Transfers are always ever so slightly more interesting in World Cup years. Players are wary of missing out on crucial game time to put themselves in the shop window as contenders for international selection. They are also often over cautious when it comes to avoiding injury.
This season we have already seen want-away Chelsea striker Diego Costa essentially force his way out of London and back to former club Atletico Madrid.
In doing so he lost half a season of football that he will never regain, but at least he now has the chance to prove to Spain coach Julen Lopetegui that he deserves a place in the squad that will travel to Russia this summer.
But who else finds themselves in a similar position to Costa? With the January transfer window wide open, the following three players now have the chance to follow in the Spaniard’s footsteps and force moves through for themselves to put their hands up for selection in search of first team football.
Heavily linked with a move away from Arsenal this January, Theo Walcott’s career has stagnated as of late for both club and country. Game time for the Gunners has become more and more limited over recent seasons for the winger, who has featured only five times in the Premier League this term.
Walcott, who has nearly 50 England caps to his name failed to make it onto the pitch at all for the Three Lions in 2017 having last featured for his country in 2016.
With lots of rumours surrounding his potential departure from Arsenal, former club Southampton appear to be the front runners in landing his signature according to SkySports. Moving to the south coast may be a step down in quality for Walcott, but the increased chance of game time may be exactly that he needs to rediscover his form and force his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad this summer.
Playing the number 2 role at club level has never seemed to hold Sergio Romero back when it comes to being selected and performing for his country. However, with the emergence of several other goalkeeping options such as Nahuel Guzman and the, albeit uncapped, Geronimo Rulli has put pressure on Romero’s position.
The 93-capped goalkeeper would surely be heartbroken to go into Russia as anything other than number 1 for his country. Romero has only featured for Manchester United six times this season and very much remains the club’s ‘cup’ 'keeper playing only in Europe and domestic knockout competitions.
Despite this, United’s Europa League glory last season reminded everyone of the Argentine’s quality and that only playing a handful of games a season evidently does not hamper his form that much.
After all, there is no embarrassment if David De Gea is keeping you out of the team.
Everything was going so well for Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz last season. A return move to London saw him pick up the first Premier League winners medal of his career having been deployed as part of a back three which proved so difficult to break down under Conte last season.
Unfortunately for Luiz, this season he has once again been exposed as a liability at the back, unable to be trusted in terms of his defensive duties. Despite featuring regularly in the opening stages of the season the Brazilian, capped 56 times by his country, has been resigned to the bench.
Linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge to Manchester United according to the Mirror, Luiz will be hoping for more minutes on the pitch wherever he goes if he is to be selected over the likes of Miranda, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Rodrigo Caoi for Russia 2018.