The World Cup is the biggest shop window in football and with the January transfer window just around the corner it’s likely clubs are looking at events in Qatar with a view to making some deals. Only two weeks will separate the World Cup final and the opening of the window, so any transfer preparation must be done hastily.
But which players are set for big transfers on the back of their performances at the 2022 World Cup? James Rodriguez earned a move to Real Madrid after shining at the 2014 tournament while Mesut Ozil did similar in 2010. Which players will follow in their footsteps this year?
Jude Bellingham (England)
He may have been hyped as one of the best young midfielders in the game before the 2022 World Cup, but Jude Bellingham has bolstered his reputation further at the tournament. The 19-year-old has been a force of nature for England in Qatar, giving Gareth Southgate’s team a different dimension in the attacking third.
Bellingham has been strongly linked with Liverpool, but the Anfield club will almost certainly have to smash their transfer record to sign the teenager – Borussia Dortmund reportedly want between €100m and €150m. Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid have also been mentioned as potential suitors.
Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)
Cody Gakpo was hardly an unknown quantity before the 2022 World Cup, but he has lifted his reputation to an entirely new level in Qatar. The 23-year-old has scored three goals in four games for the Netherlands and has the makings of the next great modern centre forward such is his technical ability and natural physicality.
Leeds United and Manchester United both wanted Gakpo in the summer transfer window. The latter could still make a move for the PSV Eindhoven attacker, but the Eredivisie club’s asking price has soared from around €30m to over €50m according to reports. Clubs like Leeds have seemingly missed their chance.
Josko Gvardiol (Croatia)
Croatia are major tournament specialists and Josko Gvardiol has been key to their 2022 World Cup campaign so far. The 20-year-old is comfortable on the ball, strong in the air and has the presence of someone older than his still tender age. Croatia have found their next great central defender to build around.
Chelsea were strongly linked with Gvardiol in the summer transfer window, but signed Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly when RB Leipzig refused to sell. Barcelona and Manchester City are now believed to be interested, and with good reason. Gvardiol is destined for the elite level of the sport for club and country.
Mohammed Kudus (Ghana)
Ghana might have exited the 2022 World Cup at the group stage, but Mohammed Kudus still managed to make his mark on the tournament. The 22-year-old started as a deep-lying midfielder in the opening match, but gradually moved further forward, scoring twice in the thrilling 3-2 victory over South Korea.
Kudus has played as a ‘false nine’ for Ajax this season and is most effective when he is deployed in the attacking third. He is technically strong enough to play his part in possession play, but positionally sharp enough to drift and cover all areas of the pitch. Kudus is still improving and has great potential as a modern forward.
Dani Olmo (Spain)
Spain were among the frontrunners to go all the way at the 2022 World Cup and Dani Olmo was key to their chances. The 24-year-old is perfect for Luis Enrique’s team in that he is more than able to keep hold of the ball, but gives Spain vertical threat. Olmo also has an eye for goal, which is important for a team without a reliable goal-scoring number nine.
Olmo was linked with Barcelona in the summer transfer window and there is a growing sense he will sign for a Spanish club at some point in the future. Despite being a regular for Spain, Olmo has never played senior football for a club in his homeland having started out at Dinamo Zagreb before moving to RB Leipzig.