Obsessive football fans have a tendency to watch the stuff that happens around football as much as they do the games themselves.
For many of us, this means betting odds like this option, and also transfer gossip and actual transfers, and those of us who take an interest in the transfer market know that there are two times when the rumour mill cranks into gear with a vengeance: after a major tournament, and in the January transfer window.
In these periods, we see some of the best moves, and also some of the most ill-fated. Hello, Stephane Guivarc’h, hello Fernando Torres.
Of course, sometimes these moves come off with a vengeance, like when Luis Suarez moved to Liverpool or when Dan Petrescu followed his World Cup ‘94 performance with a move that brought him to then-Premier League side Sheffield Wednesday. Both of those worked out. And if the players included in this article do get the moves that are deemed likely should they have a good showing in this World Cup, then this first-ever post-World Cup January window might not be the swirling vortex of bad moves that some expect it to be.
Lukas Nmecha (Werder Bremen, Germany)
Nmecha is an old-fashioned centre-forward who came through the ranks at Manchester City, but never really had a hope of breaking into the first team. Their loss was Wolfsburg’s gain, as the perennial Bundesliga strugglers picked Nmecha up for just £8 million. His eight goals in 25 league games last season may sound pretty ordinary, but were essential to his club’s survival, and enough to see him brought into the national setup. He will likely see some playing time in Qatar, as Germany lack a lot of competition in the striker role, and he could attract interest from bigger clubs in need of a target man – there’s always at least one in January.
Jonathan David (Lille, Canada)
Lille aren’t exactly short of quality – and are the only team in France to have deposed PSG as champions in recent years. However, a solid showing for Canada in matches that are broadcast outside of the chilly North American nation may be what it takes for David to be recognised by what we are bound to refer to as the “elite” of European football. He’s been a prolific scorer at any level he’s played at, and it’s safe to assume that should any of Europe’s top clubs open their wallet to get him on board, he’d repay them in goals within no time whatsoever.
Guilherme Arana (Atletico Mineiro, Brazil)
If you’re a risk-averse chairman with a bit of cash to spend, one way to be confident of getting a decent player is to look at the Braziian national squad and seeing who isn’t already playing in Europe. Arana is probably the best answer to that question, especially for any team lacking a top-level left-back.
He’s already played for Atlanta and Sevilla, two of the better sides outside of the very top echelon in Italy and Spain, and he could do a job at most clubs in the big five leagues. This is not a prediction, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see him turn up at moneybags club Newcastle in January.