The World Cup is an incredible footballing spectacle, the eyes of the entire world will be on the competition and it’s the perfect opportunity for some young talent to emerge by showing their quality on the biggest footballing stage. Here’s a quick look at some of the best young talent that haven’t quite made their name on the world stage just yet and could earn some big money moves during the transfer window.
Josip Drmic – Switzerland
Having already earned his summer move, with Bayer Leverkusen signing him from Nuremburg for just €6m, Drmic can focus solely on leading the line for Switzerland in Group E. He has been in fantastic form, scoring 17 goals in the Bundesliga despite playing in a team that seemed destined for relegation all season long.
He’s a very clever player, loving to play on the edge of defenders and giving them the run-around throughout the game. Then when he’s in behind, he’s a clinical finisher and his cutting edge will be key to any success for the Swiss in Brazil. Leverkusen have already got a bargain and many other club may rue not going in early for him should he fire on all cylinders in the World Cup.
Vincent Aboubakar – Cameroon
The opponents of Cameroon this summer may focus on their ageing hero Samuel Eto’o but if they have done their research, it’s Vincent Aboubakar they should be worried about. The Lorient striker has had a fantastic season in France, finishing on a 16-goal tally only beaten by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
He’s another little menace, playing on the shoulder of the centre-back and possessing both pace and power to his advantage. When he’s through, he rarely misses and someone like that could be valuable to Cameroon in a difficult group where they could spring a surprise. If teams think about Eto’o too much, Aboubakar might become their worst nightmare.
Serge Aurier – Ivory Coast
The Ivorian right-back could get a big move to a big European club this summer and he’ll show exactly why he should during the World Cup. He’s been voted into numerous Ligue 1 Team of the Year’s as he’s been sensational for Toulouse and has shown on numerous occasions that he’s ready for the step-up.
An incredibly mature 21-year-old who has even captained his club on occasion this season, he has the ability both as a modern attacking full-back and is much more accomplished defensively than other world class players. A move to Arsenal makes a lot of sense, he’s similar to Bacary Sagna with even possibly a higher ceiling but should they miss out, another team will be getting an impressive young defender.
Son Heung-Min – South Korea
Hamburg which earned a move to Bayer Leverkusen he’s now settled into his role at his new club and will look to fire South Korea into the knockout stages. Able to play out wide as an inside forward and as a lone striker, Son’s versatility along the front line will give the Koreans plenty of options to move players around the 20-year-old.
His speed combined with his quick feet gives defenders headaches, especially as he tends to play very direct and dribble past players. He also has a wonderful right foot that can strike from anywhere and he’ll regularly cut in from the left to unleash a venomous strike. South Korea will need him to play at his best should they want to advance through a tight Group C but many will feel he has the ability to produce the goods for the team.
Mateo Kovacic – Croatia
Despite the fact that Inter managers can’t quite work out where to play him, Mateo Kovacic will be part of an exciting Croatian midfield of himself, Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. That’s excellent company and it’ll only help improve the 20-year-old who could be the most versatile of them all.
Able to play as a central midfielder, attacking midfielder, out wide or in a deeper creative role, Kovacic will likely be moving with the other two who are both in incredible form. His dribbling ability can be a wonder to behold and he may be used in addition to Rakitic to drive the team forward as Modric sits in a creative role. He might not be quite as key as others to his team but he certainly has the talent to change the game and should he add to the other already world class players around him, Croatia could be an incredibly dangerous team to face in Brazil.
William Carvalho – Portugal
The Angola-born Portuguese international has attracted a lot of attention over the last season and for good reason, he’s a talented defensive midfielder at a time where there seems to be less of them around. A regular in a resurgent Sporting Lisbon squad who despite their financial constraints finished in second above Porto, Carvalho was a key player who impressed enough to earn a place not only in the countries squad but in the first eleven.
Tall, strong and with a bit of pace, he uses his positional awareness to be in the right place at the right time to break down attacks and has the awareness and composure to start a counter for his team. He’s a real asset to this Portuguese side, giving players like Joao Moutinho more room to create while he does the dirty work, he should be looking at a big move after the tournament.
Jordy Clasie – The Netherlands
Now more likely to be given more time on the pitch with Rafael van der Vaart injured, Jordy Clasie is one of an assortment of young, dutch talent coming through the ranks. He’s had an excellent season for Feeyenoord, who were unlucky to be beaten to the Eredivisie title by Ajax, and now he looks to help an unfancied Holland side go far in the World Cup.
Whilst diminutive in size at just 5”6, he’s a feisty player that can run for hours on end in an attempt either to win the ball back or to get his team playing at the other end. He’s also very creative, adding to players like Wesley Snejder and Arjen Robben so the Dutch may spring a surprise or two, as could Clasie if given the chance by Louis van Gaal.
Ricardo Rodriguez – Switzerland
Possibly one of the most accomplished young full-backs in world football, it’s a little odd a move hasn’t already happened for Ricardo Rodriguez. He’s been a massive part of what was a much improved season for Wolfsburg and he could yet be convinced to stay, they’ve become much more ambitious and with a few more additions could be a real threat in Europe.
He excels going back and forwards, has a wicked left foot that serves him well to the point that he’s become somewhat of a set-piece specialist. He also takes penalties which is an odd asset for a left-back to have but certainly a welcome one, he will be very important to Switzerland’s chances of going far this year. Should he impress the big teams may start circling around Wolfsburg but they will want to hold strong, they know just how good this 21-year-old is already and feel they might have a superstar in years to come.