Which Premier League side needs Slovakia star Marek Hamsik most?
The Napoli man has the chance to further prove his ability against Germany on Sunday, and should the midfielder be able to fire his side past the world champions and into the quarter-finals his stock is surely only going to rise even further.
His age shouldn’t be considered too much of a problem as Hamsik has already proven himself a versatile option in the centre, and his qualities are something the following three Premier League giants could certainly make good use of in the coming season.
With Jose Mourinho now in the hot-seat it’s clear that the Portuguese coach wants to implement changes to the side at United, and a new centre midfielder appears to be high up his priority list.
The Sun has touted the Red Devils with a big money move for Paul Pogba this summer but Hamsik represents a more cost-efficient option for Mourinho to ponder.
The 28-year-old bagged six goals from midfield in Serie A last season and it’s clear United need to find themselves a new goalscoring threat in midfield.
With the acquisition of the Slovakian, Mourinho would also be given a more variety of choice, both in terms of the calibre of player he selects in the centre and in the tactics he chooses to utilise.
Hamsik created 93 chances last season for Napoli, 40 more than United’s top chance creator in Juan Mata. This Old Trafford side is crying out for a ready-made passer in midfield and Hamsik could be the right buy.
Fitting in behind a new frontman and ahead of Wayne Rooney, who can, as demonstrated for England, dictate play from central midfield effectively enough to make it work next season, Hamsik can act as United’s gamechanger in the final third.
Antonio Conte’s knowledge of Serie A is legendary, given that the coach has spent his entire career in Italy, but now the manager will take charge of Chelsea for the new season.
The 46-year-old had been rumoured to be pursuing moves for Miralem Pjanic, who has now agreed a deal with Juventus, and Radja Nainggolan so it is certainly not out of the question that the Italy head coach wouldn’t consider Hamsik for a role at Stamford Bridge.
The Napoli man comes with the qualities that Conte is searching for in a new midfield maestro – a technician that can both score goals in a No.10 role or create chances playing as a deep-lying playmaker.
Bringing in Hamsik would be an interesting move in terms of how Cesc Fabregas would adapt, but there’s no reason the two experienced midfielders can’t work in the same XI, especially under Conte’s guidance.
Hamsik might be slightly lacking the physical side of his game that Conte would love his new central signing to possess, but the Slovakian has already proven this summer at Euro 2016 he makes up for his with his instincts and reactions, and the player doesn’t shy away from a tackle either.
If one thing is for certain it’s that Pep Guardiola has never had a management position like this one before, and the Spaniard appears in need of an overhaul to keep City at the top of the division.
The departing Bayern Munich coach has already signed Ilkay Gundogan to a contract at the Etihad but perhaps now it’s time to bring in a midfielder of a slightly different mould.
Guardiola’s entire philosophy is based around quick-passing and possession, as well as retaining positioning. Hamsik is proven to be a disciplined and loyal tactician on the field – not many can read a situation as well as him in the Italian top flight.
Perhaps most essentially, though, are Hamsik’s instincts. Guardiola must surely recognise that the midfielder’s ‘knack’ for finding the right space and cropping up in the perfect area is much more than that. It’s the combination of pure understanding and hard work.
The 28-year-old is certainly unlike any centre midfielder currently on the books at City and Guardiola could do much worse than bringing the experienced Slovakian in to his team at his new club.
Could Arsene Wenger make the Napoli man his second signing of the summer?
The answer to that hinges on whether or not Arsene Wenger sees Hamsik operating in a wider role to address what has become a deficit on the right flank.
Mesut Ozil holds the reins in the No.10 position and Alexis Sanchez holds sway down the left – and, on occasion, down the right – leaving Hamsik to operate in the only gap left: the right.
With Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struggling to take ownership of the right wing and Joel Campbell untrusted, perhaps unfairly, for continued chances in their place, Wenger has been considering adding a new versatile figure.
Arsenal have looked at Borussia Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan but face competition from Manchester United for the Armenian, making Hamsik another option. But do the Gunners really need to sign him more so than their rivals do? No.
Hamsik’s heroics for both Slovakia and Napoli make him a player of star quality while possessing leadership qualities, which all three Premier League clubs would benefit from with new management on board. But it is Manchester United’s midfield who have lacked a player of Hamsik’s ilk – a ruthless, versatile asset who can play behind the striker, out on the left or further back in central midfield while remaining a constant goal threat – and with Mourinho keen on hard-working, no-nonsense players, Old Trafford presents the perfect fit.