The 2022 World Cup is over and we are already returning to the regular season with European clubs. At the same time, the winter transfer window is approaching and will officially start at the beginning of January, although some clubs are already working on buying and selling players. Usually the winter transfer window is slower compared to the summer frenzy, but the first World Cup in November and December is very likely to affect the transfer business as well. More players have been revealed with the World Cup, and clubs are fast moving to sign players who performed particularly well in the past month, trying to anticipate what others will be able to jump into in the race. Let’s take a look at some of the names to watch ahead of the January window with five hot names:
Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea
Chelsea’s winger was one of the best players of the 2022 World Cup. Morocco became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament, with Ziyech scoring one goal and assisting in all seven games played. The question now is about his future at Chelsea. During the summer, he was close to leaving the club with many European teams wanting to hire him, but in the end, the player didn’t. Things could change in January, given that he has only played nine games for his club so far and nothing has changed despite the arrival of new coach Graham Potter.
Cody Gakpo at PSV
One of the most amazing goalscorers of the 2022 World Cup. Dutch forward Cody Gakpo showed he is ready to take the next step by scoring three goals in five games. PSV kept him in the summer despite interest from several clubs, including Manchester United, who eventually decided to sign former Ajax winger Antony. Gakpo’s value has now increased and anyone who wants it will have to pay more than the 50 million Euros PSV is asking for in the summer. Manchester United and other European clubs are interested in him and will try to sign him in 2023.
Sofia Amrabat, Fiorentina
Another big surprise of the tournament is the players playing for Morocco. Fiorentina’s midfielder was one of the best players in the entire World Cup. Sofyan Amrabat has made 20 appearances for Fiorentina this season and is a regular starter, but it’s fair to say that his impact at the World Cup was also a surprise to those who watch him play in Italy every weekend. The way he plays, especially against Spain and Portugal, has shown him to be a midfielder who can bring quality to many European clubs looking for this type of midfielder. Fiorentina’s American owner, Rocco Commisso, will not be an easy person to deal with in 2023 as he paid over 20 million euros to buy the player from Hellas Verona in January 2020.
Marcus Thuram, Borussia Monchengladbach
World Cup finalist Marcus Thuram will definitely be a player to watch in the January transfer window as his current contract expires in the summer. The winter transfer window will be Borussia Mönchengladbach’s last chance not to lose him for free in the summer, and many European clubs have shown interest in him. Italian side Inter Milan were very close to signing him in the summer of 2021 and will reportedly be interested again this winter, among other clubs. Thuram, one of the most interesting talents in European football, also appeared in five matches and provided two assists in the 2022 World Cup.
Joao Felix, Atlético Madrid
This will probably be the most interesting deal of the winter transfer window. Portuguese striker Joao Felix will be looking for a new club in the coming weeks after his relationship with Atletico de Madrid coach Diego Simeone has deteriorated particularly in recent months. According to CBS Sports football expert Fabrizio Romano, Felix is ”ready to leave Atlético de Madrid. He is open to a new experience and therefore there are tangible chances to make a move in January.”
His manager, Jorge Mendes, is currently working to find himself a new club, but he also has to deal with the demands of the Spanish club, considering he made €126m from Benfica in the summer of 2019. This will definitely be a name to watch for next month.