The World Cup is a fantastic platform for players seeking a transfer away during the summer transfer window period. While the usual suspects are likely to dominate the headlines in Russia, there will be a few players who get their moment in the spotlight through terrific performances.
Clubs are not shy of spending money on players who have performed to an excellent level at a major tournament. Manchester United signed Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with both performing well in periods throughout their tenures in Manchester.
Here are six players that are likely to impress:
Currently at Stuttgart, Pavard has had an unorthodox rise to the French National Team. Originally starting out and rising through the academy at Lille, the young centre back made the jump to the Bundesliga after failing to nail down a first team place in his boyhood club’s team.
With each season that has passed, Pavard has recorded more minutes year on year and looked all the better for it. The 22-year-old featured in 36 matches this season - playing over 3,000 minutes throughout the campaign - and was called up by Didier Deschamps for the first time last November.
Since then, he has made six caps and makes the squad for the France squad heading out to Russia. While he is not likely to be a starter, he might just be called into action for various different circumstances. Pavard is a ball-playing centre back that exudes confidence and composure, but will most likely be utilised down the right-hand side by Deschamps when called upon.
Playing in a variety of different positions in defence and midfield, Pavard is extremely versatile which is a huge bonus for any potential suitor. He has already received a lot of interest from Europe’s top clubs and with a few solid performances in the World Cup, the future is in his own hands. You can keep up to date with Pavard’s movements with the Transfer Hound.
Arguably one of the most exciting prospects in European football, Lozano has been plying his trade with PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie. With all of the attention on Justin Kluivert and other Ajax youngsters, the Mexican has consistently produced stellar performances throughout 2017/18.
The 22-year-old is already an experienced national team player, having contributed seven goals in 28 appearances for El Tri. Going into this tournament full of confidence after having found the back of the net on 19 occasions and assisting 11 times, Lozano will be ready to show the world why he is being so closely watched.
Nicknamed ‘Chucky’ for his smile, Lozano has a temper that he needs to quell if he is to move onto the next stage of his career. While being sent off twice in one season is not the end of the world, the young Mexican’s behaviour on the pitch has been similar to that of a young Wayne Rooney’s: ready to blow at any moment.
If Lozano can keep his composure and mindset clear, the tricky winger should have a fantastic World Cup with Mexico. Juan Carlos’s team have a great chance of qualifying from Group F and Lozano should be at the centre of their attacking excellence.
With Juventus sniffing around the exciting Russian midfielder, eyes from all over Europe will be firmly placed on Golovin in Russia’s opening game against Saudi Arabia to kick off the World Cup.The CSKA Moscow playmaker, who can also play slightly deeper in a box-to-box role, has been a breath of fresh air for his club and country this season.
It seems only a matter of time before the Russian moves to a top European club, and Juventus are said to be close to agreeing a fee for the 22-year-old. However, a few exceptional performances in the World Cup and there might be a lot of competition to secure Golovin for next season.
What is so impressive about Golovin is his ability to glide past his opponents. He might not be the most physical of players, but he uses his spatial intelligence and low centre of gravity to get out of danger nine times out of 10.
Russian fans might not be optimistic about their chances at their own World Cup, but Golovin is certainly a player that can get any spectator at the edge of their seats, waiting in anticipation at what he is going to do next.
The defensive midfielder, currently playing for Sampdoria, has been one of Europe’s biggest breakthroughs this season. English giants Arsenal are currently on the verge of agreeing a fee for £26 million for the Uruguayan.
Torreira is similar to Marco Verratti in terms of size and stature, but has his own qualities in breaking up play with such efficiency and intelligence. There might be reservations over his size in England, but it should not hinder Torreira’s usefulness given his ferocious nature and aggressiveness in the tackle.
Having joined Pescara from Wanderers in 2014, Torreira has grown into life in Italy and gone from strength to strength. Now immersing himself in the Uruguay squad under Oscar Tabarez’s guidance, the midfielder is going to be one of the country’s most important players this summer.
If the deal goes through as it should, Torreira will provide Arsenal with a new sense of energy in a midfield that has sorely been lacking it. Not only is he defensively astute, the Sampdoria player has a mean shot on him and can take free-kicks.
Real Sociedad’s young right back has had a stellar season in Spain which has earned him the call up over Hector Bellerin in Julen Lopetegui’s national team squad. With the news that Real Madrid have appointed the now sacked Spain manager, Odriozola is likely to be a target for Los Blancos with the coach knowing the player so well.
After Dani Carvajal’s injury in the Champions League, Odriozola might have a more important part to play in Russia than initially expected. Reports in Spain suggest Carvajal has returned to training ahead of Spain’ s opener against Portugal, but it is expected that Lopetegui will entrust the starting position to the 22-year-old.
The right back, who came through the ranks at Real Sociedad, will experience a newfound pressure that can make or break a player. Having only ever made four appearances for his country, Odriozola is going to have to attempt to keep his thoughts with him as he starts in a crucial game in Spain’s group.
There will likely be various scouts watching over they young Spaniard, and if he can portray the same level of performance in Russia as he has done throughout last season for Real Sociedad, there will be plenty of clubs vying for his signature. La Roja are 6/1 to win the 2018 World Cup with William Hill.
Unlike the others on this list, Shaqiri is a veteran for his country and yet still only just in his prime at 26-years-old. Having featured 70 times for Switzerland, the Stoke City player will be playing in his second World Cup and looking for a move away from his current relegated club.
Liverpool are said to be interested in the Swiss international, as a back-up to the Reds’ magnificent two wide players: Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah. However, with another impressive major tournament under his belt, there might yet be another club waiting in the wings ready to make him an important first-team player.
Although he has failed to set the Premier League alight with Stoke, he has been a consistent goalscorer for the Potters and contributes aplenty in the final third of the pitch. A standout strength of the former Bayern Munich winger is his ability in taking set-pieces; Shaqiri is a fantastic dead ball specialist and will challenge any team’s current free kick takers.
A deal should be fairly simple to achieve for the Switzerland-born player, given Stoke inserted a £13.5 million relegation clause in his contract. While he is not a sparkling signing compared to others out there in Europe and competing in the World Cup, Shaqiri adds a sense of reliability and consistency to any team’s attacking output.
The Swiss forward is 1/4 to join Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool this summer, but any deal is likely to be concluded after Switzerland’s World Cup journey. They are 2/1 to making the last 16 in Russia with some of the best football betting sites.
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