World Cup: Gakpo, Mac Allister and Amrabat among 10 players who will take big steps after Qatar

Last Updated on December 25, 2022 by

Lionel Messi brought down the curtain on an unforgettable World Cup in Qatar by finally holding the famous trophy aloft on Sunday evening.

However while it was Argentina who won in a dramatic final against France, Messi and Co are not the only players who will profit from most of the Middle East.

Before being dumped from the competition, a number of stars produced some scintillating performances and put themselves in the shop window as a result, which means they could be in line for big money transfers next year.

Lionel Messi finally got his hands on the World Cup after Argentina beat France on Sunday

But Messi and Argentina aren’t the only ones set to profit from the Qatari bulk, with the likes of Sofyan Amrabat and Goncalo Ramos (left and right) set for big-money moves.

Whether it was a household name rising to the occasion like never before, or a hidden gem launching themselves onto the world stage, there have been many standout artists in Qatar who are now likely to attract widespread attention.

Sportsmail has picked 10 players who look destined for pastures new after impressing at the World Cup, which includes two current Premier League men.

One of those Premier League representatives was Mac Allister, who proved to be one of the unsung heroes of Argentina’s World Cup winning campaign.

The Brighton midfielder went on to become a mainstay in Lionel Scaloni’s side after initially failing to feature from the bench in their opening defeat to Saudi Arabia, having replaced Papu Gomez for the second group outing against Mexico.

Alexis Mac Allister was one of the unsung heroes of Argentina’s World Cup winning campaign

The Brighton midfielder was a mainstay in the side and helped Messi seal his legendary status

Over the next six outings in Qatar, Mac Allister proved to be a crucial member of Argentina’s midfield, forming a successful partnership with Rodrigo De Paul and Enzo Fernandes and even scoring in their win of 2-0 in the group against Poland.

Having played such a key role in his country’s first World Cup win for 36 years, Brighton will be bracing themselves for huge interest in their star midfielder both at the start of the year and this summer. is coming

Tottenham, Juventus and Inter Milan have all been linked with moves for Mac Allister, who is likely to command a hefty transfer fee as he still has two-and-a-half years left on his Amex deal.

Tottenham, Inter Milan and Juventus are reportedly keen to prize him away from Brighton

Many tipped the Netherlands star to be one of the stars of the tournament and, before their quarter-final exit, Gakpo justified such billing with a series of electrifying performances.

He scored the opening goal in their first two group outings against Senegal and Ecuador and was generally Louis van Gaal’s most dangerous threat in the final third, helping them reach the last eight .

Gakpo attracted attention from Leeds and Southampton back in the summer but rejected potential transfers to both clubs while holding out for a bigger move. And now Manchester United are understood to be preparing a £43 million bid for Erik ten Hag’s compatriot.

According to The Telegraph, Ten Hag has identified the 23-year-old as his preferred replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, and United are expected to submit a bid before the January transfer window.

Cody Gakpo (L) produced some electric performances for the Netherlands before their elimination

Erik ten Hag is now keen to bring his compatriot to Manchester United in the January window

Morocco’s historic run to the semi-finals of the World Cup, the first time an African nation has ever reached that stage of the competition, was undoubtedly the biggest surprise Qatar 2022 has created.

And Amrabat was at the heart of the Atlas Lions’ astonishing feat, showing his terrific ball-winning abilities and Walid Regragui’s midfield engine.

The Fiorentina star was instrumental in Morocco upsetting Belgium, Spain and Portugal on their way to the semi-finals, where they were ultimately eliminated by former world champions France.

Sofyan Amrabat was incredible in Morocco’s historic run to the World Cup semi-finals

He showed his excellent defensive qualities in victories over Belgium, Spain and Portugal

After his heroics in Qatar, Amrabat has emerged as Liverpool’s top transfer target amid Jurgen Klopp’s search for a new midfielder, reports Foot Mercato.

Klopp is likely to have been won over by the defensive qualities he showed at the World Cup, but while under contract at Fiorentina until 2024 the 26-year-old is expected to generate a transfer fee in excess of £40m.

Another player who shot for stardom in the Middle East was Kudus, who gained many admirers before Ghana failed to make it out of the group stage.

While the Black Stars only enjoyed three games, that was more than enough time for their 22-year-old striker to leave fans on the edge of their seats, with his match-winning feat in victory of 3-2 over South Korea caught a lot. of the eyes in world football.

Kudus, who spent the last three years with Ajax, has now set himself up for a lucrative January transfer to one of Europe’s elite teams.

Manchester United are understood to be circling, while Barcelona sporting director Jordi Cruyff has recently revealed that the Spanish club has been following him for a number of years.

Mohammed Kudus has gained many admirers during Ghana’s short time in the competition

Despite currently plying his trade in England’s second tier with Stoke, the Australia defender performed out of his skin to help his country secure vital clean sheets in group wins over Tunisia and Denmark and progress for the last 16.

The Socceroos were beaten there by eventual winners Argentina, but Rio Ferdinand believes Souttar’s stock has now risen on the back of his dominant displays at the heart of their defence.

Speaking on the BBC ahead of Australia’s last 16 match against Argentina, Ferdinand suggested the 24-year-old will be on many Premier League radars after impressing in Qatar.

The former England defender said: ‘[Souttar] is a huge presence at 6’6. He is very good with the ball with his distribution. He is good at defending those spaces in front of the middle of the goal.

