40 Players Who Could Land Big Transfer Moves Following 2014 FIFA World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup stands as a magnificent tournament for a number of reasons and for players who know they're not in the hunt to win it, it represents a veritable shop window on the world stage.
Players such as Romelu Lukaku, Ezequiel Garay, Fabio Coentrao and many more will use this summer in Brazil to affirm their talents in front of the globe and a strong World Cup can be the catalyst for a big July move.
Here are 40 players who will be treating the World Cup as a personal audition, as well as a chance to secure their nation unrivalled glory.
Aissa Mandi, Algeria
Algeria have already settled on their full-back pairing in the final stages of their tournament preparation but at least Vahid Halilhodzic has picked the right guys.
Aissa Mandi is set to man the right-back role and will be hoping for a similar career trajectory jump to left-back Faouzi Ghoulam, who swapped Saint-Etienne for Napoli in January to further his career immeasurably.
If he performs, he can find a new suitor.
Saphir Taider, Algeria
Saphir Taider started the season in Internazionale’s first team, but Walter Mazzarri has steadily phased him out as time has worn on.
That's a concern for Algeria, who face the problem of multiple first-choice stars not getting regular game time for their domestic clubs, and Taider may wish to move on in the summer following his nation's exit.
He's pretty raw, but he has shown good physical attributes and an ability to score from midfield.
Ezequiel Garay, Argentina
Another summer, another Ezequiel Garay to Manchester United saga.
James Nursey of The Mirror believes the Argentina international has been wrapped up by David Moyes as the Red Devils retool their central-defensive corps and if the move doesn't come off (again), he'll likely find a different home.
He's set to enter the final year of his contract and he's starting for La Albiceleste in Brazil. Expect movement one way or the other.
Marcos Rojo, Argentina
Marcos Rojo has improved massively this season with Sporting Lisbon and looks set to man the left-back spot for Argentina in Brazil.
Like many of the Leoes' impressive young charges, he'll be looking to attract richer, better-placed suitors by playing well at the World Cup and with Lionel Messi in his side, he has the chance to play four or five games.
The further he goes in the competition, the more likely he impresses scouts.
Mitchell Langerak, Australia
Mitchell Langerak has inherited the starting goalkeeping role from Mark Schwarzer, beat out competition from Brad Jones and looks set to play at the World Cup.
But, at club level, he's stuck behind Roman Weidenfeller at Borussia Dortmund, so a strong showing against Spain, Chile and the Netherlands in Group B could see him draw some attention.
At 25, he can't sit on the bench for much longer.
Tommy Oar, Australia
Tommy Oar is the man charged with replacing Robbie Kruse's influence for Australia this summer, as the Bayer Leverkusen man sadly injured his ACL in January and has been ruled out of the finals.
Oar, of FC Utrecht, has had a strong season and enters the World Cup year at a good age; he can change the way the Socceroos play for the better, and he's a figure the fans can get behind.
Romelu Lukaku, Belgium
There have been suggestions that Romelu Lukaku may not return to Chelsea next season, as Jose Mourinho is unimpressed with his attitude, per the Huffington Post.
That means a sterling World Cup could see him spark a battle between clubs who are willing to pay top dollar for his signature
He'll go for at least £25 million if he doesn't return to Stamford Bridge, and he'll be worth every penny to the club who takes the plunge.
Senad Lulic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
According to Il Tempo (h/t talkSPORT), Senad Lulic has cooled talk of leaving Lazio, but he failed to rule out a potential transfer in the summer.
The wide man has enjoyed a strong season in Serie A and looks set to man the left side of Bosnia and Herzegovina's attacking 4-1-3-2 formation. His energy, work rate and deliveries are key to how the team play their football.
Benjamin Moukandjo, Cameroon
Benjamin Moukandjo was a difference-maker in Cameroon's African playoff tie to reach the World Cup, and that caught a lot of people's attention.
He's played solidly for Nancy for several seasons, but he has begun to make great strides over the past 12 months, and he looks a serious threat off the edge, running with the ball at his feet.
He won't be expensive and if he settles, he could be a real catch.
