This could easily be titled: Who will catch the eye of Big Sam? There is never a World Cup finals that passes without a selection of players who are linked with various clubs. Think of 1994 Golden Boot winner Oleg Salenko joining Rangers after scoring six goals - five in one game against Cameroon - in 1995, Stéphane Guivarc'h heading for Newcastle United in 1998 or Ilie Dumitrescu signing for Spurs in 1994, and you get the general picture. Some of these guys might be good, or they might not. It all depends on how much money they cost, and what they offer in return. But as we know, Premier League clubs, and those with a few extra pennies abroad, are not shy about spending, or wasting, huge sums on blokes who might only be one-month wonders.
Probably tops our warning list. The attacking midfielder Ruiz scored only one goal in 14 games for Fulham prior to Christmas last season. In total, he has made 51 appearances in the Premier League with only eight goals. He is captain of his country, but spent the latter half of the season on loan at PSV Eindhoven. He was a figure signed by Martin Jol three years ago, but not trusted to help the London side in a relegation fight after the Dutch coach was sacked earlier in the season. Fulham ended up losing their bid to stay up. It is doubtful if Ruiz will rejoin them in the Championship. For a man signed for £10.6 million in 2011, he has been desperately disappointing at Craven Cottage, but he is flourishing as his country's captain.
Liverpool fans are apparently licking their lips over this fellow. Has risen to prominence with three outstanding performances from the substitutes bench for Belgium. There is talk that Liverpool will buy him, and loan him back to the French club. But it will cost them several million quid to make him a Liverpool player with other clubs sure to be circling including Tottenham. Touted as a longer term replacement for Rickie Lambert, but promising young talent does not come cheaply when they succeed at the World Cup.
3. Enner Valancia (Pachuca and Ecuador)
This bloke has a bid from Big Sam Allardyce written all him. Can just see him turning out for West Ham United? Why is that? He has scored 18 goals in 23 games for his club in Mexico, and netted three times in three games during the World Cup. Add to that a header against England in a friendly. Someone will surely have a bite. Like big Sam.
4. Georgios Samaras (Free agent and Greece)
Is a free agent after being released by Celtic. Great player on his days, but those days are too infrequent. Tends to play as a wide man rather than a striker. Will probably tempt a few clubs as a free agent, but he may not give value for money even for his wage costs. Which are sure to be lofty after helping Greece reach the last 16 and scoring a penalty in the late win over Ivory Coast.
Scored two sparkling goals against Argentina in a 3-2 loss in the group stage. Only 21, but has turned out for his country 40 times. Valued at £8.5 million, and may be tempted be a move to a move coveted league than Russia.
6. John Brooks (Hertha Berlin and USA)
Scored the winning header against Ghana in a 2-1 victory in the group stage. Will surely have garnered a few admirers for that effort, and the celebration that followed. Aston Villa, Stoke City, Everton, Newcastle and, you guessed it, West Ham are all apparently keen on the rangy central defender. Which could spark a bidding war.
7. Serge Aurier (Toulouse and Ivory Coast)
Couldn't really be blamed for his country's early exit. Contributed some eye-catching performances which included two assists in three matches. A Premier League concern may well be tempted to make a move for a stout full-back.
Manchester United's spending fund is thought to be around £220 million this summer. That should be enough to help Louis van Gaal land the younger Feyenoord defender. Don't expect them to be the only club sniffing around him. Rumours suggest a deal has already been agreed with Porto.
Classic World Cup transfer fodder. Scores a couple of goals, and suddenly is flavour of the month. Or last month when you consider Algeria are already out of this tournament. Derby County have been linked with his signing with his agent claiming he is ready to leave Portugal. Wonder if big Sam has footage of him scoring against South Korea and Russia.
10. Guillermo Ochoa (Free Agent and Mexico)
An outstanding performance at the World Cup from the Mexico goalkeeper. Even better news is that he is a free agent after last turning out for Ajaccio. Surely someone will fancy a slice after that.
- Sports & Recreation
- Premier League
- World Cup finals
- Newcastle United
- Bryan Ruiz