Former Chelsea target an ex Manchester United speculated transfer amongst the teenage wonderkids looking to impress in Brazil next summer.
The World Cup gives us all the chance to witness the world's greatest players, but there will be a handful of teenagers looking to make a name for themselves amidst all the focus on the established stars. Here are five who could be the talk of the tournament next year.
Mateo Kovacic, Croatia
The 19-year-old already has six caps for Croatia, and has established himself as a key part of the Internazionale team since his move in January. His £12.5m deadline day switch from Dinamo Zagreb saw him disappoint other suitors such as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea. Whilst Croatia will now face Iceland in the playoffs, Niko Kovac's side will be firm favourites to qualify for the finals. Despite Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ognjen Vukojevic almost certainly making the squad, Kovacic's ability to play a number of roles in the heart of midfield should make him valuable.
Having impressed in his one season at Roma, Marquinhos became the fifth most expensive defender in the world, clinching a £27m move to Paris Saint-Germain this summer. He's continued to enhance his reputation with three goals already for the French side, which is even more impressive when you consider that he's a centre back. Yet to be capped by Brazil, the 19-year-old has hinted that he could choose to play for Portugal, but if he keeps up his form, he will be pushing for a place in the squad alongside Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Dante in the defence.
Memphis Depay, Holland
With the PSV Eindhoven winger eligible for Ghana, Holland gave Depay his first cap in the 89th minute of a recent qualifier, guaranteeing his availability in the future. A pacey, skillful and direct winger, Depay has already scored five goals in 15 appearances for PSV this season, and his impressive displays have attracted the interest of Newcastle United in recent times, but a breakthrough tournament could trigger bigger clubs into watching him.
Originally from Guinea-Bissau, former Sporting Lisbon winger Bruma was long speculated to be heading to Stamford Bridge with Chelsea after a contract dispute, but finally ended the saga with a £8.5m move to Galatasaray. Possessing incredible speed and dribbling ability, Bruma looks to be yet another talented Portuguese winger, and could be the unpredictable difference maker – should Portugal see off Sweden in the playoffs.
Zakaria Bakkali, Belgium
A reported target of Manchester City and Manchester United, 17 year old Bakkali has been brought into the PSV Eindhoven setup this season, and has repaid Phillip Cocu's faith with three goals in just five Eredivisie games. Despite considering overtures from Morocco, Bakkali has now formally declared that he will represent Belgium, adding even more talent to a promising squad. Whilst he is unlikely be a key player for Marc Wilmots' side, flashes of brilliance could lead to a move to the Premier League.
image: © Tai Gray