Chelsea didn’t get to them. Top Stars of the 2022 World Cup
Chelsea didn't get to them. Stars of the 2022 World Cup, remaining in their clubs
Chelsea didn’t get to them. Stars of the 2022 World Cup, remaining in their clubs
At the top are the leaders of the Argentina national team and the defender whom Messi mocked.
World Championships always opens up new stars and heroes. The tournament in Qatar was no exception. However, not all the players who shone brightly at the 2022 World Cup ended up being promoted. Which of the players, for one reason or another, remained in their teams and is waiting for a chance to transfer to a top club?
Yassin Bono (Sevilla)
Where could go: Bayern, Aston Villa
The Moroccan goalkeeper has become one of the key characters in the fairy tale of the national team at the 2022 World Cup. Bono conceded only one goal before the semi-finals, and in the 1/8 finals with Spain he was excellent in the penalty shootout. The media sent him to Bayern to replace the injured Manuel Neuer, as well as to Aston Villa. Unai Emery, who worked with the Moroccan at Sevilla, came to the English club and planned to remove Emiliano Martinez from the team. The Spanish specialist was annoyed by the behavior of the Argentine goalkeeper in the 2022 World Cup final.
However, everyone remained in their places: Bono continues to play for Sevilla, Martinez defends the gates of Villa, and Bayern chose to replace Neuer with the experienced Jan Sommer from Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Sofian Amrabat (Fiorentina)
Where could go: Barcelona, Liverpool, Aston Villa
26-year-old Amrabat is the mainstay of the Moroccan national team in midfield at the 2022 World Cup. His qualities attracted the attention of several top clubs at once: Liverpool was the first to indicate interest, but the football player’s agent considered that his client was not a priority target for the Reds. The British looked more towards Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez.
Then there was an option with Atlético, but Madrid did not have the money for a transfer. On the last day of the window, Barcelona became more active, deciding to take Amrabat on loan with an option to buy. The Moroccan even missed the Fiorentina training and left a message on social networks, counting on the transition: “Go ahead now, the future is not promised to anyone.”
The leadership of the “violets” eventually rejected the offer of “Barcelona”, and the disgruntled Moroccan remained in Italy and was expelled from the squad. Then he apologized, and the coaching staff decided to return Amrabat to the team.
Moises Caicedo (Brighton)
Where could go: Arsenal, Chelsea
The 21-year-old midfielder failed to reach the playoffs of the 2022 World Cup with the Ecuador national team, but showed consistently great football in all three matches of the tournament. Caicedo also stands out in the midfield of Brighton, from where he was dreamed of being picked up by two London giants – Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Gunners have been working on the transfer of the Ecuadorian all January. An interesting situation happened to Caicedo: he had already said goodbye to Brighton on social networks, waiting for the deal with Arsenal to close soon. But Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi and the club’s management did not want to sell Caicedo in the winter.
Brighton were ready to sell the Ecuadorian for only €90m, while Arsenal’s maximum offer was €80m. The Gunners eventually withdrew from the negotiations and acquired Chelsea midfielder Jorginho. As for the Blues, they spoke to Brighton about a move for Caicedo in early January, but were less pushy than Arsenal. As a result, the Graham Potter team identified Enzo Fernandez as the main target, for the transfer of which the club management fought until the last seconds of the winter window.
Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton)
Where could go: Chelsea, Juventus
The most important player of the “golden” national team of Argentina a couple of years ago could have ended up in Spartak. Now McAllister is being watched by the European giants. Alexis is a modern smart midfielder who fits into almost any system of play. That is why ex-Brighton coach Graham Potter really wanted to take the player to Chelsea. Also, Mac Allister is being watched in Italy: Juventus was going to strengthen the middle line with an Argentinean.
However, Chelsea eventually settled on other priority goals, and the “old lady” was mired in scandals and proceedings and turned its attention from purchases to court cases.
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
Where could go: Bayern, Juventus
The Argentine goalkeeper is the most odious figure of the World Cup in Qatar. Martínez decimated rivals in a penalty shoot-out, and then applied the prize for the best goalkeeper of the tournament to the groin after the final. “Those who know Martinez personally understand that he is a good person, but also a little crazy.
We were already aware of his character, but I can understand that from the outside it can make a bad impression. I just want to remind people that you don’t become world champion every day, maybe at other times it’s easier to control your emotions, ”defender Nicholas Tagliafico explained the behavior of their teammate.
Many did not like the behavior of Martinez, but the fact remains: it was Emiliano who saved Argentina at critical moments, as in the situation with the scoring chance of France forward Colo Muani in the extra time of the final. The goalkeeper, who sat tightly on the Arsenal bench a few years ago, has interested several top teams.
Bayern considered Martinez as a replacement for Neuer, and Juventus – to strengthen the goalkeeping line and compete with Wojciech Szczesny. In the end, the Munich team chose Sommer, and Juve suddenly had no time for purchases due to points deductions.
Goncalo Ramos (Benfica)
Where could go: Manchester United
The football player who scored a hat-trick in the 1/8 finals of the World Cup with Switzerland immediately received the title of “Ronaldo’s heir”. The 21-year-old striker entered the match at the start instead of Cristiano and justified the bold move of coach Fernando Santos. Ramos has become an important player for Benfica in the 2022/2023 season following the departure of Darwin Nunez to Liverpool.
