The group stages of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 has just concluded and the Round of 16 ties are set to commence on January 20 in the United Arab Emirates.
This Asian Cup has given scouts of various clubs an opportunity to assess some of the best players in Asia. And it wouldn’t be surprising if some European clubs are linked with a few players who took part in the tournament in the coming days.
Here, we take a look at five players who could have impressed them with their showing in the group stages.
5) Sandesh Jhingan – India
Indian football has come a long way in the last decade and one of the reasons for their rise is a strong defence. And Sandesh Jhingan is the leader in that Indian backline.
The 25-year-old currently plies his trade for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League. India might have been eliminated but he was among the positives for the Blue Tigers and has reportedly already attracted interest from Qatar Stars League (QSL) club Al-Gharafa SC.
4) Almoez Ali – Qatar
AFC Asian Cup 2019: KSA 0-1 QAT (Almoez Ali 45+1′)
Almoez Ali has already made himself the prime contender for the best player and top scorer awards at the AFC Asian Cup 2019. Qatar ended their group phase by defeating rivals Saudi Arabia 2-0 to top the group and the Maroons are yet to conceded a goal in the tournament.
They also have scored a 10 times of which seven have come from the boots of 22-year-old Almoez. He also has an assist to his name. “Almoez Ali is an excellent player who can play abroad. I have to be honest, this [QSL] is not the league he can develop in,” said none other than Jose Mourinho after watching the Qatari starlet’s performance against the Green Falcons.
3) Mohanad Ali – Iraq
Another youngster who has impressed in this Asian Cup is Mohanad Ali of Iraq. The forward is the youngest player in the tournament and plays for Al-Shorta in the Iraqi Premier League. He has scored twice for his nation in three group matches so far.
Iraq play Qatar in the Round of 16 and Mohanad will once again shoulder the expectations of his nation. And he has already been linked with a loan move to Scottish Premiership side Rangers FC while several other Asian clubs are also in the hunt for his signature.
2) Mehdi Taremi – Iran
AFC Asian Cup Player of Day 3: Mehdi Taremi
The Al-Gharafa star has also been very good for Iran in the ongoing tournament. He scored twice and assisted once in three games to help Team Melli qualify for the second round of the continental championship.
Being only 26 years of age, Taremi could actually be of interest for several European clubs. It could be time for him to follow on the footsteps of his teammates like Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Saman Ghoddos to one of Europe’s top leagues.
1) Chanathip Songkrasin – Thailand
AFC Asian Cup 2019 Player of Day 6: CHANATHIP SONGKRASIN
Chanathip Songkrasin has starred for the Thailand national team and helped them recover from the chaos that ensured from a 4-1 defeat to India in their opening match. He was in scintillating form for his club side Consadole Sapporo in the J.League and will return to Japan for another season after the Asian Cup.
However with one goal from three games and excellent displays against some of the top teams in Asia would do no harm to Messi Jay’s chances of making it to one of Europe’s football leagues in the years to come.