Current Bayern Munich midfielder James Rodriguez is the perfect example: a major team, in this case Real Madrid, signs a player based on his performance at a World Cup — namely, World Cup 2014. Fast-forward to World Cup 2018 and perhaps another superstar is born.
What follows below is a list, organized by group, of some of the players that Bayern will be watching in Russia to see if they are worthy of a potential transfer. Some of the names on this list may be more recognizable than others. This list is also just that: a list. It does not take into account Bayern’s current roster; rather, it aims to showcase certain players that Bayern may like — and perhaps you will too!
Aleksandr Golovin - Recent rumors claim that the 22-year-old midfielder from CSKA Moscow has been scouted by Manchester United. Golovin has also been linked to Arsenal, Chelsea, and Juventus. He was the the youngest player on the Russian team at Euro 2016 and his place looks secure in the starting eleven for the World Cup on his home soil.
Rodrigo Bentancur - Bentancur has recently been dubbed the “Uruguayan Pogba.” Juventus has secured the Uruguayan’s right of first refusal from Boca Juniors as part of the Carlos Teves deal. It may be difficult to pry away the 20-year-old midfielder, since Real Madrid has also shown interest.
Lucas Torreira - The 22 year-old Sampdoria midfielder is expected to start for Uruguay at the upcoming World Cup and has a very affordable €25 million release clause. Arsenal are already deep into negotiations with Torreira.
Rúben Dias - The Portuguese center-back may not get many minutes at the World Cup, since several veterans, including Pepe, play at his position. The opposing view, however, is that Dias would bring some much needed speed to the central defense, and it would be wise to start him over several of the other aging stars. The Benfica player, who recently turned 21, has been loosely linked with Arsenal, Liverpool, and Monaco.
André Silva - AC Milan bought Silva from Porto just last year for €38 million, but the striker was somewhat of a disappointment. Milan may be looking to move on from the 22-year-old. He was thought of very highly before last season and may see his stock rise if he scores a few goals at the World Cup.
Álvaro Odriozola - Somewhat of a surprise selection to the Spain squad, Odriozola edged out Arsenal right back Hector Bellerin. The 22-year-old Real Sociedad man had a splendid season, and although he currently sits behind Danny Carvajal on the depth chart, he still warrants attention.
Amine Harit - Aged only 20, the attacking midfielder in well known to Bayern fans as he plies his trade at Bundesliga side Schalke. What you may not know is that Harit won the U-19 European Championship with France before switching his allegiance to Morocco, since his parents were both born in Casablanca.
Benjamin Pavard - France international defender Pavard (age 22) started all 34 Bundesliga games for Stuttgart last season. His price tag will be steep but not too much for Bayern. Bayern has indeed been linked with Pavard, but nothing concrete has emerged yet.
Kasper Dolberg - The striker had an injury plagued 2017-18 season but is still only 20 years old. The lanky Dane oozes potential and, as Ajax is known as a selling club, if the price is right, a bigger club may swoop in.
Cristian Pavón - It is only a matter of time before the 22-year-old Boca Juniors attacker makes his way to Europe. Previously linked as a possible replacement for Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal, Pavón (who reportedly has a €37 million release clause) will find it tough cracking a star-studded Argentina attacking group, but if he gets on the field keep an eye out for him.
Ante Rebic - New Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac knows all about Rebic (aged 24) from his time at Eintracht Frankfurt and the Croatian national team. Bayern fans know him well too after his two goal performance in DFB Pokal Cup Final. This transfer is a real possibility.
Marko Pjaca - The Croatian is owned by Juventus and was loaned to Schalke for the second half of last season. He has loads of talent, as well as some injury history. He has found himself on the bench behind quality players, but make no mistake: Pjaca can play. Still only 23, perhaps he needs only to make the right move.
Francis Uzoho - The least known player on this list, Uzoho played primarily in Spain’s Segunda B last season, but the goalkeeper made a couple of surprise starts for La Liga’s Deportivo La Coruna. Since the pecking order of Nigeria’s keepers is far from set, the 19 year old may get a chance to shine.
