A good World Cup can be just what a player needs to secure a big money move to a top club.
This summer, more than a few footballers will be all too aware of the scouts’ eyes on them.
Inevitably, there’ll be the hidden gems – those who become household names overnight, attracting the interest of high-profile clubs from Europe’s top leagues.
There’ll also be the players we know as consistent domestic performers, who announce themselves on the international stage with dazzling displays.
And one or two match-winning performances could be all that’s required to bag genuine superstars mega-money moves to elite teams.
Here, we’ve suggested 12 players likely to be in the shop window this summer…
1. Mohamed Salah
OK, so it’s not as if he isn’t already hot property.
But the World Cup is a different ball game (although not literally) to Premier League football.
Many will have been dazzled by Salah’s displays in red for Liverpool this season.
There’s been plenty of interest from Europe’s elite as a result, with Real Madrid and Barcelona reportedly circling.
Whether his form this season is a one-off remains to be seen.
And given he’ll be representing Egypt at only their third World Cup, it could be a tough tournament for him to make an impact.
But if he can repeat his club form on the international stage, the sky’s the limit.
If so, expect a summer of Liverpool refusing to sell as his price tag rockets to Neymar levels.
2. Antoine Griezmann
Again, he’s hardly an unknown quantity.
Most teams would bite off their right arm to take Griezmann to their club.
But that’s what makes this tournament so big for the French forward.
He impressed at Euro 2016 in his home nation, and if he excels in Russia he could well have the pick of the top clubs.
Barcelona are already rumoured to be his likely destination – and there aren’t many bigger clubs around.
Though with Griezmann under contract at Atletico until 2022, it would take a huge offer for them to part with the 27-year-old – something he’ll have to justify in Russia.
3. Dele Alli
Tottenham’s talisman has long been linked with a big move abroad, with Real Madrid often touted as a possible destination.
The England youngster is a strong contender to start for Gareth Southgate’s side in Russia, and will carry huge expectation on his shoulders.
But Alli has struggled to recapture his best form for Spurs so far this season, raising doubts over whether he is the man to help lead England to glory.
With Harry Kane in a race to be fit for the finals, he could find the burden difficult to handle.
Then again it could be the making of him – and a decent showing would certainly reignite Madrid’s interest, among others.
4. Xherdan Shaqiri
He’s got a pretty impressive footballing CV, but the Swiss star is yet to make the jump from being a very good player to a great one.
Despite having a Champions League winners medal to his name from his time at Bayern Munich, Shaqiri continues to threaten to be something special.
That said, he’s enjoying one of his more prosperous years in front of goal, and is the star man at club side Stoke.
Still only 26, Shaqiri has played a part in 13 of his teams Premier League goals this campaign – not bad considering they’ve only scored 29.
And if he has a good World Cup, it might just prompt someone to take a punt on him as he enters his peak years.
5. Alexsandr Golovin
Historically, the team hosting the World Cup has rarely failed in creating a couple of well-known heroes come the end of the tournament.
Russia could well follow suit, with Alexsandr Golovin the most likely to have an impact on the world stage this summer.
Currently at CSKA Moscow, Golovin is an instrumental member of the Russia team.
The 21-year-old midfielder has got bundles of talent, and has previously attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal.
6. Timo Werner
Goals pay the rent, so they say.
And Timo Werner’s landlord is usually a happy man.
The German striker has been banging the goals in this season for club side RB Leipzig – with 18 to his name so far.
At just 22, he is considered one of the rising prospects of European football, and has caught the eye of the big sides both at home and abroad.
With prolific strikers in constant demand and short supply, expect a queue of managers – including Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – lining up at his door if he can turn on the goals in Russia.
7. Eden Hazard
As one of the Premier League’s biggest stars, Hazard will always be in the shop window.
But with the Belgian operating in the same team at Kevin De Bruyne this summer, there’s a chance he could be outshone.
Hazard moving to Real Madrid has been so heavily speculated that you could consider it almost nailed on.
Yet De Bruyne has been indispensable to Manchester City’s title charge, and pulls the strings for both club and country.
With both players set to command a high transfer fee, Madrid may only have room for one Galactico this summer – and they wouldn’t want to settle for second best.
The Chelsea man has reportedly been itching for a move away from Stamford Bridge for a while, however, so expect him to grab this chance with both hands.
8. Jack Wilshere
Still considered by many as England’s best midfielder, Jack Wilshere is yet to show his true potential on the grandest stage.
Arsenal fans will look back on the time he ran the show against Barcelona back in 2011 and wonder when they will see that player again.
The 2018 World Cup could be his chance to prove it – if he recovers from injury in time.
Wilshere is performing well for the Gunners and is back in the England fold, with Gareth Southgate clearly a fan of the 26-year-old.
He is out of contract in the summer, meaning any clubs keen on his services can snap him up for free.
How big the pool of clubs is that Wilshere has to choose from is up to him though – but a good display in Russia will raise plenty of eyebrows.
9. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Certainly not a name that rolls off the tongue, but make no mistake, Milinkovic-Savic is a big deal.
Hotly fancied to be snapped up by Manchester United this summer, the Lazio and Serbia midfielder is considered one of the biggest talents in Serie A.
Nicknamed ‘the Sergeant’, the 23-year-old has been likened to former Inter Milan great Dejan Stankovic.
Serbia have a tricky World Cup group, and Milinkovic-Savic faces a stern test in their final group game with Brazil.
But if he can make the grade, clubs will no doubt be preparing to splash the cash on him.
10. Andre Silva
Like Timo Werner, Silva is something of a goal machine.
He banged nine goals in qualifying for Portugal, and at only 22 is another decent young striker.
His club form is puzzling however, as despite netting six times in eight starts in the Europa League, he’s only scored two goals in the Serie A campaign.
Granted, he’s been used more as a substitute than a regular starter though, given that he’s only played from the off on five occasions.
Pitted in the same World Cup group as minnows Morocco and Iran, he could potentially rack up a few goals early on.
And with AC Milan hardly setting the world alight at present, a good tournament for Silva could leave them with a struggle to retain his services.
11. Emil Forsberg
Not a household name just yet, but that could be about to change.
Another man in RB Leipzig’s ranks who has been performing well for club and country, Forsberg looks to be the real deal.
Forsberg is a dynamic, attacking midfielder, who at 26 still has his best years ahead of him.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of the international picture, the Swedes are looking to him to drive the team forward.
And with interest from Arsenal, a good World Cup could see Forsberg following in Zlatan’s footsteps and heading to the Premier League.
12. Robert Lewandowski
This man needs no introduction.
Top scorer in European qualifying, Lewandowski is one of the most lethal finishers in the world.
Seemingly content with life at Bayern, the availability of the Poland captain remains unknown.
But at 29, Lewandowski probably only has one big contract left to cash in on.
And with the riches of the Premier League and interest from Real Madrid refusing to go away, Bayern could end up waving goodbye to the golden boot contender sooner than they’d have hoped.
Source: Read Full Article