Euro U21 Preview

Whether you want to be involved in trading for this or not, the U21 tournament will have a lot of recognisable talent on display. The tournament is going to cause turbulence for good or ill in some of these players.

Two weeks out, we should still find some value that could get bought in anticipation of the tournament given how short term many traders are. And, even if we don’t want to be involved directly, it’s good to be aware of the FI relevant stars of the biggest teams. 

After all, we may want some of these players for the new season so it may be worth picking them up earlier than we normally would if they have U21 involvement. Provided of course they haven’t rocketed in price already.

My approach if buying specifically for the tournament is to do so early and sell if they spike in anticipation in the days before the tournament itself. I don’t wait to roll the dice and see how they perform unless I am content to just hold them into the new season because they fit my Key Strategy anyway. 

I’ll run through the FI suitable stars of the big teams and then round up the best of the rest. 

In terms of who is likely to progress, there really is no favourite according to the bookies. The big 5 teams (Spain, England, France, Italy, Germany) are all around 5/1 to win with everyone else trailing well behind. Germany have the easiest group but it’s marginal. 

The focus will be on players that either fit site Key Strategy, are good value, or popular/well known. I’ll only be including defenders if there is a real stand out option because in the absence of performance scoring people are just going to be looking for goals.

Note that not all squads are confirmed, this is based on who appeared in recent friendlies and qualifying.

Spain U21

Key Players

Midfielders: Ruiz, Ceballos, Soler

Forwards: Mayoral, Oyarzabal

Market and Player Assessment

Ruiz ended the season really well and traders will be optimistic ahead of the new season. He could also get a boost with a good performance at the Euros so if you are going to it is one I’d sign up sooner rather than later. Great to see he has been getting more close range shots in recently because this is the only thing he needed to start delivering regular big scores. 

Ceballos has potential although the more I have seen of him for Real, the more concerned I am about his goal threat which doesn’t look good enough for more than a few big scores per season. Could still get attention but long term I’m less optimistic on him than I was.

Soler is a potentially performance suitable talent and has scored 2 in qualifying. Could see some interest. Done well to establish at Valencia this season but needs more more goal threat for FI purposes.

Mayoral has a strong goal scoring record in qualifying although has blanked in recent friendlies. On loan at Levante last year he is returning to Real but may be sold so his future is uncertain. Good goal scorer but no indication yet he is a good performance player. 

Oyarzabal is a real talent who could be very performance suitable in future and remains at a relatively kind price. The reason the price remains around £1 is because he won’t be winning much at Sociedad, and he has something of a loyalty and a long contract. Surely he will move but whilst he does have some links this Summer may be too soon.

England U21

Key Players

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka

Midfielders: Maddison, Foden, Gray, Barnes, Sessegnon, 

Forwards: Solanke, Calvert-Lewis, Abraham, 

Market and Player Assessment

Solanke has been a prolific goalscorer at this level so is expected to get the nod over Calvert-Lewin and Abraham. Solanke is set up for a better season with more pitch time and at the value price isn’t a bad shout because even if people don’t fancy him for performance, he can be good IPD value. 

Calvert-Lewin has some potential and is doing well to get regular minutes but he may be a bench option. If he does play though he has a good scoring record in qualifying.  

I’ve been saying Abraham is over priced for a while and even after his recent price crash, he still is.

Lots of talent in midfield and picking the starters is tough. 

Maddison should start and he is my favourite in the squad. You do pay a premium for him though. He has transfer speculation too but I personally think this is weak and he will play another season at Leicester. This isn’t ideal but with the revival under Rodgers, it’s not a reason to be glum. Not the best value anymore but I think he is a really solid choice that will retain trader confidence and could see steady rises for quite some time.

Foden is just as good but again, it’s not a secret and you pay an even bigger premium. Really not a great option to be buying just for this tournament but for a long term hold he looks solid enough. Rotation should continue to be a problem next season though.  

Barnes and Gray are solid options and likely to start. Gray remains decent value although I prefer Barnes as a performance option. Not much between them given the price difference.

Sessegnon has been improving but the price has long outstripped his ability and I’ve said that for a long time. He’s been diving in price but nowhere near enough to be considered good value whether he goes to Spurs or not. 

Wan-Bissaka will get attention but he has shown nothing at all to suggest he is more than an average performance player despite a great season. Way overpriced and with almost no goal threat in his game it would be lucky if he made a big impact.


