Often overlooked by the media, however, are the smaller transfers. Who had heard of Claudio Yacob before his Bosman move to West Brom? Michu to Swansea? And what about the likes of Alexander Tettey at Norwich? The bargain basement buys and the obscure foreign talent that is drafted in by clubs can often have just as big of an impact as the multi-million pound moves that make all the headlines.
So, after watching some of these lesser known player make waves in the league- it got me wondering, who could be in the next crop of bargains that we see here in England, or in some of the other top leagues in Europe? So, stretching the breadth of my scouting knowledge, I compiled a list of seven players that we could be seeing make a name for themselves very soon.
Some of these players you may be aware of, some you may not- but nevertheless I believe these seven could make a big impact for most teams across the continent:
1. Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders)
With big name stars such as Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry often stealing the headlines in the MLS, Seattle Sounders striker Montero has often slipped under the radar- however the Colombian’s goal record remains very impressive, scoring 25 times for Seattle in 63 appearances. Combine this with his skill on the ball, pace and unquivering work ethic- you have one of the hottest properties in North American Football. He has been capped four times for his country, and at the age of 25 he is fast approaching his peak. It is time for this Colombian hotshot to have his skills tested at a higher level.
2. Arouca (Santos)
At the age of 26 Arouca has finally burst onto the scene in Brazil. After a successful and promising spell at Fluminese earlier in his career, the Brazilian holding midfielder’s career has took off upon his move to Santos in 2010. Providing a solid and assured presence in the middle of the park, Arouca has acted as midfield anchorman in a Santos side that has won the Copa Brazil and the Copa Libertadores since his arrival. His talents have been recognised by the Brazilian national set up with Arouca receiving 4 caps since the start of 2012. It increasingly looks as though Arouca will play a big role at the 2014 World Cup- and perhaps before then he will seal a big money move to Europe?
3. Kara (KRC Genk)
Few people cut as intimidating figure on the pitch as the Senegalese Centre Back-cum-Midfielder Serigne Kara. Standing at an impressive 6 foot 3 and possessing monstrous strength, it is fair to say this beastly defender is not someone you want to meet in a dark alley. Capped twice by his national side, his domineering and marauding displays for Norwegian side Tromso at the back and in midfield earned him rave reviews across Europe. This January saw him seal a move to Belgian side Genk- somewhat of a sideways step in my eyes. I doubt it will be long before we are seeing Kara dominating opposition attackers in one of Europe’s top leagues.
4. Cristian Ansaldi (Rubin Kazan)
Classy, quick and tough-tackling- pretty much three perfect attributes to be a top full back. Argentinian left-back Cristian Ansaldi meets all three. After coming through the academy at Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland, Ansaldi sealed a move to Russian club Kazan in 2008. He has been an ever present in their side since then- helping guide them to their first two ever league titles in his first two years in Russia. Ansaldi’s great dribbling ability and pace means that he is often utilised as a winger by his manager, but his defensive solidity remains his biggest asset. A truly class player who could grace most teams in Europe.
5. Jordy Clasie (Feyernoord)
Now widely becoming recognised as one of the hottest properties on the market, the young dutch central midfielder has taken the first couple of seasons of his career by storm. Already being hailed in some quarters as the “Dutch Xavi”- although these comparisons are premature, you can see similarity in their styles of play. Probing, Not scared of getting on the ball, and capable of the killer pass- it is no surprise that Clasie has already been capped 3 times for the Dutch National Side. Feyernoord will not be able to keep hold of this young passing prodigy for long, and his destination looks likely to be one of Europe’s big clubs.
6. Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiacos)
They dont call him the “Greek Messi” for nothing. Although a left winger by trade, Fetfatzidis can also play just off the striker and his pacy, dangerous and exciting performances in the Champions League and in Euro 2012 Qualifiers meant that scouts all over the continent sat up and took notice. Still at the tender age of 22, he has made 13 appearances for the Greek National team, and has already scored three goals in a string of exciting displays. Despite this, he has endured an unhappy campaign so far, only making seven appearances for his club- with the general feeling he is on his way out in the summer. One can imagine somewhat of a transfer scramble for this particular Greek attacking midfielders services.
7. Christian Atsu (FC Porto)
Few men in the world of football can match Porto winger Christian Atsu for pace. Accomplished at international level (with 13 appearances and three goals) despite only being 21 years of age, Atsu has returned to Porto this season following an incredibly successful loan spell at Rio Ave last term. Due to the presence of in form wingers James Rodriguez and Varela, the Ghanaian’s first team opportunities have been restricted to just 11 games. However he remains an excellent prospect- with his electric pace, skill on the ball and rocket shot, we will be seeing a lot more of Christian Atsu- and maybe in one of Europe’s bigger leagues.