Marcelo Diaz, Chile
Marcelo Diaz is the heartbeat of Chile's midfield, controlling the tempo from his deep-lying position and recycling possession confidently.
Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla draw the attention but Diaz is the key cog, and FC Basel will know their days with him on the books are numbered as of now.
Diaz would be a catch for any top side; he’s essentially a better, more capable version of Joe Allen coming in at half the price.
Eduardo Vargas, Chile
Eduardo Vargas has been loaned out by Napoli twice in two years and while he can't find a regular place at the Stadio San Paolo, he's showcasing his talents elsewhere.
Jorge Sampaoli utilises him consistently in his starting XI from the left, with his pace, comfort in possession and eye for goal all big plus points.
He's a natural fit for Chile, and he's a natural fit for another lucky club out there too.
Pablo Armero, Colombia
The Pablo Armero situation this season has been beyond strange: A full Colombia international of 50 caps is locked out of the Napoli side, then shipped to West Ham on loan where he doesn't play ahead of Joey O'Brien?
With Camilo Zuniga mysteriously injured and no return date set, Armero looks on course to start at left-back for Los Cafeteros this summer.
Surely one club will rescue him from this nightmare?
David Ospina, Colombia
David Ospina is Colombia's first-choice goalkeeper and stands a good chance of playing four or five games in Brazil.
He plies his trade for a modest Nice team in Ligue 1 despite his obvious talents, and this tournament looks tailor-made for him to use as a springboard to better things.
His agility, shot-stopping and distribution all impress on a regular basis.
Mateo Kovacic, Croatia
Mateo Kovacic's career at Internazionale looked to be blossoming under Andrea Stramaccioni, but Walter Mazzarri hasn't been able to find a role for him in his 3-5-2/3-5-1-1 formation.
It makes the upcoming World Cup—in which Kovacic is certain to start, though likely on the wing given the dearth of quality in that area—a big chance for him to win his next move.
Whoever picks him up will be lucky, but he's going to cost €15 million or more.
Frickson Erazo, Ecuador
Frickson Erazo is the glue that holds an unsteady Ecuador team together, with his dominant, impressive central-defensive displays a real factor in every result.
His presence inspires those around him, and it's remarkable he doesn't get linked to more European clubs given his likely cheap price tag.
The 25-year-old is in prime form, yet he's only just earned a move to Flamengo in the Brasileiro Serie A. A successful World Cup could mean that stay lasts for just a single year.
Ross Barkley, England
Ross Barkley was linked, via The Mirror, to a £50 million move to Manchester United after half a season with Everton; imagine what his price tag could be after a semi-successful World Cup?
The powerful English midfielder could well be Roy Hodgson's wild card in Brazil, with his ability to carry the ball over long stretches key to pulling England out from deeper positions.
He's physical, technical and boasts an eye for goal.
Fraser Forster, England
Fraser Forster won't play a single minute this summer unless Joe Hart goes down injured, but his very presence at a World Cup will put his name in the headlines.
As per Alan Wilson of The Mirror, Celtic are resigned to losing him at one stage or another, with even the mighty Barcelona showing interest before arranging a transfer for Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Adam Lallana, England
Adam Lallana could find himself starting for England this summer and no player from a non-top-four club that makes the national XI sticks around for long.
We've seen the likes of Ashley Young and James Milner break into the team and use it as a platform to find a big move, and clubs such as Liverpool, per Danny Griffiths of The Metro, have been sniffing around Lallana.
His irresistible form could well land him a big, big move.
Luke Shaw, England
Southampton fans won't thank us for drawing yet more light to it but should Luke Shaw beat out Ashley Cole for the reserve left-back spot in the World Cup, he could use the tournament to propel himself to a Champions League club.
While it's unlikely Leighton Baines will drop out of the XI due to the tough nature of the games in England's group, any sliver of action for Shaw will have the rumour mill whirring.
Eliaquim Mangala, France
France's centre-back situation is up in the air, with Eliaquim Mangala, Mamadou Sakho, Laurent Koscielny, Raphael Varane and more all fighting to start in Brazil.
If Mangala does get any playing time, it's sure to boost his already-impressive stock, and FC Porto will be happy to sanction a sale...for an astronomical fee.