France U21

Key Players

Midfielders: Terrier, Aouar, 

Forwards: Dembelé, Saint-Maximin, Bamba,

Market and Player Assessment

Terrier has been doing great for Lyon and I’ve highlighted his talent on the site for a while. He will go into next season with trader optimism behind him and he has been prolific for the France U21s in qualifying, scoring 7 in 426 minutes. Good option.

Aouar is well known and has decent performance suitability, although we need a few more goals out of him. Has scored 2 in qualifying though and he’s not at a bad price considering he has been expected to stay at Lyon. That isn’t guaranteed though and there are still Manchester City rumours. 

Dembelé is proving himself a top class goal scorer and he does it for the U21’s too with 5 in qualifying. Has been spiking due to Manchester United links although I note a statement from Lyon today saying he is going nowhere. Fairly awful performance player mind but his goalscoring is very strong which at least gives him IPD value and potential future media value is an EPL move did ever come. 

Saint-Maximin hasn’t made much of an impact for the U21’s but he is a known up and comer and has featured in recent friendlies. Could get a bounce if he performs well. 

Bamba has some optimism for next season. He’s appeared in recent friendlies for France U21 and gets his chances scoring 3 in qualifying. A decent option given he could be expected to perform better next year as the new main man when Pepe moves on. 

Italy U21

Key Players

Midfielders: Tonali

Forwards: Cutrone, Parigini, Orsolini, Kean. 

Market and Player Assessment

Tonali has been much more popular than he should be for a player with such weak goal threat. Talented for sure in reality but he does not have the right style for FI. Could fly in price if he scored but that would be unlikely.

Anyone looking for a cheap punt could go for Parigini of Torino. He’s got reasonable performance potential, is very likely to start and has scored two and assisted one in recent friendlies. It’s possible he could get a goal and see some attention and at just 31p it’s not a bad bet. 

Orsolini is also a decent prospect although with Bologna having bought him from Juventus recently that will turn traders off. Worth noting the name though because I think he will be pretty good in a year or two’s time. 

Cutrone seems established in the striker slot but has blanked in all recent matches. Perhaps the very overpriced Moise Kean could challenge for the spot if he is named in the squad. 

Either could get attention if they have a good tournament. Both are similar players, good goal scorers but don’t do much else which makes them weak performance players. Both suffer rotation issues at their clubs. Cutrone has Piatek to see off unless Milan opt to use both next season. Cutrone the better bet if any because of the much more favourable price. 

Germany U21

Key Players

Midfielders: Neuhaus, Maxilian Eggestein

Forwards: Waldschmidt, Joannes Eggestein, 

Market and Player Assessment

Waldschmidt has 2 in the last 5 for the U21’s and could be a good performance prospect for the future. Has some transfer rumblings including Gladbach and Leipzig. Price is still decent at 63p. Quite like him

The Eggestein brothers if they play are both decent performance prospects. Joannes is out of contract and leaving Werder Bremen so should get some interesting speculation if he has a good tournament. Joannes has decent goal threat so could make an impact. Maxilian has better overall involvement but weaker threat so is less likely to shine here.

Neuhaus is a potential performance suitable player I like and he tends to have good goal threat for the U21’s (even if he hasn’t put any away recently). Decent overall game for performance too and one to have in the back of our minds at least. If he played 90 minutes next season for Gladbach I think we’d see him improve a lot on his average performance scores so far.

U21 Best of the Rest

Key Players

Midfielders: Skov (Denmark), 

Forwards: Kownacki (Poland), Jovic (Serbia),

Market and Player Assessment

Kownacki is prolific and the top scorer in the U21 qualifying with 11 in 11 games. He scored 4 in 10 for Dusseldorf too. He is back at Sampdoria for next season unless something happens in the transfer market. With his goal threat I’d be surprised if a bigger team didn’t take note if not this Summer then the one after. Not a great performance player but a goal scorer, comparable to a Piatek or similar.

Skov scored 8 in qualifying and should be a solid performance player if he got a good move. He does have rumours including to Spurs although it has been quiet recently. Price isn’t bad at £1.08 and if he did get a move to a good club traders would be optimistic.

Jovic is no secret so I can’t imagine a goal or two at U21 level will have much of a market impact. Big price drop after the Real Madrid talk was a “done deal” but now it’s not and he has EPL links now. Interest in him could rekindle.

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