World Cup 2022: The first World Cup in the winter made it possible for young players to show themselves and are on the target list of clubs across Europe.
Morocco’s historic World Cup run was made possible by a young, talented midfielder named Azzedine Ounahi.
On their journey to the final four, Croatia was guided from the back by 20-year-old man in the mask defender, Josko Gvardiol.
After Sunday’s final versus France, a young Argentine, Enzo Fernandez, may win the title or not.
Players like Azzedine Ounahi, Jude Bellingham, and Cody Gakpo, have made a name for themselves or cemented their legends using the 2022 World Cup.
Indeed, the first-ever winter World Cup has given youngsters the chance to showcase their prowess in front of a worldwide audience.
World Cup 2022 Break Out Stars
Here, we will talk about players that you may not have seen play or heard much about, before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Even though some of these players are well-known, most people never had the opportunity to watch them perform to their greatest capacity while they were playing for their club sides.
Now, the question is which World Cup stars should be pursued by Premier League teams in the next January transfer window based on their World Cup performance. The answer to that question is provided below:
Jude Bellingham – England
You might forget that Bellingham is still only 19 years old, which is incredible, yet the adolescent sensation has a mature head on a youthful body.
Just consider the maturity it took for him to approach Harry Kane and offer the England captain comfort after he missed a penalty against France. Will he ever wear the Three Lions armband? He is indeed a hot cake in the forthcoming January transfer window.
Liverpool had previously indicated interest in signing the Dortmund player as well as Manchester City in the EPL.
After Michael Owen in 1998, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder became England’s second-youngest World Cup goal scorer by scoring in the opening 6-2 victory over Iran.
He became the first adolescent to provide an assist in a World Cup knockout stage game since at least 1966, although his standout effort came in the last-16 victory over Senegal.
The next round saw England’s run come to an end, but Bellingham’s efforts have reportedly piqued Real Madrid and Liverpool’s interest.
Cody Gakpo – Netherlands
Cody Gakpo, a winger, became the first player from the Netherlands to score in each of his first three World Cup games.
The 6ft 4inch, athletically built 23-year-old has impressed those around him on the international scene this season, scoring 13 goals and dishing out 17 assists in 24 games for PSV Eindhoven.
Gakpo has been linked with a move to Manchester United, and according to Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk, he can “travel to the moon and back.” As a result, his asking price has certainly increased.
Azzedine Ounahi – Morocco
Before the competition, Moroccan midfielder Azzedine Ounahi was hardly recognized. The coach of Spain undoubtedly had no idea who he was untill they met in the World Cup. Now, the coach would not forget the player’s name in a hurry.
The 22-year-old played a key role in the African team’s unprecedented run to the semi-finals by helping to knock Luis Enrique’s Spain out in the last-16 – a result that led to the manager’s dismissal.
In the quarterfinal victory over Portugal, no teammate had more dribbles (three) or duels won (seven). He clocked 14.7km against the 2010 champions, more than any other player.
Ounahi now plays for the bottom team in the French first division, Angers, but a transfer to the big time could be in the works with La Liga giants Barcelona apparently interested in signing him in January.
A special mention should be made of Sofyan Amrabat, Azzedine Ounahi’s midfield partner, who has been equally impressive. Fiorentina may receive offers for the 26-year-old player next month.
Josko Gvardiol – Croatia
The Masks Man.
Prior to the World Cup, Gvardiol was playing for club team RB Leipzig when he broke his nose, and he arrived on the field dressed as Batman.
The Croatian team advanced to the semi-finals, where they were defeated by Argentina, thanks to the 20-year-old’s heroics at the center of the defense.
But Europe’s heavyweights are circling, with reports claiming that Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich are all considering a £70 million deal.
Goncalo Ramos – Portugal
What a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo was benched for Portugal’s match against Switzerland in the round of 16, forcing Goncalo Ramos into the starting lineup in his place.
However, the 21-year-old outperformed the former Manchester United forward admirably, scoring a hat-trick and providing an assist on his first World Cup 2022 starts. He also had more goals in knockout-round matches than the former Manchester United forward.
Ramos scored three goals in a World Cup quarterfinal game, becoming the first player from his nation to accomplish so since the great Eusebio in 1966. Now the kid must surpass the legend of Portugal’s 473 goals at Benfica.
Enzo Fernandez – Argentina
Enzo Fernandez, an Argentina midfielder who had never before played a game, has been a notable player for a squad that has been guided to the World Cup final by magician Lionel Messi.
After being shocked by Saudi Arabia in the opening round, the 21-year-old produced a lovely, curving goal against Mexico in the group’s second triumph.
No player made more tackles (four) than Fernandez in Argentina’s semi-final victory over Croatia, and his 62 passes tied Messi for the team lead.
Benfica of Portugal paid a pittance of £8.6 million to get Fernandez six months ago; Liverpool have been linked with a move for the player. Fernandez reportedly has a £103 million release clause.
Yunus Musah – USA
Musah, a 19-year-old who is also on the rise, is being chased by Liverpool, Chelsea, and Premier League leaders Arsenal, according to NBC.
The midfielder may be interested in moving to London given that his family has relocated from New York, where Musah was born, to the city.
Bellingham’s World Cup 2022 campaign was otherwise outstanding, and Valencia’s Yunus Musah was the man who stopped him. The USA draw was really a glitch.
Other Players That Starred In Qatar And Are Big January Targets
Dominik Livakovic – Croatia
Livakovic sent Japan home in the World Cup shootout before stopping Brazil’s first penalty to advance Croatia to the quarterfinals in Qatar, making him just the third goalkeeper to make three saves in a shootout.
The 27-year-old has been said to be moving to Wolves, according to the Croatian daily sports publication Sportske Novosti. If they can work out a deal with the goalkeeper, the Midlands club hopes to make Molineux a dreaded destination for Premier League strikers.
Sofyan Amrabat – Morocco
The Moroccan midfield led by Sofyan Amrabat advanced to a historic World Cup semifinal.
The AEK Athens midfielder has demonstrated his value, and Liverpool, who is interested in signing him in January, has been informed that his price is above £30 million.
With players like Henderson and Fabinho already in the building, Liverpool would have an abundance of riches in midfield if they can sign the Moroccan in addition to Bellingham.
Pau Torres – Spain
Pau Torres, a center back for Villarreal and Spain, is wanted by Manchester United and Tottenham for the previous couple of seasons. However, the Metro tabloid has suggested that the 25-year-old may travel to Villa Park in January.
Torres is reportedly at the top of Villa’s new manager Unai Emery’s list of defensive upgrades for the Midlands club.
While his Spanish team might be tempted to cash in on the defender in January before his contract ends in the summer, Torres may be more keen to re-join Emery, who managed him at Villarreal.