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Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 23:45 GMT 00:45 UK
World Cup's rising stars
Senegal striker El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf: Liverpool and the Premiership await


As with every World Cup, gems of players are unearthed and club managers prepare to get out their cheque books for some serious transfer activity ahead of the new season.

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier had already secured the services of Senegal star El Hadji Diouf before the start of the tournament.

And a series of dazzling displays for the African nation suggest that the English Premiership will be well entertained by Diouf.

BBC Sport Online looks at five more internationals who could be on their way to the cut and thrust of the Premier League.

Sweden defender Michael Svensson

The less well-known of the Svenssons in the Sweden side, Michael is close to joining Southampton where he will join namesake Anders.

Michael Svensson is a firm favourite with Tommy Soderberg, who rates his defensive abilities highly.

Sweden defender Michael Svensson
Svensson: Archetypal Scandanavian defender

Despite not featuring in this World Cup, Svensson will provide a welcome addition to a Saints side that will be aiming to build on the success of last season.

Gordon Strachan's men finished 11th in the Premiership, with Anders Svensson emerging as a real talent.

His compatriot Michael is strong and commanding in the air, and is seen as ideally-suited for the English game.

Senegal midfielder Pape Bouba Diop

Senegal star Pape Bouba Diop caused a sensation on the opening day of the World Cup when he scored the goal that condemned champions France to a shock 1-0 defeat.

The midfielder went on to prove his strike was no fluke by scoring two more goals in the pulsating 3-3 draw with Uruguay.

Senegal midfielder Papa Bouba Diop
Diop allies strength with speed

Diop's impressive performances for the competition's surprise package have not gone unnoticed.

Manchester United are believed to interested in signing the playmaker - possibly as cover for Juan Sebastian Veron should the Argentine leave Old Trafford for Italy.

The 24-year-old has pace and power in abundance, and is able to get forward and track back in equal measure.

Diop has been one of the discoveries of the World Cup and if Manchester United do not sign him, it is highly likely another English club will come in for the Lens player.

South Korea striker Ahn Jung-Hwan

The co-hosts' best player, Ahn Jung-Hwan wrote himself into the annals of football history by scoring the golden goal that knocked out favourites Italy in the second round.

Ahn's winner sparked nationwide celebrations as Guus Hiddink's side progressed into uncharted World Cup territory.

South Korea striker Ahn Jung-Hwan
Ahn: South Korean sensation

But Ahn's header against the Azzurri cost the striker dear - his club side Perugia fired him for ending the Italians' World Cup campaign.

The forward - who also scored against the United States to the delight of the home fans - is now without a club.

Yet Ahn's outstanding contribution to South Korea's World Cup odyssey will stand him in good stead and West Ham are rumoured to want the 26-year-old.

Turkey striker Hasan Sas

Hasan Sas has eclipsed striker partner Hakan Sukur during this World Cup.

The bald-headed forward made an explosive start to the competition when he fired Turkey into a shock lead against Brazil with a stunning left-foot volley.

He added to his tally against China and has been impressive in all of Turkey's games.

Turkey striker Hasan Sas
Sas: Deadly with his left foot

Technically gifted, Sas has also established himself as a key player for club side Galatasaray.

He has proven his class on the European stage with goals against Real Madrid and AC Milan in the Champions League.

A big strong striker, he would be an ideal replacement for someone like Les Ferdinand, who is reaching the end of his career at Tottenham.

Denmark winger Dennis Rommedahl

Dennis Rommedahl is said to be able to run 100m in 10.3 secs - and his pace caused France all sorts of problems in the 2-0 defeat which put the holders out of the World Cup.

England's defence neutralised his threat, but the 23-year-old still looks an outstanding prospect.

Denmark winger Dennis Rommedahl
Rommedahl has blistering pace

Another Scandanavian well-suited for life in the Premiership, Rommedahl possesses the requisite speed, strength and work-rate.

These qualities have already alerted Aston Villa boss Graham Taylor, who made an inquiry about Rommedahl.

But Taylor's offer fell short of PSV Eindhoven's 9m valuation of their player. If Villa fail to land him, there are sure to be other English clubs keen to sign the winger.

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