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Europe's hidden gems up for grabs

Europe's transfer market is hotting up, and TEAMtalk guest Simon Yaffe takes a look at five hidden gems who could be on the move this summer.

Last Updated: 27/06/13 at 12:07 Post Comment

Kurt Zouma: Linked with Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan

Kurt Zouma: Linked with Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan

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Who's moving where is on the tip of every football fans' tongues. But it is not just all about Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and Isco. Here, I look at five hidden gems who could also be on the move this summer.

Alen Halilovic - Dinamo Zagreb

Croatia has a history of producing top-class players and the latest off the Dinamo production line is the supremely talented Halilovic.

Just 17, his style is similar to compatriot Luka Modric and has already been compared to Croatia legend Zvonimir Boban.

Too much pressure, too soon?

Well, Halilovic - whose father Sejad represented Bosnia at international level - seems to be taking it in his stride.

The baby-faced attacking midfielder made his Dinamo debut in the country's Eternal Derby, against Hajudk Split, in September, aged 16.

A month later Halilovic became the club's youngest player to feature in a Champions League match, and second youngest player in the history of the Champions League, when he came on as a substitute against Paris Saint-Germain.

Nimble and fast, Halilovic, who made his Croatia debut earlier this month, has already attracted interest from AC Milan.

Don't be surprised to see him in Serie A before the summer's transfer window shuts.

Kurt Zouma - Saint-Etienne

This well-built centre-half comes with a growing reputation - and a £15 million price tag.

Saint-Etienne said they won't let him go for anything less, but the fee probably won't put off a host of clubs who would like to clinch his signature.

Chelsea were linked with the 18-year-old earlier this month, while Atletico Madrid and AC Milan remain keen.

"You hear of interest from Chelsea and a great manager such as Jose Mourinho, you take notice," Zouma said at the weekend.

Born in Lyon, Zouma, who is of Central African descent, has played for Saint-Etienne since 2009.

He was promoted to the senior team ahead of the 2011-12 season and, since making his debut in August 2011, has made more than 40 appearances for his club.

Standing at 6ft 2in, his agility and bravery are reminiscent of a golden age of French centre-halves, which included Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc.

Expect him to follow in their footsteps before too long.

Emre Can - Bayern Munich

One of new Bayern manager Josep Guardiola's first tasks will be how to keep his talented youngsters happy.

It is due to the fact that their route to the first team is blocked by what many consider the best Bayern squad for a generation.

The stand-out player of these youngsters is midfield powerhouse Can.

Born to Turkish parents in Frankfurt, he was voted one of the top three players at last year's Under-17 World Cup.

Strong and tall, Can represented Germany in that tournament in a number 10 role, but is equally at home sitting in front of the back four or at centre-half.

A regular in the Bayern II team last season, he went on to make five appearances for their first team - mostly at left-back.

The 18-year-old's versatility is just one of his many positive attributes and one which has seen Can linked with loan moves to various Bundesliga clubs.

Jano Ananidze - Spartak Moscow

The last truly outstanding player to come out of Georgia was Manchester City legend Georgi Kinkladze.

Fellow countryman Ananidze - known by his first name in Russia - has already been picked out as a star of the future by Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas after their countries met in a World Cup 2014 qualification match in September.

And the Real Madrid shot-stopper is not alone in touting Ananidze.

Signed by Spartak's junior teams from Dinamo Kiev's academy in 2009, the attacking midfielder, who stands at just 5ft 7in, made his debut in a Russian Cup game in July of the same year, scoring against Kuban Krasnodar.

So impressed was boss Valery Karpin, he made him a first team regular the following season and has since been dubbed "The Maestro" by the Russian media.

Arsenal and Liverpool have reportedly registered their interest in Ananidze, who has been capped 21 times by his country.

However, a move to a lesser league, such as Portugal or Holland, may provide the experience and grounding to launch him into one of Europe's big clubs.

Lacina Traore - Anzhi Makhachkala

Standing at 6ft 8in, Traroe is truly a giant of a footballer.

Often derided as clumsy in an era where passing short - and on the floor - is uber-fashionable, there is still a place for such tall players.

Anzhi thought so too, paying Kuban Krasnodar £18 million for his services last summer.

Traore, an Ivorian international, has since gone on to score 12 goals in 24 games for the mega-money club.

The 23-year-old allegedly caught Liverpool's eye after a Europa League game against them last season.

But it is highly doubtful that Traore - who scored against Liverpool - would fit into manager Brendan Rodger's style of play.

Mobile with a talent for headed goals, he started his career in his native Ivory Coast and moved to Romanians CFR Cluj in 2008.

Fourteen goals in 44 appearances led to Kuban paying £6 million for him, before Traore found himself in Dagestan.

With Anzhi constantly linked to forwards, expect Traore to be on his way, probably to France or Germany, in the next couple of months - but he won't come cheap.

You can follow Simon on Twitter here.

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