The greatest shop window in football is set to imminently open.
World Cups send the transfer market into overdrive, forcing clubs to reassess their business as fresh targets grab their attention. This was the case in Brazil four years ago when Colombia playmaker’s James Rodriguez’s startling six-goal haul convinced Real Madrid to spend £71 million (Dh447.2m) and procure him from Monaco.
This process is sure to repeat during the coming weeks in Russia as emerging prospects earn their step up to the big time.
Here, we run through a list of footballers who will be keenly watched by scouts.
PSV Eindhoven winger Lozano is the latest prospect off the production line from Mexico to Europe.
Regularly playing as an inverted left winger, his tally of eight assists and 17 goals played a key role in last term’s Eredivisie title success during a debut campaign to cherish.
The 22-year-old had been linked to both Manchester giants while at Pachuca. A World Cup-campaign that continues his form from the Netherlands could convince a super power to take the plunge.
One of the highest transfer fees of the 2018 transfer window will have to be paid to snare the Serbia centre midfielder from Lazio.
Labelled ‘Mr 100 million’ by La Gazzetta dello Sport thanks to his domination of Serie A midfields in 2017/18 and 12-goal haul, the multi-talented 23-year-old is already an object of intense desire, with Manchester United emerging as one of the interested parties.
How he gets on for Serbia – after being snubbed for qualifying – will be key to what happens next.
A defender of Pavard’s talents deserves better than performing for the Bundesliga’s seventh-placed side.
Pavard, 22, is blessed with elegance on the ball and a keen sense of anticipation. These skills mean he has emerged as a likely starter at right-back for France.
This is not his usual position for Stuttgart, where he is picked at centre-back. Versatility that has already been noted by North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
A secret weapon has emerged for Argentina to unleash at World Cup 2018.
Boca Juniors forward Pavon, 22, has done what the likes of Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Internazionale’s Mauro Icardi have failed to do – get on a wavelength with Barcelona icon Lionel Messi. This relationship, already witnessed in the friendly against Haiti, will have prospective employers purring.
If goals are added to his repertoire in Russia, then the path to Europe opens up further for the €37-rated (Dh181.4m) attacker.
It is a good time to be Denmark’s centre forward.
A supply line that contains Celta Vigo left winger Sisto and Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen is sure to be profitable. The former mentioned has a £40m (Dh196.1m) release clause in La Liga, an amount that hasn’t dissuaded the likes of Everton and Southampton from pursuing him.
Pull the strings against elite opposition such as France and this list is sure to grow.
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