Tuesday 20 March 2018

The 16 Premier League transfer targets on show in Brazil

A supporter reaches out to touch the hair of Spain's national soccer team goalkeeper Iker Casillas
A supporter reaches out to touch the hair of Spain's national soccer team goalkeeper Iker Casillas

Simon Rice

The World Cup in Brazil promises to be a showcase for potential Premier League transfer targets.

With England's top clubs all expected to be busy in the transfer market this summer, numerous players will have an opportunity to impress their potential new employers.

While buying players off the back of a good tournament tends to be something of a risk, going into the tournament there are already numerous players to have been linked with moves to England whose talent is not in doubt, but may be relatively unfamiliar to those who tend to concentrate on the Premier League.

So here we take a look at the players to watch in Brazil who could well be playing in the Premier League come August.

1. Diego Costa

The striker that fired Atletico to the Spanish league title and nearly the Champions League looks certain to switch to the Premier League this summer with a deal to Chelsea all but done. For Blues fans who didn't get a close enough look at him when Atletico knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League last season, they'll be able to watch him competing for Spain.

Spain's Diego Costa

2. Cesc Fabregas

Barcelona have deemed the Spain international surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp. So where will he go? A return to the Premier League is understood to be his preference, and a move to Chelsea along with Costa the likeliest outcome. Having played much of his career at Arsenal, Fabregas will be nothing new to the Premier League, but in the intervening three years since he left the 27-year-old has developed his game even further.

Cesc Fabregas is reported to be on the move this summer

3. Edinson Cavani

Another striker linked with Chelsea as they look to bolster their front line, the Uruguayan may have only joined PSG last summer but that hasn't stopped the rumours about him moving from flying around. They will only increase if he impresses at the World Cup in Brazil where he will be coming up against England in the group stages.


4. Toni Kroos

One player who's been creating transfer rumours for a while is Toni Kroos. The German has been linked with a move to Manchester United as his contract talks with Bayern Munich stall. Whether Kroos is simply exploiting United's need for midfield reinforcements simply to improve his Bayern contract remains to be seen. His superb goals against Arsenal at the Emirates the last two years running have offered an indication to his ability but he'll be able to strengthen his reputation with a good World Cup with Germany.


5. Paul Pogba

Pogba may have already played for Manchester United but the Frenchman was allowed to leave before he could make much of an impression in the Premier League. Having played just three times in the English top-flight the 21-year-old could be set for a glorious return having been linked with his old club and various others. Over the last two seasons with Juventus he's been hugely impressive and looks set to be given an opportunity to drive France through to the latter stages in Brazil.

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba in action for France against Paraguay at the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice ahead of the World Cup

6. Fabio Coentrao

The Portuguese left-back nearly joined Manchester United in January and with the Premier League bracing itself for a flurry of activity in that particular position, Coentrao could be one man in line for a move. He might have played in the Champions League final but he managed just 10 league appearances with Real Madrid, leading to claims he will move on. Despite being marginalised by his club, Coentrao will play a major role as Portugal try to negotiate their group of death with Germany, Ghana and the United States.


7. Mario Balotelli

Why always linked with transfers? For one reason or another, Super Mario is one man constantly in the transfer spotlight with a potential reuniting with former boss Jose Mourinho at Chelsea being mooted by some while other reports suggesting he has been offered to Arsenal for £30m. The AC Milan striker will be in action against England in Group D.

Mario Balotelli of Italy during a training session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

8. Arturo Vidal

The self-styled 'best in the world' in his role, has had a great season with Juventus and consequently finds himself in the sights of Manchester United according to reports. A good World Cup with Chile will only boost the likelihood of some offers.


9. Iker Casillas

Synonymous with Real Madrid for so long, Casillas fell out of favour with first Jose Mourinho and now Carlo Ancelotti and a summer move could be on the cards. Having captained Spain to three tournament successes players don't come with much bigger reputations. Arsenal are reportedly interested in finding a new number one.


10. Eliaquim Mangala

It seems like almost every top European club is looking to reinforce the centre of its defence at the moment and consequently Eliaquim Mangala could be in high demand. The Porto centre-back will see his value go up even further if he gets the chance to impress with France. The 23-year-old reportedly favours a move to Manchester United or Chelsea over Manchester City.

Eliaquim Mangala

11. Julian Draxler

Julian Draxler has featured heavily in recent transfer windows and looks set to do so again this summer with Arsenal once again linked with the German star. The Germany international has signalled he's open to a move away from Schalke.


12. Jackson Martinez

Porto's Colombian striker is seemingly always mentioned in transfer gossip pages and this summer looks set to be no different. With Radamel Falcao missing the World Cup, this tournament could be Martinez's chance to really show himself off on the world stage.


13. William Carvalho

Another player plying his trade in Portugal that is causing a bit of a stir. The 21-year-old is at Sporting Lisbon for the moment but a bumper offer could see him on his way. Fees in the region of £37m have been mooted for the defensive midfielder, with Manchester United one of those reportedly ready to stump up the cash. Set to play a big role for Portugal this summer.


14. Andy Najar

Honduras will be mostly remembered for trying to kick lumps out of England, but during that warm-up match Najar caught the eye. A few more decent games at the World Cup and speculation over the 21-year-old midfielder's future will increase. Anderlecht won't be keen to let him go however.


15. Lorenzo Insigne

The Napoli forward has found himself heavily linked with a move to Arsenal in recent weeks. But before then he's got a World Cup to deal with. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has scoffed at talk of a deal in the region of £18m and says he would want triple that. A good tournament with Italy for Insigne and he might just get his wish.

Lorenzo Insigne is reportedly attracting interest from Arsenal

16. Vincent Aboubakar

There's more to Cameroon than just Samuel Eto'o and in the shape of Aboubakar there might just be another Indomitable Lion heading for the Premier League. The 22-year-old, who currently plays for Ligue 1 side Lorient, has been tipped as one to watch and a good tournament could have a few English clubs making inquiries.

Which players do you expect to impress in Brazil? Let us know in the comments below...

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