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While it's a great honour etc and so on, the World Cup is a great opportunity for many to prove a point. So who will have a perfect chance to put themselves in the shop window in South Africa...? Here, Nick Miller picks out ten who could be on the move.
To say eyebrows were raised when Roberto di Matteo decided not to renew the Slovenian's contract last week would be quite an understatement. "I need to put the resources that were for Robbie into different types of players," was Di Matteo's excuse, but one suspects the midfielder won't be short of offers, particularly if he impresses in South Africa, and even more particularly should he pull up trees against England. If he's smart, he will sign nothing before the tournament - a good showing or perhaps even a surprise qualification for the knock-out stages will earn him a bigger move. It's a no-lose really - if he stars, then a big juicy contract will be ready. If he's anonymous, the same low-level Premier League clubs will still be there.
A massively frustrating player, Babel is rather lucky to still be at Liverpool. It's a situation that nobody can be happy with - Rafa Benitez and the club have an expensive enigma on their hands who often barely even justifies his place on the bench, and Babel spends more time admiring Benitez's bald spot than actually playing. Still, he has somehow managed to shuffle into the Dutch squad, so he could equally inexplicably get into the starting line-up, and maybe even present a case for someone to make everyone a bit happier.
After the unmitigated disaster that was his spell at AC Milan, one would forgive Gourcuff (or The Next Zidane Yoan Gourcuff, to give him his full name) for being reticent about moving to another big club. However, while Bordeaux's run to the Champions League quarter-finals was impressive, the man that guided the club there, Laurent Blanc, is all set to take the French national job, and Maraoune Chamakh is on his way out as well. This might be the perfect time for Gourcuff to have another crack at the bigger stage his talents deserve, and standing out in a mediocre French side should seal the deal.
Being a Real Madrid player is a perilous business. The turnover of coaches means that you are in a permanent state of proving yourself, persuading whichever new man is pausing in the top job that you are worthy of the old white strip. Van der Vaart seemed to be doing a decent job of getting on Manuel Pellegrini's good side, but that might not be much cop when Jose Mourinho sashays through the door at some stage in the summer. So a handy World Cup is very important to Van der Vaart, for either grabbing the new Real boss's attention, or bagging a move to a more accommodating team.
Despite his lack of playing time and goals at Aston Villa, we still suspect Heskey will start up front for England on June 12. It's not so much his excellence, but a lack of any alternative partner for Wayne Rooney that could save Heskey's bacon, and might even secure him a more regular gig next season. While he is unlikely to find a bigger club than Villa, he could still find one likely to give him more than 16 starts a season.
Portsmouth is not so much a shop window, more a buffet for bargain-hunters across the globe. Every player on their books is up for grabs, so those that put in a decent showing in South Africa will be the first to be selected. After the vol-au-vents and cocktail sausages, natch. So step forward David James, Hassan Yebda, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Nadir Belhadji and John Utaka, and prove you're worth a squirt. Figuratively speaking.
While the dashingly-handsome Paraguayan might have had a few problems getting into the Manchester City side over the last year, he shouldn't have similar worries with his national team. For the last few months, there have been fairly regular rumours in the gossip rags that there will be a clear-out at City this summer, and the not-so-free-scoring Santa Cruz is usually top of the list of those on their way out. Given that most have forgotten how he plays - such has been his inactivity of late - the tournament is a good chance to remind people he's not just olive skin, lovely hair and striking cheekbones.
There are lies, damn lies, statistics and the Eredivisie goal-scoring charts. In past years such penalty area giants as Mateja Kezman, Dirk Kuyt and Afonso Alves have bagged for fun in Holland's top division, only to fall flat on their arses (literally, in some cases) after making the step up to the Premier League. Suarez topped the Eredivisie list last season, but the inevitable comparisons will be made with his predecessors. Suarez's advantage, should he want a move to bigger and brighter things, is that he has a chance to prove his goal-scoring chops against the best defences in the world. With a group that features Mexico, South Africa and a limping France, he may even play for Uruguay in the latter stages. A fee as high as £35million has been mentioned, but a successful World Cup might persuade someone to stump up.
While we in the skysports.com office don't see as much of the Campeonato Paulista as we'd like, word from Brazil is that Robinho has been having a wild old time back at Santos, along with his heir apparent Neymar. However, the chances of him staying back home when his current six-month loan from Manchester City ends are pretty close to zero. So who fancies taking a chance on a hugely talented but volatile type who could just as easily win the title as bugger off to the Rio Carnival? AC Milan are the latest to be linked, but they already have one player who fits that description. The good news for any potential suitor is that they won't have to pay anything like the £32million City shelled out, so a good World Cup could convince a big hitter to gamble.
A few short months ago, the biggest chequebooks on the continent were forming a rather undignified rabble of a queue to sign France's dreamiest export. Quite apart from his recent off-field problems, Ribery has actually been decidedly average for Bayern over the past 12 months. Sure, he's been part of a double (possibly treble) winning side, but it's been the occasional brilliance of Arjen Robben and the re-emergence of Bastien Schweinsteiger that has driven them. So having a good World Cup is vital for Ribery, whether he wants to stay in Bavaria or not. If he does desire a move, only a Maradona '86 or a Ronaldo '02 tournament will convince the European big spenders that they really can't afford not to buy him. Indeed, this could be the summer for a relative bargain if someone wants to gamble - a Ribery with this legal anvil dangling above his head will be much cheaper than the Ribery of a year ago.
