10 Players Who Are Sure to Secure Big-Money Deals at the World Cup
The World Cup provides the ideal platform for players to impress and earn lucrative summer moves, but which names are guaranteed to make big-money transfers after this year's tournament?
Over the following slides, we take a look at 10 potential candidates.
Arranged in an order that best reflects their current market value from lowest to highest (all values come from Transfermarkt.com).
Read on for more!
Marcelo Diaz, Chile
Market value: €2 million
Apart from Juventus' Arturo Vidal and Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez, Marcelo Diaz is the most important cog in Chile's World Cup squad.
The 27-year-old—who has 20 international caps to his name—currently plies his trade with FC Basel, where he has racked up 81 appearances since signing for the side in July 2012.
He has amassed a solid amount of performances in both domestic and European competition, since making the switch from Universidad de Chile two years ago and, following his arrival, Basel have won back-to-back Swiss league titles.
A consistent performer for La Roja, it would not come as a surprise to see Diaz earn a move to a much larger club following this summer's tournament.
This impressive bicycle kick, scored in a friendly against Egypt last week, won't have harmed his chances of a big-money move...
Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon
Market value: €4.25 million
Vincent Aboubakar may have a relatively modest market value right now, but we should expect that price to skyrocket over the coming months.
Hailed as Cameroon's "big hope in Brazil" by Arthur Wandji in The Guardian, perhaps Aboubakar really is the heir apparent to Samuel Eto'o with the Indomitable Lions.
If the 2013/14 season is anything to go by, the 22-year-old is destined for great things. After switching from Valenciennes to Lorient last summer, Aboubakar put away 16 goals in 35 league appearances for his new club, putting him on a par with Edinson Cavani, Salomon Kalou and Andre-Pierre Gignac in the Ligue 1 scoring charts.
He is going to be one of the players to watch, as Volker Finke's side take on Brazil, Croatia and Mexico in Group A this summer.
Memphis Depay, Netherlands
Market value: €5 million
Memphis Depay is poised to become a household name. After spending large parts of the 2012/13 Eredivisie campaign on the bench, 2013/14 became his breakout season and the 20-year-old did not disappoint.
As Phillip Cocu's first choice on the left wing for PSV Eindhoven, he clocked up 32 appearances and registered 12 goals and eight assists last term.
Depay has represented the Netherlands at every youth level and, less than a year after receiving his first senior call-up from head coach Louis van Gaal, Depay made the cut for the Oranje's final 23 for Brazil.
In Group A with Spain, Chile and Australia, Depay stands a good chance of progressing beyond the group stages this summer and showing the World what he's capable of.
He has already attracted interest from Manchester United, according to talkSPORT.
Marcos Rojo, Argentina
Market value: €5.5 million
Those who have seen Marcos Rojo play for Sporting Lisbon and Argentina already know that the 24-year-old is something special.
A centre-half when playing in the Primeira Liga, he is deployed as a left-back with Alejandro Sabella's Albiceleste—with whom he has 20 caps to date.
The former Spartak Moscow player is already on the wish list of a number of top-level clubs across Europe. As reported by Jamie Anderson in the Express, Rojo is being pursued by Liverpool, Arsenal, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.
Antonio Candreva, Italy
Market value: €16.5 million
Antonio Candreva's 12 goals and nine Serie A assists for Lazio this season have not only alerted a host of clubs across Europe, they have also earned him a place in Italy's final 23 for the World Cup.
On the back of six Serie A goals in 2012/13, last season was Candreva's most prolific campaign yet—his move from Udinese to Lazio in 2012 playing a huge factor in his recall to the Italian national squad.
Hard working, technically gifted, versatile in midfield and an excellent penalty taker, Candreva is heading into the 2014 tournament in fine form. He could well have a crucial part to play for the Azzurri, as they aim to progress beyond Group D.
Already being linked with a move to Juventus, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain, an impressive World Cup could seal a deal to go elsewhere, despite club owner Claudio Lotito's claims that he's staying put, as seen in Corriere dello Sport (h/t Skysports.com).
With a current contract that does not expire until 2018, Candreva would not come cheap.
