Kudus, Gakpo named among World Cup stars who have earned January moves

Mohammed Kudus.png Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus

Sat, 17 Dec 2022 Source: goal.com

The World Cup has long been renowned for kickstarting careers and propelling youngsters towards superstardom. Qatar 2022 has been no different in that regard.

Players from every kind of situation at club level have made a huge impression on the tournament and are now the subject of all sorts of transfer talk ahead of the January transfer window.

But who is likeliest to move? And who has added the most to their pre-tournament value?

GOAL runs through the World Cup heroes that have done more than enough to earn themselves a move...

Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)

Sofyan Amrabat is under contract at Fiorentina until 2024, with the option of an additional year, and his agent has insisted that his client is happy at a club that has been very good to him.

However, Alberto Maria Jimmy Fontana has also revealed that he has already received a number of phone calls from interested clubs regarding his client, which is hardly surprising, given Amrabat has been the best defensive midfielder at Qatar 2022.

He was immense in the quarter-final win over Portugal, but his performance against Spain in the previous round was arguably even more remarkable when one considers that he had required a painkiller just to play!

Ritsu Doan (Japan)

Japan's thrilling progression to the last 16 was very much a team effort, but a few individuals stood out, most notably Ritsu Doan, with the electric winger scoring crucial equalisers in the comeback wins over Germany and Spain in the group stage.

The 24-year-old only joined Freiburg from PSV at the start of the season, but there is already mounting talk that Roma and even Manchester City are weighing up January bids for a player that is as hard-working as he is technically-gifted.

Joao Felix (Portugal)

Joao Felix will obviously be bitterly disappointed that Portugal's World Cup ended at the quarter-final stage, after a shock loss to Morocco.

However, he'll take plenty of positives out of the tournament from a personal perspective, not least because Qatar 2022 has done wonders for his hopes of securing a badly-needed move away from Atletico Madrid after falling out of favour with Diego Simeone.

The Rojiblancos will be just as delighted by Felix's revival as it gives them a chance of recouping at least some of the eye-watering €126 million they paid Benfica for his services three years ago.

Felix won't fetch anything like that figure in January, but he reminded everyone of his talent in Qatar with one goal and two assists.

He's still only 23, remember, and the feeling is that the impressively versatile Felix would flourish in a more attack-minded side than Atleti.

Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)

The introduction of Enzo Fernandez into Argentina's midfield has proven one of the most significant moments of the 2022 World Cup.

The Benfica man made an instant impact against Mexico, scoring a stunning goal to seal victory in a must-win match, and hasn't looked back, turning in one dynamic display after another.

It was Fernandez, remember, who played the through-ball that led to crucial penalty in the semi-final win over Croatia.

The kid can do it all, so it's not in the least bit surprise that a player who only joined Benfica during the summer is already being courted by elite European sides such as Liverpool and Manchester City.

Where will he go? When will he leave? It's hard to say at this point. But one thing's for sure: someone is going to pay a massive amount of money for a player Lionel Messi describes as a "spectacular" talent.

Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)

Cody Gakpo was heavily linked with a move to England during the summer transfer window. So, interest in his services has only intensified after the winger's impressive World Cup campaign for Netherlands, which saw the 23-year-old score in all three of his nation's group games.

Manchester United and Arsenal are both said to be considering making a move for Gakpo and PSV's director of football, Marcel Brands, has already admitted that the Dutch club would be open to selling the forward at the right price.

Josko Gvardiol (Croatia)

Josko Gvardiol learned a valuable lesson in Qatar: even at 35, Lionel Messi is still the world's best player.

It should stand him in good stead because the Croatian is one of the game's most exciting prospects.

Indeed, the 20-year-old had been outstanding up until the Argentina game, illustrating exactly why top teams are lining up to sign him from RB Leipzig.

It still seems far more likely that Gvardiol will leave the Red Bull Arena next summer, but someone could well try to agree a fee for his services in the coming weeks, so as to avoid being caught up in a bidding wear for the strong and classy centre-back.

Mohammed Kudus (Ghana)

Everton have twice tried and failed to sign Mohammed Kudus, most recently during the summer, when their hopes were dashed by Antony's move to Manchester United, which made Ajax unwilling to part with another offensive talent before the close of the transfer window.

That decision should pay off big time for the Dutch club, given Kudus now has even more Premier League suitors after starring for Ghana in Qatar.

As well as bagging two goals, the attacking midfielder also wowed with his dribbling skills and blistering turn of pace.

Dominik Livakovic (Croatia)

Dominik Livakovic is still pretty upset about the penalty awarded against him in Croatia's semi-final loss to Argentina. However, whatever way one looks at it, he certainly wasn't to blame, having been left badly exposed by his backline.

There's also no disputing that Livakovic has been the World Cup's best goalkeeper.

At the time of writing, nobody has made more saves (24), while he also stepped up when his country needed him most.

Against Japan in the last 16, Livakovic became just the third man to save three penalties in a shootout, and he stopped another against Brazil in the quarter-final.

Dinamo Zagreb will be bracing themselves for some big bids for their No.1 during the winter window.

Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco)

Azzedine Ounahi plays for Angers, the worst team in Ligue 1. Not for much longer, though.

Ounahi has arguably been the breakout star of Qatar 2022, with his elegant midfield play one of the highlights of Morocco's historic campaign.

The 22-year-old was singled out for special praise by Luis Enrique after the last-16 win over Spain, while Jose Mourinho labelled his display against Portugal in the quarters as "absolutely incredible".

A big-money move now appears inevitable for Ounahi.

Source: goal.com
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