Five Premier League stars which must move ahead of World Cup

Juan Mata

Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Everton men feature.

With the World Cup just months away, there are a host of players who need more game time if they are to force a way into their national side's starting XI.

With numerous individuals around the Premier League frustrated by a lack of minutes on the pitch, it must be playing on players' minds with the World Cup inching closer.

National team managers will already have a rough idea of their best starting XI's and thus, the need to seek pastures new becomes all the more pressing for those who are not in the first-team reckoning at club level.

And, with international sides having just one more friendly match before the tournament gets underway on June 12, most of the action players will receive is for their respective clubs.

Here are the Premier League stars which must secure transfers before the month is out...

Juan Mata

Perhaps the most obvious on the list, the Spaniard has become the fall guy of Jose Mourinho's second Chelsea tenure. The Spaniard has made just 13 Premier League appearances this term, largely playing second fiddle to the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian.

The former Valencia man has contributed two assists this season but has yet to find the net and has suffered from his perceived lack of defensive work by Mourinho, despite posting an encouraging 88.1% passing success rate.

Mata's frustrations boiled over in the 3-0 win over Southampton as he was seen smashing his chair in the dugout and stared scathingly at his manager after he was substituted. To add to his woe, his replacement Oscar had a hand in all three goals.

Michael Essien

Another Chelsea man who has found first-team opportunities hard to come by under Mourinho. The Ghanaian has made just four appearances domestically for the Blues, with John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard and Ramires all above him in the pecking order.

It seems somewhat surprising given that the 31-year-old made 21 appearances under Mourinho last term when the duo were at Real Madrid.

But the most notable offering from Essien in 2013/2014 was a shocking backpass which allowed Jay Rodriguez to give Southampton the lead in the Blues' 3-1 win.

Thomas Vermaelen

The Belgium international has grown frustrated after having to sit back and watch Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny's central defensive partnership continue to blossom.

Poor defending in last season's north London derby defeat to Tottenham ultimately cost Vermaelen his spot in the backline and he was portrayed as a scapegoat in his return to the side in the defeat at Manchester United.

Vermaelen has only been able to make seven appearances this season in the Premier League, with three clean sheets to his name and the 28-year-old was also part of the side that secured a famous 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund.

Javier Hernandez

The Mexican's stock has plummeted after his first season in English football, when he was a goalscoring revelation for his side.

The 25-year-old has made 12 appearances in the top flight and has been afforded plenty of chances after injuries to both Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney but has failed to take his opportunity, with just one goal and two assists.

While he has had openings to showcase his talents ahead of the World Cup, he has simply failed to take them and if the right move came about in the transfer window, it may serve to suit all parties.

Nikica Jelavic

The Croatian has struggled to replicate the sort of form he showed upon his move to England, as he scored a remarkable nine in 10 in 2011/2012 before registering a creditable seven in 26 last season.

This year has been a completely different story. The introduction and subsequent sustained brilliance of Romelu has put paid to Jelavic's first-team chances, with the 28-year-old making just nine appearances.

That said, there are plenty of suitors in the race for his signature, with Crystal Palace and West Ham both confident the former Rangers frontman can rediscover his magic touch in front of goal.

Who do you think needs to move clubs this January to secure a World Cup squad berth?

image: © Wshjackson

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