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Marouane Fellaini, Toby Alderweireld, Xherdan Shaqiri - players in World Cup shop window
Last Updated: 08/06/18 1:44pm
Every player will be out to make an impact at the World Cup in Russia but several, whose club futures remain unclear, will be especially desperate to shine.
Whether it is a contract wrangle or a potential transfer in the pipeline, these players are sure to want to catch the eye on the biggest stage...
In a world of media-trained footballers, Stoke and Switzerland forward Xherdan Shaqiri is a player not afraid to let the world know what he really thinks.
"It is no secret that I will leave the club," the man who suffered relegation with the Potters told Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung this week. "I would love to stay in England, I think the league is perfect for me. It's the best league with the best players, but I do not want to exclude anything."
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Switzerland won nine of their 10 qualifiers for Russia but though they were pipped to automatic qualification by Portugal, they negotiated their way past Northern Ireland in a play-off to book another summer at a major tournament.
Vladimir Petkovic's side will fancy their chances of reaching the last 16 with Serbia and Costa Rica in their group and leading light Shaqiri will be out to impress watching scouts. A repeat of the stunning bicycle-kick he scored against Poland at Euro 2016 would be just the job.
While Marouane Fellaini is unlikely to be a starter for Belgium, he is very much Plan B from the bench, with his aerial prowess offering a different option, as it has at Manchester United this season.
Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for the 30-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the month having failed so far to agree a new deal at Old Trafford.
It did appear that Fellaini was on his way to AC Milan, but Arsenal - whose manager Unai Emery is reportedly a fan - are now keen to pounce, according to reports in the British press.
"We know he is not going to renew with United, but it's difficult to say that we have closed the deal," AC Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli said two weeks ago.
Should nothing be finalised soon, Fellaini's focus will be on excelling in Russia, where an impact against England in Belgium's final group game could go a long way to earning him another big summer move.
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One Belgian who is almost certain of a starting berth, though, is Toby Alderweireld, despite falling out of favour at Tottenham as talks over a new deal have failed to result in an agreement.
Jose Mourinho has reportedly handed Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward a list of transfer targets that includes Alderweireld. The Belgium international has just over a year left on his current contract, which includes a one-year extension option, but he appears no closer to signing a new contract.
Alderweireld told Belgian newspaper De Zondag: "I have another two years contract. Tottenham decides about my future. Of course I have my own idea. But that is not the case now."
Belgium's back three of Vincent Kompany, Alderweireld and Alderweireld's Spurs team-mate Jan Vertonghen is very much a tried and trusted rearguard. Should Belgium go all the way, or close, with Alderweireld reminding the watching suitors of his prowess after playing a bit-part role for Spurs this past season, Mauricio Pochettino could expect some offers for the 29-year-old in the coming months.
It seemed the permanent transfer of Goncalo Guedes from Paris Saint-Germain to Valencia was a done deal, but as talks have stalled, Premier League newcomers Wolves have been linked with a late swoop, according to reports in France.
Guedes is expected to be sold by PSG this summer due to their need to fulfil their Financial Fair Play obligations, and with Guedes a client of Jorge Mendes, who has strong connections at Wolves, Valencia, who have had Guedes impressing on loan this season, could miss out.
"We know that [Valencia owner] Peter Lim is trying to sign Goncalo but it depends on many factors," Guedes' father Rogerio Guedes told Tribuna Deportiva.
Guedes is yet to score for Portugal, but could form a new-look forward line alongside AC Milan's Andre Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo for the European champions. Impressing in Russia will certainly go a long way to enhance this burgeoning forward's stock.
Sky Sports reported Liverpool's interest in Roma goalkeeper Alisson at the start of the year but transfer talk over a potential new No 1 at Anfield has gathered pace since Loris Karius' mistakes in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
Despite having coveted the Brazilian for some time, it seems Liverpool have some competition for his signature.
"I understand he is very happy at Roma but there is interest not only from Liverpool but from Real Madrid too," South American football expert Tim Vickery told Sky Sports. "The asking price could increase or decrease depending on what happens during the World Cup. He's an excellent goalkeeper."
Keeping Manchester City stopper Ederson out of the side, Roma's Allison certainly has made the jersey his own with some fine displays for the Selecao. With Brazil so heavily fancied to go all the way in Russia, those unaware of Allison's athletic ability could well have their heads turned this summer.
Mateo Kovacic joined fellow countryman Luka Modric at Real Madrid in 2015 hoping to elevate his career to the next level but, like many others before him, has found himself on the periphery, unable to break into the first team on a regular basis. Now, the 24-year-old knows his playing time has to increase - and appears open to suitors.
"I believe I'll play more, whether in Real or somewhere else," he told reporters ahead of the tournament. "Now is the time for me to play."
Kovacic made 36 appearances for Madrid in 2017-18, starting just 10 of his 21 La Liga games.
While he is also not a guaranteed starter, the fact many see Croatia as dark horses could allow Kovacic the chance to showcase his talents. Several reports in the British media claim Jose Mourinho is a fan.
Ki Sung-yeung is heading to the World Cup with South Korea but he will soon be looking for a new club employer.
The 29-year-old announced he would be leaving Swansea in the wake of their relegation to the Championship and will be out of contract at the Liberty Stadium come the end of the month.
Sky Sports reported in April that Everton were one of five Premier League clubs keen on signing him, along with Italian side AC Milan. Making an impression in Group F - against Germany, Mexico, Sweden - could reignite interest.