Players eye big pay day
By GARETH WHEELER, QMI Agency
JOHANNESBURG -- Major international tournaments, such as the FIFA World Cup, are the perfect staging grounds for ambitious young players to audition for the big spending, big money teams in the world of club football.
In a busy transfer market, there's quite often no such thing as fiscal responsibility. And many players staked their claims for big money summer transfers to Europe's biggest club sides.
Here are 10 players whose stock has risen considerably in South Africa and could be in line for big money sooner rather than later:
Landon Donovan (striker, United States) It's not a matter of if he will go, it's a matter of when. Donovan will finish his Major League Soccer season and move on to the next chapter of his career. That move could perhaps even come sooner. Whether it will be with Everton or an even bigger side (Manchester City also rumoured) remains to be seen. But his form dictates more than just one team will be after him.
Mesut Ozil (attacking midfielder, Germany) He was dubbed a star-in-the-making coming into the World Cup and leaves the hottest commodity in Europe. The Werder Bremen man is bound for bigger things. With only a year left on his current contract, Arsenal is said to be interested. But fresh rumours are flying that Manchester United will come calling for a 25 million pound offer. It makes sense, considering United's apparent interest in like-player Luca Modric before the World Cup.
Keisuke Honda (striker, Japan) Defender Marcus (Tulio) Tanaka is another that could move on to Europe. Honda is already there but showed the poise, flare and finish all top clubs crave. And it doesn't hurt coming from Japan, a soccer marketing machine. CSKA Moscow will wait and see who will over-pay for its commodity. But Honda is locked up long-term in Russia, having recently signed a 4 1/2-year contract.
Sami Khedira (midfielder, Germany) The unheralded star of the German centre-midfielder does it all. Khedira's contract runs out at Stuttgart next summer, making him a prime target. Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United are said to be admirers. It's said the 23-year-old could fetch up to 12 million pounds.
Asamoah Gyan (striker, Ghana) Missed penalty aside, Gyan was a workhorse for Ghana. Not a true scorer, few work harder up front. And still, his finish to send Ghana past the Americans was a thing of beauty. Gyan is now looking for a lucrative move from his club side Rennes to the Premiership. West Ham is a reported suitor.
Samuel Inkoom (defender, Ghana) Can you believe the talented wingback is only 20? Inkoom plays well beyond his years, extremely composed. Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is a reported fan, having declared his admiration in an Italian interview. And Manchester City has no shortage of funds to tempt FC Basel to sell their prized asset.
Gregory Van der Weil (defender, Netherlands) The Ajax man is what all big clubs look for; a defender with size with prowess going forward. And he has the kind of big club attitude, not lacking confidence. Van der Weil's contract runs out after the 2011-12 season, but that hasn't stopped reportedly Barcelona and Arsenal interest. But Bayern Munich seems to be ahead of the cue, with coach Louis van Gaal having the inside track in negotiations with his old club.
Gervinho (striker, Ivory Coast) It's too bad good old Sven Goran Ericsson didn't give him more of a run after starring in Ivory Coast's first game. Gervinho just joined Lille a year ago but could be on the move if Lille is tempted to cash in on the Ivorian striker. The Brazilian named Ivorian is pacey and strong, the kind of forward that does well in the English Premiership. There has been reports Liverpool and Arsenal interest in the ballpark of 12 million pounds. Bayern Munich could be another possible suitor, having shown interest in the 23 year old in the past.
Fabio Coentrao (winger, Portugal) The best player for Portugal in South Africa, the 22-year old got up and down the line with pace and in control. Manchester City has been linked to Coentrao, with the likes of Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich said to be having interest. Coentrao is in no immediate threat of leaving as he's under contract with Benfica until 2015. Still, his stock has risen considerably.
Alexis Sanchez (striker, Chile) Another talented striker linked to Manchester United. The Udinese player starred for Chile at the World Cup, looking like a player capable playing for a massive club. He is multi-positional, able to play any of the attacking positions and is only 21. A reported 20 million pound price tag Udinese has slapped on him may chase off interest.