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Euro 2020 - Three rising stars whose values will rocket this summer

Sports Mole takes a look at three stars who could be in high demand after standout performances at the beginning of Euro 2020.

Major tournaments always act as the proving ground for the world's young stars, as has been shown throughout history, with the likes of James Rodriguez and Kylian Mbappe truly breaking onto the world stage at recent World Cups, while Renato Sanches earned a major move to Bayern Munich in the immediate aftermath of his triumph with Portugal at Euro 2016 at the age of 18.

With the transfer window having kicked off, the world's biggest clubs will have their eyes on Euro 2020 as they look for their next star, and here, Sports Mole takes a look at three of the currently undervalued players that could be in high demand, given their eye-catching performances in the opening games of the tournament, just as Gameseek.co.uk catches eyes with their bonus packages.

Alexander Isak pictured in Sweden training in May 2021© Reuters

One of the first players to garner attention is Swedish forward Alexander Isak, who shone in both of his nation's opening two games, as they accumulated four points from tough clashes with Spain and Slovakia. Despite not getting on the scoresheet in those games, The 21-year-old's pace and eye-catching dribbling ability constantly drove his side up the pitch and caused major problems for the opposition, with two key passes and a whopping tally of eight successful dribbles in those matches.

Having had a stellar domestic campaign with Real Sociedad in the Spanish top flight, he will have already been on the radar of several clubs in Europe, but this tournament, in which he will continue to be the talisman for his nation, should make every top team on the continent take note. While he has already been linked to the likes of Liverpool, a rumoured buy-back clause in his contract could see him return to German giants Borussia Dortmund as the perfect replacement for Erling Haaland, should the Norweigan depart in the summer.

If that clause is still applicable, the Ruhr outfit would be foolish not to take advantage, considering the Swede's market value is set to rise rapidly after the European Championships.

Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli celebrates scoring against Switzerland at Euro 2020 on June 16, 2021© Reuters

The second player who is bound to see his value rise over the summer is Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli, who has cemented himself on the global stage with several standout performances upon his nation's return to major competitions. While they were quietly fancied to go deep into the tournament to some extent, the Azzurri have gone above and beyond expectations with three convincing performances to top their group with nine points, having hit seven goals while keeping clean sheets in all three matches.

Arguably the key man in that run has been Sassuolo midfielder Locatelli, who alongside Jorginho and Nicolo Barella, ensured they dominated games in the middle, putting in two dynamic performances with his exceptional speed, strength and ability on the ball, before being rested in the final game with qualification already sealed.

It was the second game that he particularly starred in, as he netted the first two goals in their dominant 3-0 win over Switzerland, but the 23-year-old has far more than goals in his locker, with an average of one key pass and over 52 passes per game, while making three important tackles and an interception in his two games and winning three of his four aerial duels. With widespread links to the Premier League and Italy's top clubs, Sassuolo should not expect to keep hold of their star man past this summer, but they could cash in on an excellent tournament performance to seal a higher transfer fee.

Netherlands' Denzel Dumfries celebrates scoring against Ukraine at Euro 2020 on June 13, 2021© Reuters

While it may seem slightly strange to describe 25-year-old Denzel Dumfries as a rising star, the Dutch right-back has indeed hit new heights so far in this tournament, taking advantage of an excellent opportunity to showcase his talent in a promising Netherlands side. While he was far from an unknown before Euro 2020, having featured 19 times for his nation and 89 times for PSV Eindhoven, Dumfries was by no means a household name, and was in no serious conversations of top class full-backs, however that has quickly changed this year after two eye-catching performances in their two victories to start the tournament.

With the solidity of a back three behind him, the 25-year-old has had the license to bomb down the right flank, often taking up positions deep into the opposition half when the Oranje have control of the ball, resulting in him recording three key passes in his two appearances while being fouled once a game and shooting at goal twice per match on average, showing the attacking threat that he brings. That is particularly evident considering Dumfries has found the net in each of their opening two games, with only Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick topping his two goals at this stage. His most important goal came in the opening match, as he restored his nation's one-goal lead in the 85th minute after Ukraine had come back from 2-0 down to level the game, with the 25-year-old sealing three crucial points with a headed goal at the back post, showing his advanced positioning when the ball is on the other flank.

His attacking ability from a full-back role has already drawn plenty of links to Europe's top leagues, and we would be surprised to see Dumfries still plying his trade in the Eredivisie at the end of the summer transfer window.

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Germany's Kai Havertz celebrates scoring against Portugal at Euro 2020 on June 19, 2021
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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