Aleksandr Kokorin, Russia
Market value: €18 million
Aleksandr Kokorin is poised to explode onto the international scene.
The 23-year-old striker already has one big-money move under his belt, when he swapped Dynamo Moscow for Anzhi Makhachkala in July 2013. His time at Suleyman Kerimov's side lasted only a month, until he was traded back to Dynamo, after budget cuts forced the club to sell off all their best players.
Anzhi's loss was Dynamo's gain, as Kokorin notched 10 goals and nine assists over the course of 22 games.
In 2012/13, he started seven of Russia's eight World Cup qualifiers, scoring four goals and bagging one assist.
Look out for the young Russian in Group H this summer, he's one to watch.
Ivan Rakitic, Croatia
Market value: €20 million
Ivan Rakitic has already impressed a number of clubs this season, with his 12 goals and 12 assists in La Liga and a further three of each registered during Sevilla's journey to lifting the Europa League trophy.
In the Europa League Final, the Croatian stood out as one of the best players on the pitch, as he did when Sevilla met Real Madrid in the league on March 26, with Rakitic largely running the show.
The amount of speculation surrounding the 26-year-old is huge, buoyed by the fact that his current contract at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan is set to expire in June 2015.
As reported by Rik Sharma in the Daily Mail this week (from an article appearing originally in Croatian newspaper Jutarnji), Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona are all said to be interested in signing the former Schalke and FC Basel player.
Set to feature in a Croatia midfield that will also boast Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan) and Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), it promises to be a very strong World Cup for Rakitic.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland
Market value: €20 million
Easily one of the biggest names on Ottmar Hitzfeld's team sheet, Xherdan Shaqiri will be out to impress at the World Cup.
One of the most highly rated young wingers in Europe, Shaqiri has spent much of the season on the Bayern Munich bench. Used mainly as a substitute, he played just two 90-minute games during the 2013/14 Bundesliga campaign.
Considering who he's up against for a starting berth, it's easier to understand why the Swiss international is not an automatic first choice for Pep Guardiola. However, at 22, the offer of regular first-team football may be enough to tempt him away from the Allianz Arena. He'll be determined to turn heads in Brazil.
Shaqiri recently told 20 Minuten (h/t Skysports.com):
It's clear that I cannot continue like this. If nothing changes, I will have to make some changes myself. I want to play in the important games as well and not just in the Bundesliga. I don't want to go through another year like this.
I only want to play for a major club. The Champions League is important to me. We will see what happens. England would be an option. If I were to leave Bayern, it will be for a foreign club. But it will have to be a club challenging for the title.
Juan Cuadrado, Colombia
Market value: €24 million
On the opposite wing to Juan Cuadrado for Jose Pekerman's Colombia is James Rodriguez—he of last summer's €45 million switch from Porto to Monaco.
This year, it looks like it will be Cuadrado's turn to earn a big-money move.
It appears that the 26-year-old has already been attracting attention from a number of clubs, with Juventus, Barcelona and Arsenal all said to be interested, per talkSPORT.
Much sought-after and highly rated, Cuadrado scored 15 goals and bagged 11 assists (in all competitions) for Fiorentina during the 2013/14 season.
With lightning speed and a good eye for goal, expect the former Udinese and Lecce man to be in demand throughout the summer months.
Antoine Griezmann, France
Market value: €25 million
Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann is already a player in demand. As Steve Stammers reported in the Mirror in April, the 23-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool.
His performances in La Liga over the last season have earned him rave reviews, with Griezmann managing to put away 20 goals (in all competitions) for Jagoba Arrasate's team.
Responding to questions about his future, Griezmann recently told L'Equipe (h/t Skysports.com):
I don't really think about it - I have agents to manage that. They haven't told me anything so far. I am ambitious and if I left it would only be for a very big European club.
If PSG showed an interest I would talk with my officials and agents.
PSG is a great club that is achieving something nice. I don't favour any team - but PSG is a destination that attracts a lot of players.
An impressive World Cup showing will be certain to seal a move away from the Anoeta Stadium for Griezmann this summer.