Who remembers this guy?

7 players signed off the back of a brilliant Euros & how they fared: Locatelli, Arshavin…

In an era of sporting directors and data-driven transfers, clubs being wowed by a standout star at a tournament and not thinking twice before snapping them up is a dying art.

There are so many factors that contribute to the buzz of a tournament such as Euro 2024, one of those being breakout stars performing when the lights are brightest. Be it a completely unknown quantity, a forgotten footballer fighting for a second coming, or a typically ordinary player turning into Pele for six weeks, their performances count and – despite it becoming less frequent – can often lead to a dream transfer if they play their cards right.

Consider this our official campaign to make reactionary, post-Euros form signings compulsory going forward, in a bid to save the game. Here are seven players who were signed off the back of a few weeks of brilliance and how they fared.

Karel Poborsky

Narrowly missing out on winning Euro 96 with the Czech Republic, Poborsky was electric all tournament long and famously scored that iconic, chipped effort to ensure they knocked out Portugal in a 1-0 win.

His performances convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to strike while the iron was hot and he signed for Manchester United that summer, winning the league title in his first season but quickly falling out of favour due to David Beckham’s increasing influence on the team. He moved to Benfica in 1998 and later played in Lazio, before eventually retiring back in the Czech Republic.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney’s 2003-04 campaign with Everton had already established him as one of the most promising young talents in England, but by the time the 18-year-old had strutted his stuff for England at Euro 2004, there was no longer a debate about his potential – this kid was the one.

As United made a habit of doing, they snapped up Rooney without hesitation following England’s quarter-final exit – despite Rooney breaking his foot – paying Everton a record £27million deal for the teenager. 559 appearances and 253 goals later, it turned out to be a pretty decent piece of business.

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Andrey Arshavin

Missing the first two games of Russia’s Euro 2008 campaign due to suspension, Arshavin returned in style in matchday three with a goal and an assist against Sweden, before doing the exact same to the Netherlands in the quarter-final.

His tournament was over by the end of the semi-final as Russia were knocked out by Spain, but a mad few games where he looked unstoppable was enough to prompt a transfer saga for his services. Barcelona and Tottenham were both unsuccessful with bids that summer, before a patient Arsenal landed the forward in January 2009 – albeit by keeping him in a hotel by their training ground on deadline day until Zenit agreed to a deal.

Arshavin became a cult hero in a four-year spell with the Gunners, never quite kicking on but famously scoring four goals in one game against Liverpool. The definition of flashes of brilliance – and the reason more teams should sign on pure instinct off the back of major tournaments.

Roman Pavlyuchenko

Despite missing out on one Russian Euro 2008 star that summer, Tottenham were successful with their pursuit of Pavlyuchenko, who’d already made a name for himself with a brace against England in the tournament qualifiers.

Pavlyuchenko played out of his skin at the tournament, scoring against Spain in their opening game, being named Player of the Match against Greece and bagging against both Sweden and the Netherlands.

He spent three and a half years with Spurs and left with a cult hero vibe similar to Arshavin’s at Arsenal, remembered best for scoring thunderbastards on an infrequent basis.

Mario Mandzukic

The Croatian enjoyed a strong 2011-12 season in the Bundesliga anyway, but his performance at Euro 2012 undoubtedly made Bayern more confident in signing him a few weeks into the tournament.

Mandzukic finished joint-top scorer at Euro 2012 alongside several others with three goals. His time at Bayern was short but incredibly sweet, scoring 48 games in 88 games across two seasons and winning a continental treble. An absolute bagsman.

Lamine Yamal of Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal

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Hal Robson-Kanu

Somewhat astoundingly, Robson-Kanu headed into Euro 2016 as a free agent after being released by Reading.

Nobody would’ve predicted what would happen next, with the striker scoring the winner from the bench in their first group game and famously scoring a Puskas-nominated strike against Belgium in the quarter-final, as Wales shocked everyone and made the semis.

Robson-Kanu signed a two-year deal with Premier League side West Brom after the tournament and remained there for the rest of his career. He’s since retired after leaving the Baggies in 2021.

Manuel Locatelli

Locatelli had already enjoyed a breakthrough season with Sassuolo in 2020-21, but his performances for Italy as they lifted Euro 2020 were the icing on the cake.

Beginning as a starter and scoring a brace against Switzerland in the group stages, he later proved the perfect impact sub for Marco Verratti and was a vital cog in the machine for Roberto Mancini’s side. It prompted a move to Juventus that summer, although his form has since plateaued and he was left out of Italy’s squad for Euro 2024.