be one of the most exciting prospects on show.

 

James McCarthy – Republic of Ireland

Bear with me here, McCarthy’s form during the past 18 months can, at best, be described as anonymous. However, during the last game of the season, albeit against a relegated Norwich, he seemed to have been given purpose again. At his best, McCarthy can be so much more than a ball winning midfielder but at his worst he can be so much less. Many have put McCarthy’s poor season down to mismanagement at club level, tactically and medically. This tournament is an opportunity for McCarthy to either prove or disprove that. Within the starting eleven at Goodison Park, McCarthy can rely on Gareth Barry to consistently perform as a key player. Whereas he will have to perform at the Euros if the Republic of Ireland are to succeed, there will be no Gareth Barry to hide behind come June. The Irishman will understand better than any that this tournament can help restart his stalling progression.

 

Yarmolenko

 

Andriy Yarmolenko – Ukraine

Still holding out hope on this one? I don’t blame you to be honest, I’m still waiting hopefully for David Moyes to turn up with Ever Banega’s work permit. Although why should we not still hold out hope of signing the Ukrainian winger? A move to England seems like it’s on the cards this summer and the £20 million asking price may no longer look as steep to a Moshiri-funded Everton To be fair though, you’re probably countering that argument well by shouting “IT’S EVERTON THOUGH” at your screen. A man can dream though ay? Anyway, I think we’ve all heard enough about his career, his strengths and weaknesses and definitely enough about his future. That doesn’t mean he won’t be watched by many interested Evertonians this summer, as he was when Kiev played City and Chelsea in the Champions League. Admit it, half the reason you watched that game was to see how he did. Whatever the outcome to this ongoing saga, he will undoubtedly be a player watched with interest by many in the Premier League.

 

Arkadiusz Milik – Poland

Many Evertonians have found themselves gazing towards Ajax during recent days, albeit focussing on the manager. There is much to admire about their playing staff also, with Milik being one of the standout examples. Having scored 21 goals in 31 games for Ajax this season, as well as 10 goals in 22 for Poland, Milik will find himself continuing to form a blossoming partnership with Robert Lewandowski during the Euros. This raises another interesting point in that Milik will be playing as part of a 4-1-3-2 system, the same system that has seen success in this year’s Premier League using high energy football. How well he performs in such a system may help to highlight whether his skills would transfer to the Premier League. While Lewandowski will undoubtedly take the plaudits, Milik is no slouch and is already gathering interest from the likes of Roma, Lazio and Sevilla.

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