Goncalo scored 14 goals in 22 matches of the season, and Santos had no option not to call the player to the national team. Flashing at the 2022 World Cup, Ramos attracted the attention of Manchester United. It’s funny, but even there the forward had to replace the departed Ronaldo.
Ramos himself has always been flattering about Cristiano: “Ronaldo is our captain, he is a leader, and we always look forward to playing side by side with him. He is my standard and an idol for many of us. Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Zlatan Ibrahimovic…
These players are my role models.” But the transfer of Goncalo to the place of an idol at Manchester United did not happen: the club left money for the summer campaign and rented out Wout Wegorst to attack. It is likely that the Red Devils will return to Ramos in June, but for now, the striker will continue to show his class at Benfica.
Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)
Where could go: Bayern, Chelsea, Nottingham Forest
Another goalkeeper on our list was revealed at the 2022 World Cup. Livakovich is already 28 years old, but only now he has become known to the general public. The Croatian has been playing for the local Dynamo for eight years, periodically sparkling in the Champions League. However, for the decisive step into the top club, Livakovich was constantly missing something. The tournament in Qatar confirmed Dominik’s readiness to play in the best teams in Europe.
Interest in the player before the opening of the winter transfer window was shown by Bayern and Chelsea. But the German club preferred Sommer, and Chelsea decided to trust Kepa Arrizabalaga as the main goalkeeper. At the end of January, Nottingham came for Livakovic, who bought everyone in a row, but in the end, the Foresters instead of the Croat took the more experienced and status Keylor Navas.
Joshko Guardiol (RB Leipzig)
Where could go: Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City
The 21-year-old defender is remembered by many for how he was mockingly beaten by Lionel Messi in the semi-finals of the World Cup. But Guardiol played that match with injury, entering the meeting on injections. Joshko has been demonstrating excellent play throughout the season:
the Croatian has all the qualities of a modern central defender, plus he is left-handed. An important argument for progressive coaches who like to get out of defense through a pass. Not surprisingly, a line of top clubs lined up behind Guardiol, among which, to the delight of fans of puns, was Guardiola’s Man City.
Interestingly, the player himself called Liverpool his favorite team, not interested in his transition: “My dream club? Definitely Liverpool. I have seen a huge number of their matches since the moment when I was little and watched football with my father. We followed every season of Liverpool, noticing all the details. This is the club that will forever remain in my heart.”
Leipzig did not want to let go of the main defender in the winter, despite solid offers from the giants. In the summer of 2024, a €110 million release clause in Guardiol’s contract will be activated. But interested clubs may try to acquire the Croat as early as this June: in the off-season, Leipzig will have more opportunities to find a replacement for the player.
Denzel Dumfries (Inter)
Where could go: Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham
The Dutch right-back once again showed the best qualities in the national team in a major tournament. After a powerful Euro 2020 for Dumfries, he was taken to Inter. This time, English top teams became interested in him. Three clubs at once experienced problems with the right flank: Rhys James was injured at Chelsea, unstable Diogo Dalo, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka play at Manchester United on the right, and Tottenham fans clutch at their hearts when they see Emerson on the field.
But the Dutchman remained in Italy. Chelsea have taken Lyon’s Malo Gusteau to his position, Tottenham have acquired Sporting’s Pedro Porro, and Wan-Bissaka is experiencing a renaissance at Manchester United. So Dumfries has to wait at least summer if he wants to leave Milan. Such an outcome is likely, because more and more often Matteo Darmian is at the base of his position at Inter.
Mohammed Kudus (Ajax)
Where could go: Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton
The Ghanaian midfielder was remembered by fans from the group stage of the Champions League: he was one of the few Ajax players who held the brand of the Dutch giant. Kudus scored four goals: two against the Rangers and one more each against Liverpool and Napoli. At the 2022 World Cup, the Ghanaian scored twice in the game with South Korea (3:2), bringing the team the only victory in the tournament. The Black Stars failed to qualify for the playoffs, but that didn’t stop the clubs from shortlisting Kudus.
Most actively in winter the player was interested in England. But Manchester United decided not to spend their budget and saved money for the summer, Liverpool chose PSV Dutch forward Cody Gakpo, and Everton is not the most attractive route for prospects right now.
However, it is already obvious that Kudus will not stay at Ajax for a long time: Mohammed perfectly interprets the role of the “false nine”, and players of this format are piece goods. We are waiting for the Ghanaian in the new club in the summer of 2023.
Niklas Füllkrug (Werder Bremen)
Where could go: Bayern
The 29-year-old striker, whom few have heard of before this season, has become a real discovery of the Bundesliga. Füllkrug has scored 13 goals in 18 meetings and leads the scoring race. Hans-Dieter Flick could not help but take the player to the national team for the 2022 World Cup.
Germany failed for the second World Cup in a row, but Füllkrug tried to make the most of it: it was he who equalized the score in the match with Spain (1:1), coming on as a substitute in the 70th minute. Then Niklas scored in a meeting with Costa Rica (4:2), reappearing on the field only in the 55th minute.
The main German club – Bayern – expressed interest in the player at the end of the tournament. The management of Munich asked about Füllkrug of his teammates. German players gave positive feedback about the striker. However, Bayern decided to bet on the current attacking group, where there is already a player of this type – Eric Choupo-Moting. And the Füllkrug helps Werder Bremen, eighth in the Bundesliga, fight for European competition and the highest place in the table since the 2009/2010 season (third).
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