Just as soon as the final ball is kicked in Brazil next month, you can rest assured that the normal order of club football business will resume immediately. The World Cup itself represents a cinema-screen size shop window for all clubs around the world, so here are five players that could impress and prompt big money moves.
1. Julian Draxler (Schalke & Germany)
Approximate value: €30m
Potentially-interested clubs: Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Man United.
The Best Young Player Award has been won by a German player at the previous two World Cups and with Marco Reus ruled out for this summer’s tournament, the door has swung open for Schalke’s Julian Draxler to emulate teammates Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller.
Draxler, whom Arsenal came close to signing in January, has impressed in the Bundesliga for the past two seasons but actually announced himself as a player as far back as 2011 when he scored a beautiful volley to open the scoring against MSV Duisburg in the German Cup Final. The 20-year-old can see a pass and has shown terrific dribbling ability. You also might remember another peach he scored against Basle in last season’s Champions League.
He could line up in any part of Germany’s front four and his chances of a starting beth will increase should Joachim Loew choose to use a false number nine.
2. Paul Pogba (Juventus & France)
Approximate value: €45m
Potentially-interested clubs: Man United, PSG, Chelsea, Real Madrid.
Ever since leaving Manchester in 2011, Paul Pogba’s stock has risen and risen, alongside United’s lament for what could have been. Pogba will play centre of the park for France at the World Cup and has been quoted as short as 15/8 with one bookmaker to win the Best Young Player Award.
The 21-year-old enjoyed an excellent season in the Serie A-winning Juventus side and has been widely tipped for a big money move this summer. Known for his dynamic play and athleticism, he should find his way into any top European side and if Juventus have decided to cash in for a player they picked up for free, they’ll be confident his value can increase even more in the coming weeks.
3. William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon & Portugal)
Approximate value: €20-30m
Potentially-interested clubs: Real Madrid, Man United, Chelsea, Barcelona.
There shouldn’t be manysurprises with Portugal’s style of play at this World Cup. Paulo Bento will hold up the midfield, hope to defend well with the main attacking threat coming through counter-attacking fast with Cristiano Ronaldo. The emergence of William Carvalho solidifies this strategy.
The Angolan-born 22-year-old has earned rave reviews this season in Portugal and should take his place in the Portuguese midfield against Germany next week. Carvalho fits into the breed of ball-playing holding midfielders which has become a valued position for all major clubs in Europe. Should Portugal go far, expect him to play a big role.
4. Ross Barkley (Everton & England)
Approximate value: €25m
Potentially-interested clubs: Man United, Chelsea, Man City
It wasn’t long into last season when it became increasingly confusing for Man United fans attempting to fathom how David Moyes went back to his old club to spend £27m on Marouane Fellaini when surely he would have known all about Ross Barkley, a player who moved right through the ranks at Everton.
The 20-year-old impressed to no end with his dynamic, box-to-box style of play last season and he looks set for big things. Perhaps this is an injustice to Moyes as perhaps the progression of Barkley has been so sudden that no one could have foreseen it.
The big question for England is whether he gets into the side or not as with Roy Hodgson preferring to play in-form Daniel Sturridge as his number nine, it might mean moving Wayne Rooney to the wing or indeed the bench to accommodate Barkley in his best position.
5. Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg & Belgium)
Approximate value: €25m
Potentially-interested clubs: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund.
You don’t get long to prove yourself at Stamford Bridge and that was the case with Kevin De Bruyne who was sold on by Jose Mourinho just four months into last season. Mourinho didn’t fancy De Bruyne as his type of hard-working, defensively-minded midfield player and also accused the Belgian of not training hard enough.
The 22-year-old has found himself a home at Wolfsburg (he had an impressive season on loan Werder Bremen two seasons, scoring 10 goals in the Bundesliga) and has run into good form playing with freedom in an attacking role. He should also be allowed to attack with Belgium as well, for whom he scored four goals for during the qualifying stages.
Ronan Groome, Pundit Arena.