“Before his injury he had [Premier League] interest and I’m sure his stock is rising with his performances here.”

Harry Souttar was a rock at the back as Australia crashed out of the group stage in Qatar

Rio Ferdinand believes that the 24-year-old player will be on many Premier League radars

You can hardly blame any player wilting under the pressure of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo, let alone a 21-year-old making his full international debut in a World Cup knockout game.

However Ramos had other ideas. In his first start for Portugal, the Benfica striker overcame Ronaldo’s headline-worthy demotion to the bench by scoring a superb hat-trick in their 6-1 win at the end sixteen against Switzerland.

Few were aware of Ramos’ impressive ability before his treble against Switzerland, but expect his name to dominate the next two transfer windows if he doesn’t earn a move in January.

Goncalo Ramos stole the show for Portugal after replacing Cristiano Ronaldo against Switzerland

The 21-year-old player scored a sensational hat-trick to help them win 6-1 in the last 16.

Man United are reportedly considering emulating Portugal by swapping Ronaldo for Ramos

Ironically, Manchester United are believed to be interested in emulating Portugal by replacing Ronaldo with the youngster, while Arsenal and Chelsea have also been considered as potential candidates.

Unfortunately for all three interested parties, however, Benfica will be in the driving seat in the negotiations as Ramos has a £105 million release clause included in his contract.

Messi has understandably dominated the headlines since Sunday evening, but it was Martinez who proved Argentina’s hero in the shootout against France.

The Aston Villa goalkeeper first denied Kingsley Coman from the spot and, while the effort went wide, she then played Aurelien Tchouameni by flicking the ball just before sending his penalty flying wide. at the post.

Throughout Argentina’s World Cup campaign Martinez was one of Scaloni’s most important men, and he also helped them win another penalty shoot-out against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Emiliano Martinez was Argentina’s hero in the penalty shootout win against France on Sunday

Aston Villa goalkeeper keeps out Kingsley Coman’s effort as Argentina draw first blood

As a result, Villa are bound to receive offers for their 30-year-old shot-stopper, and his agent has already hinted that he could be on the move in January.

‘There are few clubs at the moment who can afford a goalkeeper like [Martinez]. But Serie A, why not?’ Gustavo Doni told Tuttomercatoweb. ‘Obviously, he is aiming high and aiming for the Champions League.’

Bayern Munich and Manchester United are said to be looking at Martinez, who still has four and a half years to run on his deal with Villa.

Martinez’s agent has already hinted at a move amid rumored interest from Bayern Munich

Another key cog in the Moroccan machine, En-Nesyri led the line for Regragui’s men and bagged a couple of crucial goals in their unlikely run to the semi-finals.

The Sevilla forward scored the winner in the last group win against Canada before going on to upset Cristiano Ronaldo with the decisive strike in the 1-0 quarter-final win against the -Portugal.

At 25, he still has his best years ahead of him and therefore represents an intriguing transfer option for Premier League clubs and other top sides in Europe.

West Ham look set to make another move for En-Nesyri next month after reportedly seeing a £34m bid rejected by Sevilla over the summer, with the Spanish club controlling negotiations as he is under contract with them until July 2025.

Inter Milan are believed to have shortlisted him as a potential target in January, while Arsenal have also been linked with a move.

Youssef En-Nesyri was another key member of the Moroccan team that reached the semi-finals

The Sevilla striker was in front with the decisive attack in the shock 1-0 win over Portugal

Until he collided with Messi – or perhaps more appropriately, was managed by Messi – the Croatia star was heralded by many as the best defender in the league.

He helped his country get two clean sheets in the group stage and navigate past Japan and Brazil on penalties to reach the last four for the second consecutive World Cup.

It was there that 20-year-old Guardiol was turned inside out and left for dead by Messi in Croatia’s 3-0 semi-final defeat by Argentina, although that should not take away from the a handful of majestic defensive displays that came before it. .

Before being turned inside out by Messi, Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol enjoyed a wonderful tournament

The RB Leipzig star is wanted by Chelsea, who are expected to sign him again next year

Chelsea were heavily linked with the RB Leipzig man back in the summer and are expected to renew their interest at some point next year, although they could face competition from a number of Premier League rivals.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham have also been mentioned as potential owners for Guardiol, who still has four and a half years left on his contract with Leipzig.

The 21-year-old midfielder was left out of Argentina’s starting XI for their opening two matches, but by the end of Sunday’s final he was lifting both the World Cup award and ‘ Young Player of the Tournament after becoming a mainstay in Scaloni’s team.

Enzo Fernandez will not be short of patents after winning Young Player of the Tournament

Strong, energetic and technically superb – as shown by his stunning strike in their 2-0 win over Mexico – Fernandez looked the complete package at times in Qatar and will not fail to bounce back in the January window.

Early reports suggest that Liverpool are the frontrunners to sign him at some point next year, whether in January or the summer, although having only moved to Benfica from River Plate in July it may be difficult to convince the Portuguese club to sell.

Fernandez is under contract at the Estádio da Luz until the summer of 2027, meaning Liverpool or any other interested parties will need to pony up the cash to add him to their ranks.

However, Argentinian publication Diario La Capital claim that the Merseyside side already have a deal in place with Benfica, who could agree an £80m deal that would see Fernandez stay with them until the end of the season.

The Benfica midfielder is already being tipped to join Liverpool after his impressive World Cup