FourFourTwo identify five men who could be plying their trade elsewhere after a successful showing in Russia.
Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)
Alan Dzagoev was the man handed creative responsibilities at No.10 for the start of Russia’s World Cup, but he suffered injury in the first half of their opening game against Saudi Arabia.
As a result, Golovin shifted inside from the left flank – and gratefully grabbed his opportunity. The CSKA Moscow schemer has pulled strings between the lines, and scored a wonderful free-kick in second-half stoppage time during the opening game.
He was also excellent in the 3-1 victory over Egypt, and Russia sorely missed his invention in the 3-0 loss to Uruguay on Monday. Juventus appear to be leading the race for the talented 22-year-old, but Arsenal and Manchester United are also reportedly considering a move.
Juan Fernando Quintero (Colombia)
Quintero lost his way a little after the last World Cup in Brazil, making just 20 league appearances for Porto in 2014/15 before being shipped off on loan to Rennes, Independiente Medellin and River Plate. But if the playmaker’s performances so far this summer are anything to go by, he looks ready to test himself in Europe again.
Quintero scored a wonderfully inventive free-kick in the 2-1 loss to Japan, squeezing the ball under the wall and past goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima at his near post. The 25-year-old was even better in the 3-0 triumph over Poland, catching the eye with an array of neat touches and pinpoint passes – including a fine assist for Radamel Falcao’s first World Cup goal. On this form, Arsenal could renew their long-standing interest.
Ante Rebic (Croatia)
A horrible gaffe from Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero helped Croatia open the scoring in their 3-0 win against Argentina, but Rebic demonstrated superb technique to capitalise on the error with a brilliant volley.
The 24-year-old winger was a threat throughout the game, with his speed and direct running causing problems in behind left-wing-back Marcos Acuna, and he also impressed in the 2-0 defeat of Nigeria.
Along with fellow wide man Ivan Perisic, Rebic adds a different dimension to a Croatia attack which had previously been based around the passing and creativity of their gifted midfield trio. Tottenham and Everton are supposedly among the Premier League clubs who have taken note of the Eintracht Frankfurt man’s showings in Russia.
M’Baye Niang (Senegal)
Niang has endured a few mixed years since making his Milan debut in 2012; the Senegal forward has been loaned out four times by the Rossoneri since, including a brief and uneventful spell at Watford in 2017.
But the 23-year-old has provided a reminder of his qualities in Group G, leading the line superbly for Aliou Cisse’s side.
Niang has shone in both one and two-striker systems so far this summer, and although he didn’t get on the scoresheet in either of Senegal’s first two games, he excelled with his touch, hold-up play and speed. Everton and Arsenal were both linked before the tournament and may now have been persuaded to make formal offers.
Hirving Lozano (Mexico)
Lozano’s winner against reigning world champions Germany will go down as one of the most famous in the history of the Mexican national team. It was a typical goal from the PSV forward, who made a dangerous run behind the opposition backline before cutting inside to fire a shot home with his favoured right foot.
Lozano then turned provider against South Korea, carrying the ball from inside his own half before teeing up Javier Hernandez for the West Ham striker’s 50th Mexico goal.
The 22-year-old is hitherto living up to predictions that he could be the 2018 World Cup’s breakout star, and it looks like Liverpool and Manchester United are set to battle it out with Barcelona for his signature.