Copa America: Five superstars who could seal Premier League switches this summer

Ryan Baldi
Jonathan David, Johnny Cardoso, Piero Hincapie

TT looks at five Copa America stars who could be Prem bound this summer

The Copa America kicks off on June 20 as Argentina look to retain their crown from 2021.

And while Lionel Messi will be the star attraction at the tournament hosted in his new adopted home, the United States, there will be several stars who could emerge as top transfer targets from Premier League sides off the back of strong displays for their respective nations.

Here are five players poised for breakout Copa America campaigns who could soon find themselves the subject of serious interest from Premier League clubs.

Santiago Gimenez

Argentina-born Mexico striker Santiago Gimenez goes into the Copa America riding the momentum of the best club season of his career.

The 23-year-old scored 26 goals in 41 games for Feyenoord, including 23 strikes in 30 Eredivisie appearances. He joined the Rotterdam club from Cruz Azul in the summer of 2022 and adapted quickly to life in the Netherlands, scoring 23 goals in his first season to help fire Arne Slot’s side to the league title.

A well-rounded centre-forward, Gimemez, while predominantly left-footed, is a proficient finisher with his weaker right foot. He can create chances for team-mates, too, providing six assists in the Eredivisie in 2023-24. The 31 goals he scored in 2023 broke a calendar-year scoring record for the Dutch top flight previously held by Luis Suarez.

Gimenez has been linked with Tottenham, Arsenal, and Real Madrid in recent months, while his former manager’s move to Liverpool has drawn speculation that he could follow the coach to Anfield. If the 23-year-old can can follow up his winning goal in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final with a strong showing at the Copa America this summer, he will have no shortage of suitors.

TOTTENHAM TRANSFERSClassy 70-goal striker to say ‘yes’ to huge Spurs transfer as Arne Slot’s Liverpool hopes are crushed

Piero Hincapie

Another player linked with Liverpool, Piero Hincapie has established himself as one of the best young defenders in Germany since joining Bayer Leverkusen in 2021.

The 22-year-old Ecuador star was a key figure in Xabi Alonso’s Bundesliga-winning side in 2023-24, playing on the left side of the Spanish tactician’s back three at the BayArena.

At 6ft tall, he is physically strong, fast and athletic. But it is Hincapie’s technical gifts that most stand out. The left-footer’s incisive forward passing from deep has been a crucial element of Leverkusen’s adventurous playing style under Alonso, while the Ecuadorian also aids his team’s build-up play by carrying the ball forward to initiate attacks.

Rumoured to have a £60 million release clause in his Leverkusen contract, interested clubs might be put off but Hincapie’s price tag. An impressive Copa with a talented Ecuador side could convince prospective bidders of his value.

Jonathan David

Brooklyn-born Canada star Jonathan David has been linked with a Premier League move for several seasons, but the fact the 24-year-old is entering the final year of his contact with Lille means this summer could finally see a switch to the English top flight materialise.

David has enjoyed another fine season with Lille, whom he joined from Gent for €30 million in 2020. His 26 goals and seven assists powered Les Dogues to a top-four finish In Ligue 1 and a run to the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League.

And David’s chances of landing a big-money move this summer could be aided by his presence on the international stage, where he is a superstar of the Canadian national team and needs to add just three goals to his tally of 26 from 46 caps to become his nation’s all-time leading scorer.

READ MOREEuro 2024: Seven superstars in waiting whose transfer values could skyrocket in Germany

Willian Pacho

If Liverpool’s links to Hincapie suggests the Reds are in the market for a left-footed centre-back this summer, reports suggesting another Ecuadorian, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Willian Pacho, is also a target serve to back up that assumption.

The 22-year-old only joined Eintracht from Belgian side Royal Antwerp a year ago, but he has so impressed in the Bundesliga that he could be on the move again, with a reported price tag of at least £43 million.

In terms of profile, Pacho is of a similar mould to his international colleague Hincapie. Standing 6ft 2ins, he is powerful in duels but also a confident passer who can carry the ball forward into the midfield zone to begin his side’s build-up play.

It could be the case that whoever shines brightest of the two young Ecuadorian defenders at the Copa will win a dream move to Liverpool or elsewhere.

Johnny Cardoso

It will be tough for Johnny Cardoso to break into a USMNT midfield that already contains Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah and a fit-again Tyler Adams. But the Brazil-raised Real Betis star has proven already in his short time in La Liga that he is capable of making a fast impression and locking down a starting berth.

Cardoso signed for Betis from Internacional in January and after making his debut as a substitute in a 3-2 defeat to Villarreal in March, he broke into Manuel Pellegrini’s starting line-up a week later and kept his place for the remainder of the campaign.

A defensive midfielder who protects the backline with a level of discipline beyond his 22 years, he also possesses a ferocious shot from range and a slick, sharp passing ability enabling him to dictate his side’s tempo.

Betis would be reticent to part ways with a young star acquired so recently. But a series of strong performances at the Copa America for the host nation could inspire the kind of bids that would temp the Spanish side.

DON’T MISSReal Madrid’s best non-Galactico signings since 2000: Surprise names head the list