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

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?


Tags Nigel Winterburn


  1. Greetings, yep. It’s correct in stating the club performance VS country performance differs. The English league is the most difficult one. Look players from around thejell world struggle to jell

  2. Internationals are generally played at a slower pace in my opinion and view.

    Also the motivation is very different playing 6-8 matches and becoming champions be playing 38 matches in the toughest league where you get less seconds on the ball to make a decision.

  3. I agree, internationals can be scammy. You fork out millions on a talent only to see him fade off in the PL. I think a player should be signed only after intensive scouting for at least months.

  4. I agree with Winterburn, because the players usually put in extra efforts and are fully commited to duels when they fight for their countries. It’s different when the motivation is money instead of nationalism and not all national heroes can adapt in EPL

    Having said that, I don’t mind if Arsenal buy John McGinn. He could be Xhaka’s replacement and he’ll connect with Tierney

  5. I don’t think teams are”scouting” at international tournaments. Best example I can give you is FIFA.

    You send your scouts out with requirements, they tell you who fits that criteria. Where it differs is that in real life, you look for opportunities to watch those players to confirm what your scouts told you, then you proceed from there.

  6. Occasionally a young player emerges from a tournament who is not a household name but generally speaking most players are already well known to recruitment teams.Renato Sanchez is a midfielder who has really impressed me, and has continued where he left off at Lille where he was a key man in their Championship winning side.He would be a very good recruit for Arsenal, w ith his skill, pace and energy and as a left footer, he would maintain balance in midfield which we would lose it Xhaka is sold.

    1. Me too grandad. Chequered past but has matured now. Fine player – prefer him to Neves or Bassouma.

  7. This Jeremy doku guy is just so exciting to watch he’s never tired to take on players..he was awesome tonight MOTM performance

    1. Yes, but I’m more impressed by Mancini, Chiellini, Bonucci, Barella and Insigne

      Mancini has shown what he can do, if he can build his own clique. If Arteta has to leave in the future, Mancini will be an ideal replacement

      England would most likely lose if they meet Italy

      1. You right about everything you have said Mancini really has impressed me with his tactics..he has really upgraded after is time at man city

      2. The reason why england won’t beat Italy is bcos they don’t express themselves even when the players are available…no thanks to southgate

        1. Southgate tried a similar tactic in the first Euro game. But I think he doesn’t know how to train the players for that positional play, nor could he build the confidence of the players to play like that

          England still have a slim chance to win if they meet Italy in the grand final, because Kane is fully commited to duels and Sterling is in-form. Euro 2004 has shown that catenaccio and highly determined players can win ugly

        2. this. it’s why they struggle against every single team in this tournament so far and will probably struggle today.

  8. Why does Arteta dislike Emery’s signings bar Tierney??

    Saliba on loan again!!! Hope the signings he will make improves us else it will not be good news for him.

  9. Playing for ya club is ya job.
    Playing for ya Country is the privilege.
    And that’s the general mindset for most pro players.
    International footy isn’t as attractive as club football because teams can’t gel with only about 10% of a players career playing time.
    Club footy for entertainment
    International footy for emotion.

  10. Players usually return from these tournaments burnt out in any case. But Winterburn has a point, players who have stood out such as Stirling, Xhaka and Bonucci cannot produce consistent performances over a tough League season.

  11. International games requires less pace and hardly any refined tactics so it is easier for players. Even our xhaka does well on international duty. Alexis Sanchez was still scoring at international duty while struggling at united.

  12. Bad. Didn’t read, easy answer, bad. Scouting is done universally all year every year, we were watching Locatelli for instance before the Euros.

  13. Any team that signs a player on national team tournaments, have no forward plan in place. It takes years and months to scout players not weeks and a few good games.

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