The Frenchman is highly rated all over Europe, and it'd be a surprise if a club like Manchester City didn't stump up some serious cash to lure him in.
Loic Remy, France
Loic Remy is certain to leave Queens Park Rangers this summer unless Harry Redknapp pulls a rabbit out of the hat.
The Frenchman, on loan at Newcastle United in the Premier League, has been decisive this season when on the pitch, and his absence has been felt dearly when injured due to Papiss Cisse's inadequacies.
Remy won't feature much in the finals but if QPR lose in the playoffs, there's no way they're keeping a World Cup man on their roster.
Bacary Sagna, France
Bacary Sagna has failed to agree terms with Arsenal on a contract extension so far, so if he plays—and stars—at the World Cup, he could end up holding the upper hand.
That's bad news for the Gunners, who seemingly want to secure his future on a deal cheaper, shorter than they've actually already offered, and with the Frenchman the wrong side of 30, a big contract wouldn't be financially prudent.
Sagna would have his pick of clubs.
Marcell Jansen, Germany
Marcell Jansen is Germany’s backup option at left-back but given the injury struggles Marcel Schmelzer has had this season, don't be surprised if the Hamburg man grabs a few minutes in Brazil.
HSV are by no means a lowly club, but they've had a real season to forget and there's a chance several players could be angling for moves.
In a world bereft of quality left-backs, many could do a lot worse than pick up Jansen.
Toni Kroos, Germany
Toni Kroos will travel as part of an ultra-talented Germany selection and try to play his way to one of two things: A new contract or a big move.
Bayern Munich want to secure his long-term future, but the academy product wants Bastian Schweinsteiger money; Manchester United are willing to offer him that, per The Guardian, but Pep Guardiola isn't sure.
Either way, a good World Cup boosts his stock considerably.
Daniel Opare, Ghana
Ghana are famed for their physical, box-to-box central midfielders and the genius finishing of Asamoah Gyan.
Defensively they've suffered over the past few years, but Daniel Opare is emerging at the right time in a position of need.
The full-back was on the books at Real Madrid as a youngster but failed to make the grade. Since 2010, though, he's been playing well for Standard Liege and looks set to start on the right.
Kostas Mitroglou, Greece
If you can explain Kostas Mitroglou's January move to Fulham, please enlighten the rest of us.
The player's motives are clear but what were the Cottagers thinking? The Greek arrived injured, unable to play and likely has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for peanuts upon relegation.
That said, Mitroglou has some work to do this summer if he wants to attract the right kind of clubs.
Memphis Depay, Netherlands
Memphis Depay is being penciled in to start for the Netherlands at the upcoming World Cup, such is the impact he's made for PSV Eindhoven at Eredivisie level.
He's clearly a special talent, with raw agility, great speed and a stunning long-range strike all serious plus points, and if he can grasp the occasion and perform, he'll have clubs falling over themselves to bid for him after the finals.
Reza Ghoochannejhad, Iran
Reza Ghoochannejhad is Iran's goalscoring star, and his international record (nine goals from 11 games) is extremely strong.
It may be a surprise, then, to learn that he plies his trade with Charlton Athletic in the Championship, and he's yet to score a goal this season.
If he can pull up a few trees in Brazil, he can expect a move to a top-tier club.
Serge Aurier, Ivory Coast
Serge Aurier is set to start at right-back for Ivory Coast having recently declared for the nation over France.
The Toulouse full-back has been scouted as a possible replacement for Bacary Sagna at Arsenal, per Zarif Rasul of The Mirror, and his emergence brings an end to Emmanuel Eboue's reign of terror in the team.
If he impresses, he's certain to leapfrog to a bigger, better club.
Antonio Candreva, Italy
The paucity of Italy's options on the wing has seen Antonio Candreva elevated to a regular spot in Cesare Prandelli's squad and while he's by no means a bad player, he's not world class.
Still, his work rate and directness are valuable traits, and it's difficult to argue with eight goals and five assists from 29 starts for Lazio this season.
There will be several top-tier Serie A clubs looking at him closely and a host of other European ones too should he perform.
