If you listen to some pundits, the 2010 World Cup was a huge disappointment. The level of football was poor, there were few classic games and the final was a major anticlimax – or so they say.

Of course, it is hard to dispute the fact that many of the big names flopped in South Africa, despite all having plenty to prove. No one could have foreseen Diego Forlan walking away with the Golden Ball and very few tipped Thomas Muller to grab the Golden Boot. And there was a real shortage of positive headlines for Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.

However, this simply cleared the way for others to shine and this was one of the most refreshing aspects of a well organised, colourful tournament. Below is a list of the players whose outstanding displays this summer should have raised their stock considerably as Europe’s top clubs seek reinforcements for the upcoming season.

Maarten Stekelenburg (Holland and Ajax)

The Dutch goalkeeper caught the eye in South Africa with some vital saves and could well be on the move this summer. Arsenal are thought to be considering a bid while Manchester United and Barcelona may also be interested in the 27-year-old stopper.

Diego Lugano (Uruguay and Fenerbahce)

Gritty and strong in the challenge, Lugano was a key cog in Uruguay’s World Cup run, outperforming more celebrated names like Fabio Cannavaro and John Terry. There are very few weaknesses in his game and plenty of teams would benefit from such a solid defensive presence – Manchester City, Arsenal and Real Madrid to name just three.

Gregory van der Wiel (Holland and Ajax)

Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben took a lot of the credit for Holland’s deep run this summer but defensively the Dutch were excellent. The Brazilians were becalmed and the Spaniards were almost shut out for 120 minutes. Van der Wiel was a relatively unknown quantity before the World Cup but he will now be one of the most prized assets. Arsenal appear to be in pole position for his signature.

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana and Udinese)

One of the biggest surprises in South Africa, Jonathan was an unsung hero for Ghana. Quick, composed and a good tackler, he caught the eye throughout. After a spell on loan with Granada in Spain, he is surely destined for bigger stages. Udinese may struggle to hold onto the 20-year-old.

Fabio Coentrao (Portugal and Benfica)

Top drawer full-backs are hard to find these days but Coentrao looks like a major talent. Left back is a problem position for Liverpool and Manchester City while other title-chasing sides across Europe, including Bayern Munich, will also be taking a look.

Sami Khedira (Germany and Stuttgart)

He might not have dominated the headlines like some of his team-mates but he added his name to the list of prized midfield stoppers. Khedira can do more than just break up play – he is a sensible passer and is comfortable on the ball. Real Madrid and Chelsea are rumoured to be monitoring him closely.

Alexis Sanchez (Chile and Udinese)

Despite Chile’s second round exit, Sanchez added to his reputation as one of the most promising wingers in the game. His dribbling has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United and Real Madrid head a stellar list of admirers.

Eljero Elia (Holland and Hamburg)

He burst onto the scene this summer as a breath of fresh air. His nimble footwork gives defenders nightmares and he is still improving. It would be a gamble but a top club might just pay top dollar for Elia this season. Liverpool are believed to be interested.

Luis Suarez (Uruguay and Ajax)

He played the role of villain against Ghana with his infamous handball but Suarez could be a saviour for numerous clubs in need of a proven scorer. His partnership with Forlan showed his compatibility and he would fit in well at Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona or AC Milan among others. Tottenham have also shown interest as Ajax face the prospect of losing another star.

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana and Rennes)

If anyone thought Gyan’s classy displays at the 2006 World Cup were a fluke, 2010 proved otherwise. He is a constant threat and showed tremendous character in South Africa. He did not deserve the pain that his penalty miss brought. Gyan will be a hot property this summer as teams look to add another attacking option. He is another player who has been linked with Tottenham.