The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been a spectacle and a half. It’s been an exciting and exhilarating affair from the group stages all the way down to the semi-finals. Now it’s down to Argentina and France to battle it out on Sunday (18 December) for the biggest prize in football.
In true FIFA World Cup fashion, we have seen the emergence of several new stars in Qatar as well. These players will all be in high demand once the January transfer window opens. Several players who were not very popular names at the start of the World Cup have now become global stars.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at five FIFA World Cup stars who will be in high demand in the January transfer window.
#5 Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco/Angers)
Moroccan midfielder Azzedine Ounahi has been one of the stars of the tournament. Just two years ago, Ounahi was playing in the third-tier of French football. He has bossed the midfield for the Atlas Lions alongside Sofyan Amrabat and Selim Amallah at the World Cup.
Ounahi has surprised fans with his languid style, ability to progress the ball by jinking past challenges and linking up with his teammates in an effortless manner. At the age of 22, he is already a mature presence in the middle of the pitch.
A number of European clubs are likely to line up to secure Ounahi’s services in January. He will be available for a relatively cheap sum of money and he has already proved his quality on the biggest stage of all.
#4 Josko Gvardiol (Croatia/RB Leipzig)
Josko Gvardiol has been one of the breakout stars of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He has also been one of the best centre-backs in the tournament. The fact that he is just 20 makes him one of the hottest young prospects in the game and one of the most sought-after players. He will be in high demand once the January transfer window opens.
Gvardiol’s tackling, composure, game-reading and technical abilities are already excellent and he still has a long way to go before he even hits his peak. Although he did get a bit dragged around by Lionel Messi in the semi-final against Argentina, that’s unlikely to bite too much into his transfer market valuation.
Gvardiol will definitely have plenty of potential suitors once the January transfer window opens.
#3 Cody Gakpo (Netherlands/PSV Eindhoven)
Cody Gakpo turned heads with his excellent marksmanship at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The dynamic and versatile forward was the Netherlands’ main man in attack in the tournament and he scored in each of their three group stage games.
He is technically gifted and excels at linking up with his teammates in the final third. Gakpo’s fleet-footedness helps him slalom his way past defenders with ease and he is as good at finding the back of the net as he is at setting up his teammates to score.
The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with Manchester United and PSV will be hoping to spark a bidding war for him when the January transfer window opens.
Cody Gakpo’s priority is Manchester United.
#2 Goncalo Ramos (Portugal/Benfica)
Goncalo Ramos was a relatively lesser-known entity heading into the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Handed his first start ahead of the misfiring Cristiano Ronaldo in the Round of 16 against Switzerland, Ramos proved a point in the most emphatic fashion.
He scored a brilliant hat-trick and surprised everyone with his mature centre-forward play. Ramos currently plies his trade for Benfica and has been in great form for the Portuguese outfit this term.
In 21 appearances across all competitions for Benfica so far this season, the 21-year-old has scored 14 goals and provided six assists.
#1 Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco/Fiorentina)
Sofyan Amrabat has been one of the most impressive players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. His agent Mohammed Sinouh has revealed that plenty of interested clubs have already got in touch with him to secure the 26-year-old’s services. As per Goal, Liverpool are among those interested in roping in the Fiorentina midfielder.
A belligerent presence in the center of the park, Amrabat has won the ball back 41 times, the most of any player in the tournament. His ball-retention and progression skills are also commendable. Amrabat has weaved his way past opponents with ease and has been extremely safe in possession.
He fought tooth and nail in the Round of 16 encounter against Spain and came out on top against a midfield of Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi. Amrabat’s stocks have risen considerably over the course of the World Cup and Fiorentina are unlikely to keep him for much longer.
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