Maya Yoshida, Japan
Maya Yoshida is not getting any game time at Southampton right now, but he stands to lead Japan's defensive line in Brazil this summer regardless.
Jose Fonte and Dejan Lovren have got the central berths nailed down on the South Coast so Yoshida will be thinking about his options, and the World Cup is an ideal time to showcase his skills.
For those looking at basic defenders, Yoshida could come cheap.
Hiroshi Kiyotake, Japan
Hiroshi Kiyotake hasn't hit the heights of last season, but he's still too good for Nurnberg.
The World Cup represents his big chance to attract a top club and with Aston Villa's £10 million offer being turned down last summer, per The Daily Mail, suitors will know they need to stump up a hefty sum to tear him away from the Bundesliga.
He's technically just as sound as Shinji Kagawa but not quite as productive. For teams looking for a nifty, tidy playmaker, Kiyotake is the dream.
Luis Montes, Mexico
Miguel Herrera has come in to steady the Mexican ship ahead of the World Cup, and the major benefactors of that move have been domestic-based players.
Liga MX star Luis Montes has proven himself very capable in the centre of midfield for El Tri over the past few games, and his combination of ball-playing prowess and cheap price tag should have a number of clubs on red alert.
Victor Moses, Nigeria
Victor Moses' loan spell at Liverpool has been a disaster, and he'll trudge back to Chelsea this summer knowing he needs to find another club if he wants to play.
Luckily, he's a starter for Nigeria under Stephen Keshi, and he'll likely line up opposite Ahmed Musa in the Super Eagles' high-intensity 4-3-3 formation.
That will be his chance to attract suitors, and if he wants another top Premier League club to come calling, he best take it seriously.
Fabio Coentrao, Portugal
Much like the aforementioned Ezequiel Garay, Fabio Coentrao has become accustomed to "nearly" leaving Real Madrid every summer.
The Portuguese full-back has made just six La Liga starts this season due to Marcelo's dominance in the position and, despite his secure spot in Paulo Bento's XI, he must be getting itchy feet in Madrid.
A big showing at the World Cup could remind us all of his talents.
As per Ian Herbert of The Independent, Manchester City failed to lure Fernando from Porto on the final day of the January transfer window, with Pinto Costa playing his typical hard-ball game.
Fernando was told he would be frozen out of the team if he didn't sign a new contract with the club, but he can still use the World Cup to spark a move—should he make Paulo Bento's squad.
The Portuguese-Brazilian anchor is far too good to continue his trade in the Liga Sagres, and he must seek a Nemanja Matic-esque move away.
Thanks to Silvestre Varela's so-so showings for FC Porto this season and Ricardo Quaresma's slim chances of being called up, Nani is penciled in to start for Portugal at the finals.
He has barely played for Manchester United over the past two years, but he remains a favourite of Paulo Bento's, and the winger will know his days at Old Trafford are numbered despite signing a long-term deal not long ago.
Time to perform.
Ricardo Rodriguez, Switzerland
Ricardo Rodriguez has been the best left-back in the Bundesliga this season, with his all-round, complete game a huge pull for potential suitors.
He can defend as well as he attacks, uses his muscular build wisely and takes penalties for Wolfsburg too.
For Switzerland, he and Stephan Lichtsteiner form one of the most dominant full-back pairings in the world and there won't be a team in Europe that isn't checking in on him this summer in Brazil.
Valentin Stocker, Switzerland
Valentin Stocker caught the eye with FC Basel last season after wowing against English clubs in the UEFA Europa League.
He plays a very efficient role for Switzerland on the left wing under Ottmar Hitzfeld, collecting Gokhan Inler's long passes from deep in midfield and working the channels with energy.
He's got a good eye for goal and works very hard for the team, and that'll be enough to convince he's worth upward of £5 million.
Graham Zusi, USMNT
Graham Zusi is the man U.S. fans hope can mix it with the big boys in the years to come, and he stands as the best player on Major League Soccer's best team from last year.
He's an intelligent attacking midfielder/winger who can find space in between the lines with ease. His creativity and goal production make him an MLS All-Star regular and at 27 he's entering the prime of his career.
If there's a chance for a European team to snag him, it's this summer.