Denis Zakaria - Another Bundesliga player, Zakaria had an impressive first season with Borussia Mönchengladbach. The central midfielder has an impressive engine and, at only 21 years old, is developing into an excellent player.
Andrija Zivkovic - He played more of a central attacking role this season at Benfica as opposed to previous years at winger. Although only 21 years old, he seems to have been around forever. Finally finding his game, Zivkovic is another player that needs to find his niche, and a bigger club may come calling soon.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic - The 23 year-old Lazio midfielder looks as if he’s already priced himself out of a Bayern move with Real Madrid and Manchester United circling. Nonetheless, he will be fun to watch and key to Serbia’s success at the tournament.
Luca Jovic - Another of Niko Kovac’s former players at Eintracht Frankfurt, although the Serbian is owned by Benfica. The 20-year-old attacker played well in the Bundesliga last season and is growing into his game. Follow this one closely.
Timo Werner - The most obvious player on this list, Werner is the best young German striker there is. Period. In case you forgot, he plays for RB Leipzig and is 22 years old.
Hirving Lozano - “Chucky” had a breakout season at PSV Eindhoven after coming over from Pachuca. The 22 year old is Mexico’s best young attacker and may have outgrown the Eredivisie, although one more year in Holland may be wise.
Victor Lindelöf - It didn’t go according to plan for the 23-year-old Swede last season at Manchester United. Minutes were hard to come by and his play was harshly critiqued. Will it be one-and-done with the Red Devil’s? If United can recoup the €31.5 million transfer fee they paid for him, you can count on it.
Hwang Hee-chan - The 22 year-old striker may get a big-money transfer from Red Bull Salzburg if he performs well at the World Cup. Rumor has it that he’s being scouted by Tottenham and Liverpool.
Koen Casteels - Standing at 6’5” the Belgian won’t see the field during the World Cup barring injury to the other keepers on the squad yet still had a tremendous season at Wolfsburg. At 25 years-old he should be entering a long prime of his career.
Youri Tielemans - The 21 year old is the youngest member of the golden generation of Belgian players at the World Cup. Already on the radar of Manchester City, Tielemans signed with Monaco before last season. He may not get big minutes at the tournament in a stacked group of midfielders, but at some point in the near future expect Tielemans to move to a bigger club.
Michy Batshuayi - Back at Chelsea after a brief but productive loan spell at Dortmund, the future is up in the air for Michy, aged 24. His situation at Chelsea is murky at best, and if the right bid comes in the Belgian could be on the move again, this time permanently. Bayern seems to enjoy beating their Bundesliga rivals to the punch for players, and you can expect the unexpected with Batshuayi.
Piotr Zielinski - Poland’s playmaker has been tipped by his former Napoli coach, Maurizio Sarri, as “the next Kevin De Bruyne.” Poland is expected to do well in the tournament with Zielinski, aged 24, helping to lead the charge with Bayern’s own Robert Lewandowski. That could lead major clubs to consider signing him. Regardless, expect a transfer fee of at least €50 million.
Arkadiusz Milik - Another 24 year-old Pole who plays for Napoli, Milik has had his share of injuries and had an underwhelming 2017/18 season, but don’t count him out. He should form a dangerous strike tandem with Lewandowski in Russia.
Ismaila Sarr - The Senegalese winger has previously turned down a move to Barcelona so that he could get more playing time, signing with Rennes instead. Senegal has a plethora of attacking options, including what appears to be guaranteed minutes for Sadio Mane. Getting on the field may be difficult for the 20 year old, but watch out if it happens.
Yerry Mina - The 23-year-old center-back plays for Barcelona but faces an uphill battle for playing time. He’s still a little raw but has plenty of size. Don’t be surprised if Mina’s not at Barcelona for long.
Do you have any players that Bayern may be interested in acquiring that are playing at the World Cup that I may have missed? Who are they, and why might Bayern come calling? I didn’t cover everyone on my list by far— in fact, I had to cut it short by about 40 players! There are many more exciting players at the World Cup to talk about.
Let us know!