The World Cup may have fallen during an awkward part of the league calendar, but whether it's held in June/July, November/December, or even Smarch, one thing remains unchanged: the world's greatest tournament remains a breeding ground for transfer rumors. While it remains to be seen which players will actually benefit from the World Cup bounce—the phenomenon in which a scorching run at the World Cup artificially inflates a player's value, perceived or otherwise—there are some early contenders for that potentially ignominious title.
With impressive runs against Brazil and Cameroon in the group stage, Serbian defender Strahinja Pavlović is starting to make waves in the rumor rags. Standing an impressive 6'4" in the air, the 21-year-old center-back is beginning to make a name for himself on the global stage, a development that hasn't gone unnoticed in Trigoria.
According to Tuttosport, Roma has joined the queue for the Red Bull Salzburg defender, who nearly moved to the Giallorossi's chief rivals, Lazio, in 2019. After bouncing around a bit over the past few years (Monaco to Basel to Salzburg), Pavlović has seemingly found a home with the Austrian club, garnering 11 league starts already.
While he's practically useless in the passing game, Pavlović is a monster behind the ball. Compared to other center-backs in Europe's five major leagues, Pavlović ranked in the 95th percentile in tackles completed, 97th percentile in tackles in the defensive third, 89th percentile of dribbles tackled, 99th percentile in shots blocked—you get the picture, this kid scoops up defenders like so many hungry hippos after plastic pellets.
Valued at €20 million by Transfermarkt, Pavlović certainly won't come cheap, but with a defensive profile that strong, he may be worth the investment.