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World Cup Breakout Stars - Which Players are Heading for a Big Money Move?
Alex Wrigley
Alex Wrigley
July 17, 2018
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Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.

Every four years, amid the rabble of the general footballing population, the scouts from Europe’s top leagues descend on the World Cup as they cast their hungry eyes over the wealth of talent on show. They are looking for their club’s next big money target, and there are bound to be realistic prospects for every team in Europe’s top leagues.

But who impressed the scouts the most this year, and who will be the next breakout star to earn a big money move to a top club?

Read more: FST’s World Cup Team of the Tournament

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard Belgium England World Cup 2018

Real Madrid are often the first to make tidal waves in the transfer market after a World Cup. They brought in James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos, and Keylor Navas after the 2014 instalment, shelling out just over £100 million on those three players. Four years prior to that they splashed the cash on Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, and this year is no different.

With Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Spain after a record breaking nine year spell, Real Madrid have a gaping hole in their team to fill. Eden Hazard looks the perfect fit there after a fantastic World Cup showing with Belgium. He captained The Red Devils to their best ever World Cup finish as they beat England to the bronze medal, and Hazard has already confirmed that his options are open after a poor showing by Chelsea last season.

New manager Maurizio Sarri is desperate to keep hold of his prize asset, but with £100 million extra in the bank from Ronaldo’s transfer it’s looking ever more likely that Real Madrid will smash their transfer record to bring the £180 million rated Hazard to the Bernabeu.

Hirving Lozano

Mexico 2018 World Cup

PSV’s 22 year old winger put on a show for Mexico in the World Cup. He scored their winning goal against Germany in their opener and proved a constant threat to defenders throughout their tournament. He undoubtedly has some work to do on his end product, but he created 11 chances for his teammates in Russia and had 13 shots on goal.

Lozano was already on the radar of a number of clubs after scoring 17 Eredivisie goals last season, but the spotlight shone on him in Russia and a number of bigger clubs have cast their eye on him. He now has a plethora of potential suitors, with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, and AS Monaco all reportedly interested in his services.

Wilmar Barrios

Colombia’s talisman, James Rodriguez, may have been missing for most of the World Cup, but that allowed a few of their other players to shine through. Notably, centre back pairing Davison Sanchez and Yerry Mina, who were both excellent throughout. However, those two are already under contract at Tottenham and Barcelona respectively.

Wilmar Barrios was somewhat of an unsung hero in the centre of the park as he dashed around with a seemingly unquenchable energy. The 24 year old currently plies his trade at Boca Juniors, and after such a promising tournament it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll cross continents and touch down in Europe in time for next season. Tottenham, as always, are in the race, and at £15 million it looks like a very realistic transfer.

Cho Hyun-woo

South Korea’s 26 year old goalkeeper has spent his entire career at K League side Daegu FC, but his performances in Russia have alerted Champions League finalists Liverpool and he could be in line for a huge step up in terms of quality and salary.

Cho was instrumental for South Korea as they kept a clean sheet against Germany in the group stages, making six saves in total. Over the three group games he made 12 saves, which is the second most at the World Cup behind Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa. Liverpool have been looking for a new goalkeeper after Loris Karius’ disastrous Champions League final, and a move for Cho would bring in a huge amount of Asian revenue too.

Aleksandr Golovin

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Host nation Russia entered the World Cup as the lowest ranked team of the tournament in the FIFA Rankings, and while there are many problems with the FIFA rankings the majority of Russians confirmed that this was their worst ever team.

That didn’t stop Russia putting in a performance that everybody in the country could be proud of though, and at the heart of it was the talented Aleksandr Golovin. He scored one and assisted two in their opening game as Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0, and that has brought a number of clubs to CSKA Moscow’s door. He was good enough to be named in our Alternative Team of the Tournament alongside compatriots Artem Dzyuba and Denis Cheryshev.

Chelsea were apparently already interested in the 22 year old but now Monaco have entered the race to sign him, and his World Cup performances have pushed his asking price up to around the £25 million mark.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Jahanbakhsh was Iran’s shining light in the World Cup as he desperately tried to provide a link between the midfield and attack. Iran may have failed on that front, but Jahanbakhsh certainly caught the attention of a few important eyes.

Leicester are thought to be frontrunners to sign the 24 year old AZ Alkmaar winger, and after he scored 21 goals and provided 12 assists in the Eredivisie last season he looks an ideal replacement for the departed Riyad Mahrez. Reports suggest he will cost around £20 million.

Ante Rebic

With Croatia making it to their first ever World Cup final it was always likely that their standout players would catch the eye. However, with the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic, and Dejan Lovren all plying their trade at huge clubs it’s fallen to Ante Rebic to make a big money switch.

The 24 year old Eintracht Frankfurt attacker was ruthless in his work rate throughout the tournament, and his willingness to track back will have pleased managers attracted managers across the continent. At the moment, Manchester United are the main team looking into signing Rebic, but it could cost a huge £44 million to pry him away from the Bundesliga.

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire for England against Colombia at the World Cup

England’s breakout centre back isn’t exactly slumming it at Leicester at the moment, but his excellent performances in Russia have attracted the interest of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.

Maguire scored the opening goal against Sweden for England and won a huge 41 aerial duels in the tournament. He was also the target player for the majority of England’s set pieces deliveries. At the back he was a towering presence at 6 feet and 4 inches, but his ability with the ball at his feet was just as impressive. With many teams favouring a centre back who can play it out from the back, this makes him a prize commodity.

Now we just wait for a bidding war to commence between Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea.

Benjamin Pavard

France’s stand in right back was ripped to shreds by Mark Lawrenson in their opening game against Australia, but Didier Deschamps obviously took no heed. Pavard, who played at centre back for Stuttgart last season, was used as France’s full back throughout their World Cup winning campaign, and he only improved with experience.

He scored one of the goals of the tournament with a stunning volley against Argentina, and the fact that he went from being a liability against Australia to being a very competent right back in the latter stages illustrates his potential. Spurs, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich are all interested in the young and versatile defender, and it’s looking ever more likely that he’ll be leaving Stuttgart this summer.

Read more: How Will We Remember the Astounding but Frustrating French Champions?

Moussa Wague

Plying his trade in Belgium for a Eupen side managed by Claude Makalele, Moussa Wague only made is competitive debut for his club last year. Despite the inexperience of the 19 year old right back, Senegal were inclined to call him up to their World Cup squad.

They didn’t regret it either. He scored for his country in their 2-2 draw with Japan in the group stages and became the youngest ever African scorer in the World Cup. His game certainly isn’t polished, but at just 19 years old he showed a lot of maturity and potential in Russia, a showing that impressed the officials of Napoli. The Serie A giants are reportedly very interested in the youngster.

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