6 Players Who Need a January Transfer to Secure World Cup Spot
The transfer market is in full swing, and for several players, money is not the main issue. There are players who are looking for a chance to take part in the World Cup. The caveat for them, though, is that a move to another club would not only mean a new beginning for them, it would mean that their chances to be in Brazil could be bolstered.
For some, "bolstered" would mean having a shot at the squad. For others it's a chance to maintain their current position within the national team.
In this list we'll look at six players who find themselves in this situation with less than six months until the beginning of the biggest sporting event on the planet.
It's sad to say that a player of Juan Mata's level could be in limbo.
The reality is that the limited amount of play he is getting at Chelsea might compromise his chances. His recent frustrations are well documented, but Jose Mourinho insists on keeping the Spanish international despite him using Brazilians Oscar and Willian on a much more consistent basis.
Mourinho seems to understand his value, but not enough to start him. Would Vicente Del Bosque leave a player of Mata's qualities out of the World Cup due to a lack of playing time?
Well, if you look at who is ahead of him on the list, he could be watching from the bench—at best.
That would be an unfortunate scenario for Chelsea's two-time Player of the Year who is among the top creative midfielders in the game.
Maybe a move to Bayern Munich, which Ian McCourt of The Guardian reports as a possibility, would help? If you are looking at his ambitions for the World Cup, maybe not.
The Javier Hernandez saga continues. As his confidence continues to wane seeing less and less time on the pitch for United, he could see his spot as a starter for El Tri begin to be threatened.
Hernandez needs to move in order to get more playing time and, more importantly, regain confidence.
The former Chivas man is productive despite his limited minutes. If there is a player who learned to maximise his minutes, it's Hernandez after scoring five goals this season.
There was rumored interest in Valencia for Chicharito, with Argentine international Ever Banega heading in the opposite direction according to Tom Hopkinson of the Sunday People (via the Mirror).
Coach Miguel Herrera will keep a watchful eye on all things not occurring at Old Trafford, be assured of that. If he sees that the fifth-leading scorer in Mexican national team history is not up to par, he will have other options that he will go to. He would not think twice to select Oribe Peralta and Raul Jimenez knowing they both have responded under his brief tenure.
Also, there is an outside possibility of Real Sociedad man Carlos Vela looking to rejoin the Mexican national team after his self-imposed hiatus.
Obviously the first two players will be in the mix, but if Vela returns, Chicharito could be watching the World Cup from the bench or maybe from his living room.
In 2012, Carlos Valdes said goodbye to MLS in order to head to Santa Fe and play in the Copa Libertadores. This was per the recommendation given by national team coach Jose Pekerman.
The decision seemed to have worked out well. He was a regular in the Colombia squad and ended up in the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores.
With his loan spell currently up, Valdes does not want to return to MLS for now. The reasoning for this is that he would have to wait until March to play at game speed.
He urgently needs a move. Any time missed out on the pitch would see him losing a chance to be a starter. And the emergence of Eder Alvarez Balanta at River Plate could see him in tight quarters should the youngster begin to play at a high level in Argentina and the rumors of the possibility of him heading to FC Barcelona, courtesy of Sky Sports, start to frenetically make waves.
Hey, we're less than six months away, and many things could happen.
After the end of the MLS season, Obafemi Martins was looking at Europe once again in order to catch the eye of Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi. Martins might be the biggest long shot of this group of players, as he was not part of Keshi's World Cup side.
This is not to say that Martins won't be called up because he's playing in the MLS. If you need an example of a Nigerian success story in the MLS, just look at Bright Dike.
"Oba Oba" needs a change of scenery. Martins was looking at a move to Galatasaray this offseason to possibly rejoin former Inter coach Roberto Mancini, he told Calcio Mercato (via SounderAtHeart.com).
If he were to make the move, it might be a case of "too little, too late" for the former Levante man.
Long gone are the days when Javier Pastore was the engine behind Palermo's attack. As a matter of fact, long gone is the brief period of time when Pastore was the metronome of the PSG midfield.
A player who's completely dropped off Alejandro Sabella's radar, Pastore has a steep hill to climb.
Argentina's midfield is essentially set. Barring injury, Pastore does not look like he will be in the team's plans. Pastore saw his name being mentioned with clubs like Liverpool and Inter according to Sky Sports, but club owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi talked it all down by expressing his faith in the former Huracan man, saying that he was an "important part of the club" but he has to "do much more."
Will that be enough for Pastore to go to his second World Cup? If he stays, he surely won't go.
Well over a year ago, Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva was being heralded as the Golden Child of football upon his arrival to Parc des Princes. Since then he's been erratic and has fallen in the pecking order at the club.
It is that same form that saw him also fade from Luiz Felipe Scolari's squads toward the end of the season.
With PSG clicking on all cylinders while he watches from the wings, it might behoove Lucas to look elsewhere so he can catch the attention of Felipao yet again.
Now if you add to that the talk of Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann being considered by Les Rouge Et Bleu according to Hopkinson (via the Mirror), Lucas might start to see an exit as a feasible option.