Every World Cup, a player rises from nowhere to announce himself on the world stage. Last week, we brought you a list of this year’s players who are looking to emulate James Rodriguez’s 2014 success. Rodriguez’s performances in Brazil earned him a move to Real Madrid. Which players could see post-World Cup transfers to the Premier League?
Five Young Talents Who Could Become Post-World Cup Transfers
Lozano travels to Russia off the back of a sensational debut season at PSV. With 17 goals and eight Eredivisie assists, the Mexican settled quickly following his transfer from Pachuca. Lozano is a winger, capable of playing on either side but preferring the left, where he can cut inside onto his right foot.
Lozano starred for Pachuca, making his debut aged 18 and going on to make 120 appearances for the club. He was key as Pachuca won the 2016 Liga MX title and 2017 CONCACAF Champions League, winning the competition’s golden boot. This season, his performances continued to improve as PSV won their 24th Dutch title, finishing the season as the league’s fifth top scorer.
Lozano has been open about his struggles adapting to European lifestyle. He has adopted the pantomime villain role this season, facing jeers from opposition fans on a weekly basis. One cause for concern could be his hot head reputation; Lozano was sent off twice this season, notably against Heerenveen after striking out at an opponent, earning a three-match suspension.
With Lozano alternating flanks with Carlos Vela and spearheaded by Javier Hernandez, Mexico will be optimistic about their attacking talent in the competition. They are favourites to qualify behind Germany, and a deep run in the tournament will provide Lozano the platform to display his entertaining talents. Although he still has five years remaining on his PSV contract, a good tournament could see him among the post-World Cup transfers.
This season’s Eredivisie top scorer and Player of the Season is part of an impressive array of Iranian attackers. The AZ Alkmaar winger has the benefit of a previous World Cup campaign’s experiences to draw on and has improved significantly since Brazil in 2014.
A powerful and pacy wide player, Jahanbakhsh has spent five years at AZ, playing his best football this season. He showed the ability to step up when it mattered, saving his best performances for the end of the season, scoring five goals in the final four games as AZ sealed continental football qualification.
Despite this season’s goals scoring heroics, Jahanbakhsh has only found the net four times in 38 international caps. However, Carlos Queiroz’s defensive tactics (which saw Iran concede only twice in qualifying) play a large role in this. A recent switch to a more attacking 4-3-3 allows Jahanbakhsh to spend more time in the final third. This relieves him of some of his defensive responsibilities and should see him add to his modest goal-scoring tally.
Jahanbakhsh has admitted his dream is to follow the journey of Iranian idols Ali Karimi and Ali Daei to the Bundesliga and a summer move may well be on the cards. A big money offer from the Premier League, however, may prove too hard for Jahanbakhsh to turn down. Don’t be too surprised if he is among the post-World Cup transfers.
Paolo Guerrero’s successful bid to overturn his suspension has been the leading Peruvian story in the build-up to Russia. However, the side’s most exciting talent is one of the three dangerous attacking midfielders lining up behind him. Edison Flores joins Jefferson Farfan and Christian Cuevas in supporting Guerrero and is quickly becoming a star.
One of the first names on the team-sheet, Flores plays his club football in Denmark, for Aalborg. The 24-year-old joined from boyhood side Universitario in August 2016 after a failed spell at Villareal. The winger was delighted when Denmark were drawn in Group C alongside Peru, further increasing his motivation.
Flores is most comfortable on the left wing but will be interchangeable with Farfan on the right side. Fores thrives on cutting inside and seeking possession, something which he is encouraged to do much more for his country than at club level. Flores was Peru’s second highest scorer in qualifying, netting on nine occasions.
Peru’s eye-catching, possession-based football has seen them recently defeat Croatia, Iceland and Saudi Arabia. Undefeated since November 2016, Peru have a genuine chance of a good run into the knockout stages. Flores was exceptional in qualifying and has the opportunity to prove himself at Peru’s first World Cup since 1982.
Flores is a relative unknown outside of Peru and Denmark. A good performance in Russia could see him on English club’s radars at a low price.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is held in such high esteem by the Serbian FA that when he fell out with manager Slavoljub Muslin, the manager was sacked. The attacking midfielder has had a phenomenal season, drawing comparisons in Italy to Paul Pogba and Yaya Toure. The Lazio star dictates the play, able to come deep for the ball and control the tempo. But his versatility is what makes Milinkovic-Savic stand out. He is equally as adept at playing the second striker role, able to hold the ball up well.
Despite only having four caps, the 23-year-old is a shoe-in to start in Russia. At 6 foot 3 inches, Milinkovic-Savic is physically imposing and is capable of shrugging off challenges. The midfielder has a keen eye for goal, scoring 14 times for Lazio this season. He’s a threat from range and also dangerous when running onto crosses, towering above many defenders.
In Russia he will likely play behind Alexsander Mitrovic, whilst tracking back to form a three-man central midfield when defending. He can frustrate teammates, often choosing the spectacular long-range shot over the easier pass. His paltry three assists this season reflects as much. However, if he carries his season form into the competition, he could lead Serbia beyond the group stages.
His performances have drawn attention from bigger clubs, with Manchester United and Real Madrid both keen on the midfielder. Milinkovic-Savic has refused to be drawn into a decision, stating he wants to concentrate on Serbia until after the World Cup. Lazio are expecting Milinkovic-Savic’s name to be among the post-World Cup transfers at a hefty price.
Werner is a Bundesliga star and this summer he looks set to announce himself on the global stage. The 22-year-old RB Leipzig striker will lead the line for Germany, for whom he has eight goals. He starred as Germany won the 2017 Confederations Cup, picking up the golden boot award.
Werner comes into the tournament off of the back of a sensational season, scoring 29 goals in all competitions for Leipzig (including seven in European games). The forward, who has drawn praise from his predecessor’s Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose, has been tipped to beat the latter’s all-time Germany goal record.
Werner has electric speed, reportedly completing the 100 metres in 11.1 seconds. Playing on the shoulder of the last man, Werner’s movement is intelligent beyond his years. This frequently leads to him having time and space in dangerous positions. With service from the likes of Kroos, Özil and Reus, Werner will expect to challenge for the Golden Boot award.
Werner, the youngest player to achieve 150 Bundesliga appearances, has been open about his desire to play at a higher level. Although heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich, Werner will be on several Premier League club’s wish-lists.
So who will be on the list of post-World Cup transfers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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