Are international tournaments good or bad for scouting potential signings? (Opinion)

Rex Nseobong July 2, 2021


Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has warned against signing players solely on their performances at international playing tournaments, but has it worked well for clubs previously?

The ones that stick out in my mind are major signings for the big Spanish clubs, in the shape of James Rodriguez, who shined at the World Cup in 2014, as well as similar deals for Ronaldinho who joined Barcelona off the back of his amazing World Cup back in 2002.

Gearing more towards the Premier League however, I can’t help but agree with Winterburn…

Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell stands out, having starred for Costa Rica, attracting interest from a host of clubs, which ultimately convinced our club to give him a chance to star in our first-team, but that level wasn’t one he ever came close to reproducing for our club.

Man United were run ragged by the winger while he was on loan with Olympiacos around that time also, but the best form of his career definitely happened in 2014, and you won’t be shocked to learn he is now plying his trade in Mexico at the age of 29.

Another summer signing after an important international campaign comes in the shape of Divock Origi. The Belgian forward overthrew main striker Romelu Lukaku back in 2014 to much of the surprise of onlookers, and at the age of 19, he certainly looked a future star in the making, but after seven years at Anfield, he’s more proof that you cannot always relate the international stage to that of the Premier League.

With that in mind, it is hard to disagree with Winterburn, especially when it comes to the English division.

‘I think we’ve been linked with a few players at this tournament already, but I’m always weary of these situations,’ Winterburn told NetBet(via the Metro).

‘Just because a player is performing well in a tournament doesn’t mean they’ll be a good addition.

‘Unless that player has been identified already prior to the tournament, I think it would be a huge risk.

‘I’m not a manager but it’s not something I would do if I was in Mikel Arteta’s shoes.’

Is it mostly the Premier League that struggles to identify talent that can make the transition from international football to domestic? What other international stars have or haven’t made the cut after starring for their respective countries?



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