Sought-after Arsenal target makes our ‘available’ World Cup XI
Now the early flood of World Cup fixtures has tapered off into knockout-round nuggets, transfer time is upon us, with a few moves – such as Porto’s Fernando to Manchester City and Bafetimbi Gomis to Swansea – sprung on an unsuspecting Premier League public.
Here’s a teams’ worth of targets to watch out for as the silly season hots up, with all of the below rating realistic options for any top-flight outfit with top-ten aspirations.
The most obvious and, incidentally, available pick for this side is Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa, who somehow managed to avoid signing for a big club when he moved to Europe three years ago.
Ochoa is available for free after his contract ran out at Ajaccio, and could end up earning the wages he deserves at Arsenal next term.
Sime Vrsaljko put in an assured shift at left-back in Croatia’s World Cup opener with Brazil, and Mexico couldn’t find a way past Niko Kovac’s side until the young Genoa man – who cost the Rossoblu just €4m last summer – gave way after 58 minutes.
Vrsaljko squeezes in on his favoured right, while Olympiacos’ Germany-born Greece international Jose Holebas – who showed rare quality for Fernando Santos’ men at set-pieces – pitches up on the other side.
Colossal Mexico and Espanyol centre-half Hector Moreno will miss the start of next season after snapping his tibia in the 2-1 loss to Holland, which could be a blow to Hull, who – oddly enough – have been linked with the 26-year-old.
Alongside him, Costa Rica’s Oscar Duarte – whose tournament could be over after two unfortunate bookings against Greece – may be Club Brugge’s next fundraiser, after the Belgian side sold Colombian striker Carlos Bacca to Sevilla last summer for €7m.
Relegated Cardiff’s Gary Medel deserves an instant Premier League return after his defensive heroics against Spain and – for the most part – the hosts in Brazil, although keeping the 5ft 7in-and-a-bit Chilean at centre-half would be a brave call.
We’ve put him back in deep midfield alongside an impressive performer from the lower reaches of La Liga in Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez, of Valencia minnows Elche, with Algeria winger/number 10 Sofiane Feghouli – who plays just down the road at bankrupt Los Che – just ahead.
Up front, Chilean forward Eduardo Vargas – who spent last season at the Mestalla on loan from Napoli – is picked to link up with his recent club teammate, with Costa Rica and Copenhagen set-piece expert Christian Bolanos taking up right-forward duties.
Dirk Kuyt showed he’s still a workhorse/watercarrier of the highest quality for Holland against Mexico and gets in on the left, after being linked with an unlikely move to Manchester United from Fenerbahce.
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