This could be a January transfer window with a difference after an international tournament
International tournaments are a fantastic opportunity for players to attract interest from buying clubs, although scouting a small sample of games in a knockout tournament has its dangers.
One of the many respects in which themid-season Qatar World Cupis unusual is the fact the January transfer window follows just a few weeks after the final.
With the fitness of players coming out of the tournament a big unknown and a hectic fixture list, clubs could be keen to do business.
Mike McGrath looks at some of the names Premier League clubs will be keeping tabs on.
Had a few Premier League clubs got their way in the summer, Gakpo would have already been in England and getting ready for the World Cup at a new club. Leeds United sporting director Victor Orta flew over to Holland on the eve of the transfer deadline to try and get a deal thrashed out but his target chose to stay at Philips Stadion, where he broke into the first team four years ago. He was also an ambitious target for Southampton and was on the list of possible signings at Manchester United, who stayed in the Dutch market but prioritised Antony at Ajax.
It was recently revealed that Leeds offer was 47m, with 30m of that fee up front and the rest in bonuses including Champions League qualification. Gakpo had also spoken to fellow Dutchman Erik Ten Hag at United before it was decided he would stay at PSV. In the end the deal didnt go through, which was a shame, for me and my development, and because Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but also for PSV, because to transfer a player to Manchester United is a good thing for the club, he said. It ended about a week before the end of the transfer window and in that week I had to decide if I would go to Leeds or Southampton. In the end I stayed, but it was a stressful period.
Chelsea have already put in groundwork for the French forward to arrive in the Premier League next season. He has been a long-term target for the clubs new owners and they had his signing in mind when they landed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a stop-gap solution to their forward line in the summer. It will be interesting to see where Nkunku plays, as he is not an out-and-out centre forward but comes from a deeper position when he has played in Bundesliga and at Paris Saint-Germain before that. With Frances injury problems elsewhere, there is an opportunity for him to shine.
Has long been on the radar of Champions League teams looking for a seasoned centre-back with speed but also intelligence to read the game and distribute from the backline. He has been unlucky that teams with money to spend have been able to land their first-choice defenders in the post-Covid market where the cash-rich are thriving. Manchester United looked at him but managed to land Raphael Varane, while Chelsea got Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly this summer. Torres has already experienced victories against Premier League teams, notably winning the Europa League after defeating United, and his game is suited to England.
Gareth Southgate wanted Musah as part of the England set-up as he qualifies after going through Arsenals academy and seven years there until moving to Spain. How Arsenal must have wished he stayed when he broke into the Valencia first team and started playing regularly in La Liga. It led to a USA call-up and Musah chose to play for the country of his birth rather than England. He can function in Gregg Berhalters team offering protection to the defence and being the link with forwards as USA move forward. The teenager has already been monitored by Premier League clubs looking to bring him back.
Australias biggest teenage talent will be seen in the Premier League straight after the World Cup as Newcastle United have agreed a pre-contract agreement for him to arrive in January for just 300,000. He could be loaned out to a European club, but there is no doubt that the club believe they have landed a player with the potential to play at the very top, and at a bargain price. Born in Egypt to South Sudanese parents, he moved to Australia aged six with his family as refugees. His ascent has been quick, making his Socceroos debut in September and then being named in the squad for Qatar.
Chelsea were looking to negotiate a deal for Gvardiol in the summer despite already reshaping their defence. It is a deal they will look to complete in the next windows instead, with the players value potentially increasing should he perform well at the World Cup. His strength and positioning, plus the ability to pick out a pass, has seen him on the radar of Premier League clubs as a teenager. He was on Tottenhams list of targets for the summer and Manchester City looked at him. Leipzig were looking at fellow Croatia centre-back Josip Sutalo such was the intense interest in Gvardiol.
Former PSV winger has been part of Napoli becoming the great entertainers of Europe this season at the top of Serie A and their Champions League group, scoring heavily in the process. It is now his fourth season at Stadio San Paolo and he will be one of the players Mexico will look for creativity during the tournament. Teams such as Everton have looked at him previously and he could put himself in the shop window with his performances in Qatar, with one full season left on his current contract with his club.
He is a wildcard as one of the players to keep an eye on, having not been capped for the Black Stars before the tournament but forcing his way into their plans with his performances in the Champions League this season, helping his club qualify for the knockout stages and knocking out Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen. It is only his second season at Club Brugges after arriving from Leicester City where for his three years he was loaned to OH Leuven, who have the same owners as the Premier League club.
His reputation was only enhanced at the European Championship last year when he helped Denmark reach the semi-finals, where they were defeated by England. Before that, he had been scouted intensively by Premier League clubs who saw a left-back with the ability to get up the pitch but also provide defensive solidity. It is now his third season in Italy and his versatility - he can also play on the right-flank - makes him an attractive proposition for clubs. He was joint top-scorer with Andreas Skov Olsen with five goals in qualifying, showing his attacking instincts.
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