Torres isnt going anywere but James Milner might be leaving, Rafael Van Der Vaart could go to either United or Bayern Munich, Zlatan could be on his way back to Italy, Lukaku, 17, could be on his way to England after proving himself at RSC Anderlecht scoring 15 in 30, Pav, spurs, could be on his way put to. Also Ribery, Buffon, Xavi, Rooney, Kaka and Fabregas. Rooney and Ronaldo want to play along side each other angain and Man U cant afford to bring Ronaldo back, Benzema might go to United, Kaka hasnt really made an inpact after his injury problems at Madrid so i could see him back at milan, either inter or AC. Liverpool have to buy big if they want to inprove next season and Arsenal need a big player with experience and quality if they want to be a big challenger for the league not just a regular champions league team. Tottenham need a good player like Pirlo or Macion to demand there outfiled because they have champions league experience and a keeper like Frey from Fiorentina, Also with Blackpool in the Prem they need to buy a couple of players from Pompy, Burnley and Cardiff as they dont have a strong quad, they got up through team chemistry and that isnt good enough for the top flight with the team they have.
Posted 21:13 30th May 2010
I think that Steven Pienaar will be one of the big transfer window movers. With only one year left on his contract at Everton (who didn't qualify for europe) and also being the star player for the host nation. I think a big club may very well come in for him in the summer, possibly Ribery's replacement at Bayern.
Posted 18:19 30th May 2010
what about James Milner. he has got everything that england may need speed, determination and great coverage of the ball. don't count out him you will surprised off him in the world cup
Posted 11:32 20th May 2010
@ Pena Da silva.....the article is about World Cup players who can improve their status Stephen Ireland firstly doesn't play with the international team, in some senses he has retired And secondly if he did Ireland (as in the country) did not qualify for the World Cup......sigh
Posted 11:02 20th May 2010
My Top 10 in the shop window at the world cup are, Joe Cole, David James, Yoann Gourcuff, Fernando Torres, Van Der Vaart, Sneijder, Carlos Vela, Hugo Lloris, SWP & Buffon
Posted 10:33 20th May 2010
My top 10 in no particula order would be: Neymar (Santos) Kjaer (Palermo) Joe Cole (Chelsea) SWP (Manchester City) Ireland (Manchester City) Coutinho (Vasco da Gama) Buffon (Juventus) Rodwell (Everton) Silva (Valencia) David Luiz (Benfica)
Posted 00:57 20th May 2010
one other player to watch for in the summer transfer window is Jaun Manuel Mata of Spain and Valencia watch this space
Posted 23:27 19th May 2010
Im not sure if Ever Banega is in the Argentine squad but he is a terrific player and worth less than 10M. Watch out for the Chille players because they have got some good talent in their squad. Rafa needs to pay good attention to the world cup if he is still in charge of Liverpool. Otherwise I want him out, 249M has been given to him during his 6 years in charge!!! He could have signed a DREAM TEAM.
Posted 23:03 19th May 2010
a few players at everton may go 2.
Posted 20:47 19th May 2010
well not a bad list really in terms of who is in the shop window, but people seem to be forgetting those players that are on free's, likes of Joe Cole , not ballack now but they are out of contract and with money being so tight unless you seem to be Barca, Man City, Chelska or Real this really is where you should be looking at , and for anybody that has a good World Cup will be hot property but well look at the likes of Doiuf, Proborsky who had good tournements then flopped, as well just a good tournement dont make you a superstar in the premier league or spain , also take a look at the less fancier teams like North Korea, New Zealand , Honduras as they have done really well to get there and well they not going to cost you the earth are they , there is more than spending loads on a player like robinho who sulks when its cold so managers do your homework , espceially benitez if youre still liverpool manager as dont want anymore chumps signed !!
Posted 18:16 19th May 2010
From the above there is one player i'd have at my beloved Man Utd and that is Suarez. The guy scores quality goals from near impossible angles. His presence is amazing and Ajax have got a talented football who scores day in day out. The rest of them can look no where unless they have a brilliant world cup. Ribery is not class at all. Robinho is a libilility. Santa cruz is good but not prolific. Why would team in their right mind want to buy heskey. I cant believe the guys in the provisional england WC sqaud. His some fat guy good in the air. two players who are unpredictable but have exciting future is van devart and goucroff. I
Posted 17:58 19th May 2010
There are a few young players such as Germany's Mesut OZIL, who is in the provisional squad, who could light up this years world cup, especially now with Ballack injured there should be a place on the plane for him, for sure one to watch. Plus Germany generally always have a good competition. Other players such as Pedro are worth a look, if he can get into the spain side, he has been in sensational goal scoring form for Barca this year, I'd love to see him on a bigger stage. Also even though the Ivory Coast have a "Group of death" I believe they can qualify and Saloman Kalou, who finished the season strongly for Chelsea, could play a leading part in the success of their tournament.
Posted 17:51 19th May 2010
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