Defending champions Spain were knocked out of the World Cup group stages on Wednesday evening after just two games played and two dire defeats under Vincente del Bosque but which clubs could benefit most from the holders’ exit from the tournament?
The Premier League champions had just one player involved with Spain in Brazil – David Silva played 168 minutes across the two dismal defeats, 5-1 to Netherlands and 2-0 to Chile but the Citizens’ playmaker will return home early for a rest and be fresh for the new campaign in England.
Meanwhile, City stars Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Javi Garcia were left out of the Spain squad by Vincente del Bosque – the trio will likely feel somewhat vindicated after what must have been a disappointment to miss out and they might have enhanced confidence and form to go with their point to prove. All three of those players are just the right age that, if they perform well, they could be starters for Euro 2016 in two years time but they’ll need to work hard to prove themselves and that can only be good news for City.
No Reds’ players were involved with Spain. However, with the victors on Wednesday night, Alexis Sanchez has been heavily linked with a potential move to Anfield from Barcelona. Given the result and performance from Spain and Chile, the Catalans may want to keep the forward on at the Camp Nou now and, at the very least, his price could increase substantially.
The Blues’ Cesar Azpilicueta and Fernando Torres were both involved on Wednesday as was soon-to-be arriving Diego Costa whilst new signing Cesc Fabregas was on the bench and featured in Spain’s defeat to Holland. Those players will be bitterly disappointed to be out of the World Cup and they’ll want to prove themselves next term with Chelsea, especially Costa who gave an underwhelming account of himself in Brazil and Fabregas who wasn’t given much of a chance by boss del Bosque. I’d expect those four to be bursting with determination and hunger next term for Jose Mourinho.
Only Santi Cazorla featured on Wednesday – the midfielder was thrown on in the dying stages as Spain searched for a goal and the Gunners’ star managed a couple of shots on target in just 14 minutes plus stoppage time. I doubt this exit will have a massive impact on Cazorla who has been a bit-part player for Spain at a number of tournaments and at the age of 29 now that’ll likely have been his last tournament which will be a disappointment for him.
On the transfer side, the Gunners are also linked with Alexis Sanchez who, as mentioned for Liverpool, could be more expensive and harder to sign from Barcelona following the tournament in which, so far, he has sparkled whilst his Barcelona teammates have disappointed.
The Red Devils had no players involved on Wednesday night – Juan Mata was an unused substitute whilst goalkeeper David De Gea was ruled out through injury. Like the players mentioned for City, Mata could well feel he has an opportunity following this exit to prove himself a deserved starter for Spain in future tournaments – he now has two years to settle in at Old Trafford and really assert his talent over the Premier League as he had done previously at Chelsea.
De Gea will almost certainly be considered the obvious replacement for Iker Casillas who had nightmares against both Chile and Netherlands. The United youngster now has, effectively, a clear path to the No.1 spot for his country and I suspect that’ll give him a huge boost in motivation and encouragement to continue his development.
Elsewhere, I suspect the ripples of this shock exit will be felt all over La Liga but no more so than at Barcelona where the Catalans had a disappointing (and trophyless) season and I suspect a number of their players will be moved on this summer which could be good news for other clubs around Europe interested in signing, for example, the likes of Pedro and perhaps even some surprise outgoings such as Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, and, who knows, maybe even Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
But, of course, the flip side of that coin is that if that is the case then Barcelona will be looking to bring in top players from elsewhere and the club has a long history of raiding the Premier League for their top players so City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool need to beware.
Real Madrid won the Champions League this term so there’ll be under less pressure to make sweeping changes this summer but I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked to English clubs more for their signings – we saw that with Gareth Bale last summer and they could be tempted to revisit England instead of looking at home for top talent.
Iker Casillas will almost certainly be sold on so potential suitors could bag a bargain for a world-class goalkeeper who has made some high profile mistakes of late. Their rivals in the Spanish capital Atletico Madrid can brace themselves for a number of elite clubs sniffing around their stars – Costa is already out, and Koke is linked with clubs in Spain and England.