Whether we agree with it or not, decent performances at the World Cup, (or before it if you’re a manager apparently) can land you a big gig.
Premier League clubs are notorious for monitoring the World Cup closely, and with half the world watching the high-profile nature of any signing won’t exactly be bad for business. Unless, of course, you sign a Saudi player.
Anyway, here’s 10 players that fit the bill and could find themselves roaming around your favourite English (or Welsh – thanks, Cardiff) ground come August for an inflated fee.
Ali Beiranvand (Iran)
All hail the sh*thouse. Anyone who can wind up Diego Costa and almost single-handedly win a point for his national side against Spain deserves another look. He also kept seven clean sheets in Asian qualifiers – three more than any other netminder. Don’t be put off that he plays for Persepolis – their Tehran derby attracts 80,000 people and makes your West Ham v Millwall fetish look like a tea party.
Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)
Has there been a more impressive player at the tournament so far than the CSKA Moscow midfielder? He’s industrious, ideal for either side of a diamond and has an unbelievable amount of energy. Some cynics may even say – a suspicious amount of energy. We’ll leave you sit on that one.
Jose Gimenez (Uruguay)
Now, we’re sure he’s been on a couple of radars already, but Gimenez at just 23 could probably go for an astronomical fee after this tournament as Atleti simply won’t turn down a crazy offer, especially as they’ve just paid Griezmann salaries for being both a footballer and an amateur director.
Hörður Björgvin Magnússon (Iceland)
Magnusson is part of an Iceland team that may be the most organised on the planet. He wouldn’t need time to fit in as he always ready plies his trade in the Championship for Bristol City and he’s versatile – able to play at centre half or left full.
Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark)
He’s huge, he’s got a super first touch, he already plays with quality at RB Leipzig and he has a good understanding with Christian Eriksen – what’s not to like? In reality, a lot – but he’s going to be snapped up by a mid-table side in the hope he nets 20 goals. Spoiler: he won’t.
Sergej Milinković-Savić (Serbia)
He was outstanding in Serbia’s World Cup opener – setting up three shots for team mates as well as shooting three times himself. He plays his football for Lazio and, by all accounts, is a future club captain. That is, of course, until he signs for Southampton in six weeks.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
I was sitting down for lunch yesterday, minding my own business. Someone approached me and mentioned that Xherdan Shaqiri, despite being relegated to the second tier of English football, would completely suit Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. You know – he had a point. Quick feet, good defensive awareness and a bit of a pup. Why not?
Hector Herrera (Mexico)
There has never been a general more involved in the downfall of an overly-confident Germany force in the history of mankind. Herrera may be 28, but the current market won’t exactly rationalise itself any time soon and Porto are unlikely to be able to refuse a big offer. Box to box brilliance.
Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
Koulibaly is another one that pops up on those nonsense transfer columns all the time but until more exposure to the player arrived on the world stage, PR would probably stop any side from pulling the trigger on a massive transfer fee. He’s started this tournament well. If Senegal qualify from the group stages, expect to see him in the Premier League in January at the latest.
M’Baye Niang (Senegal)
Remember him? He’s so quick that he could well suit teams that play on the counter. He constantly pressed and understand exactly how to beat the offside trap that was deployed so loosely against him in their opener. Don’t take any notice of what Watford tell you about him, Elton John’s farewell tour is lasting three years – they’ve a history of exaggeration.