Footballers don’t have a better shop window in which to parade their talents than the World Cup and Qatar 2022 has been no exception.
Some outstanding prospects have caught the eye of Premier League superpowers and other top clubs while others may have diminished their chances of a dream move with under-par performances.
sportsmail looks at those who passed the audition – and others who blew it.
MOHAMMED KUDUS (GHANA)
The 22-year-old forward was discovered in a Ghana academy and gained experience in the Danish League before moving to current club Ajax.
His dynamism and skill marked him out in Qatar and his two goals against South Korea took Ghana close to qualifying from a difficult group.
Kudus could try and force a move in January with Ajax out of the Champions League and Newcastle, Liverpool and Everton are all among a host of admirers.
Ghana’s Mohammed Kudus saw his stock rise at the World Cup ahead of the January window
MOISES CAICEDO (ECUADOR)
Brighton accept they have to sell their best players from time to time and Caicedo is the next cab on the rank after some towering displays in central midfield for his country.
The asking price of £60million is unlikely to put off Newcastle United and West Ham also view him as a long-term replacement for Declan Rice.
Caicedo’s athleticism and ability to win the ball is well known and at 21 he’s going to get better. He’s already becoming more of a goal threat and scored against Senegal in the final group game.
Moises Caicedo (left) celebrates scoring for Ecuador against Senegal during the group stages
JUDE BELLINGHAM (ENGLAND)
Only the elite need apply for the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder who can stop goals, create goals and score goals, reminiscent of past greats Bryan Robson and Steven Gerrard.
He scored England’s first goal of the finals with a fine header against Iran while his man-of-the-match performance against Senegal was one of the great individual stand-outs of the whole tournament.
Premier League clubs might have to break Jack Grealish’s £100m transfer record to get him but Liverpool will be in the running particularly given his burgeoning partnership with Jordan Henderson.
It’ll be Bellingham’s choice though, every top club will want him from Real Madrid downwards.
Jude Bellingham will have the pick of Europe’s leading clubs after an exceptional World Cup
JOSKO GVARDIOL (CROATIA)
Already being hailed as the best centre-back in the world at the age of 20, Gvardiol was a major reason in Croatia exceeding expectations in the Qatar with an aging squad.
Chelsea hope their chances of landing the £80million defender will be boosted if they get Christopher Vivell as part of their recruitment team. Vivell was previously technical director of RB Leipzig, Gvardiol’s current team.
The youngster has looked a real leader for his country, defending aggressively and reading the game far beyond his years. A wise head on young shoulders.
Josko Gvardiol has been Croatia’s masked raider on their impressive run at the World Cup
SOFYAN AMRABAT (MOROCCO)
Morocco were the stand-out surprises of the World Cup and their run of clean sheets against big nations Belgium, Spain and Portugal was in no small part due to the work of 26-year-old Amrabat in midfield.
At 26, he is in the peak years of his career and Fiorentina will have a tough job of holding onto him. Tottenham have been long-time fans and Liverpool also need reinforcements in that area of the pitch but big teams on the continent like PSG will provide stiff competition.
He is essential for team balance and a great runner. I see him as the Gattuso of Morocco,” says legendary manager Fabio Capello.
Sofyan Amrabat (No 4) was exceptional during Morocco’s outstanding tournament
HARRY SOUTTAR (AUSTRALIA).)
Souttar’s club Stoke City missed him for a year because of a cruciate injury picked up on international duty but the Championship side might now gain a handsome windfall after the defender’s immense performances in the World Cup.
Australia’s qualification for the knockout stages at the expense of Denmark was in no small measure due to the 6ft 6ins Souttar who made light of any potential rustiness by seeming to win every tackle and header.
Premier League clubs will be on alert, particularly Tottenham and Everton who were interested before his long-term injury in 2021.
Radio pundit Pat Nevin summed up Souttar’s World Cup performances best: ‘You’ve got to absolutely love him. It seems he’s got a magnet in his head and has been a one-man defense for Australia at times.’
‘Magnet head’ Harry Souttar enhanced his reputation with his performances for Australia
DENZEL DUMFRIES (NETHERLANDS)
Already at a giant club in Inter Milan, his performances as a right wing-back would be of interest to any Premier League club interested in using a three-man defense in future.
Denzel Dumfries celebrates his goal for Holland against the United States in the round of 16
Jamal Musiala (Germany)
The only bright spot in a dreadful German campaign.
His willingness to dribble and take players on was refreshing and while Bayern rarely let young stars go, there wouldn’t be a shortage of takers if Musiala decided he wanted to return to England where he grew up.
Jamal Musiala (left) was one of the few German players to improve his reputation here
ISMAIL SARR (SENEGAL)
Crystal Palace have coveted him as the successor to Wilfried Zaha but neither they nor any other Premier League clubs have wanted to meet Watford’s asking price of £45million.
The World Cup may change that. At 24, Sarr stepped out of the shadows of Sadio Mane and added maturity to his undoubted talent.
Ismaila Sarr of Watford impressed during Senegal’s run to the last-16 of the World Cup
CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL)
As the most famous free agent in football history, Ronaldo did little to convince big European clubs that he is worth a gamble at the age of 37.
Ronaldo made history by scoring in his fifth World Cup finals with a penalty against Ghana but failed to find the net there after and lost his place in the Portugal team.
Having split with Manchester United, Ronaldo has offers from places like Saudi Arabia but chances of extending his Champions League career reduced with every tear he shed after the shock defeat against Morocco
Cristiano Ronaldo left the World Cup stage in tears after Portugal’s shock defeat to Morocco
MATTHIJS DE LIGT (NETHERLANDS)
Most coveted of the young Ajax team that reached the Champions League semi-final, De Ligt’s career hasn’t kicked on at Juventus and Bayern Munich and he was rarely used by Louis van Gaal at the World Cup.
Chelsea saw him as a potential replacement for Antonio Rudiger at one point but they may be pleased they missed out with Gvardiol now looking more of a long-term solution.
Matthijs de Ligt is beaten to the ball by Senegal’s Ismail Jakobs during their group fixture
YOUR TIELEMANS (BELGIUM)
In the last year of his contract at Leicester, Tielemans must have hoped a great World Cup would have opened up an auction for his services.
It didn’t work out like that with Belgium exiting early and the midfield personally disappointing too.
He was hooked at half-time of the opening game against Canada and had to accept late substitute appearances for the remaining matches against Morocco and Croatia.
Belgium crashed out after the group stage and Youri Tielemans didn’t improve his reputation
AARON RAMSEY (WALES)
At 31, Ramsey shouldn’t be seen as a has-been in terms of age but he failed to make any impact on the Welsh team who collected only one point from their three group games.
It’s not so long ago that Arsenal fans were angry with their club not securing the midfielder on a new contract but since then Ramsey has done little at Juventus, Rangers or Nice to suggest he can come back to the Premier League.
It was significant that when goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off in the key game against Iran, Ramsey was the player sacrificed for reserve No. 1 Danny Ward.
Aaron Ramsey doesn’t look too likely to return to the Premier League after a poor tournament
MATTEO GUENDOUZI (FRANCE)
Former Arsenal midfielder was savagely criticized by L’Equipe when given his chance in France’s final group game against Tunisia.
The Marseille player was taken off as Didier Deschamps’ team were beaten 1-0 and the influential newspaper’s cutting assessment was: ‘We don’t know in which area he was the worst, with or without the ball.’
Matteo Guendouzi was given a chance against Tunisia but failed to impress as France lost