West African giants Senegal have been drawn alongside Colombia, Poland and Japan in Group H of the summer World Cup, and the Teranga Lions will hope to impress in what is their second appearance at the tournament.
Anderlecht's star centre-back Kara Mbodji is on a mission to play for his future in Russia, and the performances of the 28-year-old Senegalese could determine if his English Premier League dream move will finally come true this summer.
West Ham United and Newcastle United have both previously been linked with the former Genk powerhouse, and they could reignite their interest if he helps his country go far at the World Cup.
Mbodji spent five months on the sidelines last season after getting injured during a league game in December and, despite just returning to action last month to play his only game thus far in 2018, he made Senegal's 23-man squad for the World Cup due to his quality and importance.
Leicester City, Swansea, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Sunderland were also linked with the £10million-rated defender, and completing a Premier League switch this summer remains top priority for him.
West Ham have a long-standing interest in Mbodji and, with central defence a department manager Manuel Pellegrini needs to strengthen, the World Cup could give the Hammers an opportunity to run the rule over their man all over again.
Newcastle could also do with defensive depth in the position, and the 6ft 3in 46-cap Senegal international brings the aggression and physical strength needed to excel in the top flight to the table.
The Magpies have scouted Mbodji on a couple of occasions and, having raided Anderlecht before for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba, the defender could be next to move.
Mbodji has to feature prominently for Senegal at the World Cup and hope they can surpass their 2002 quarter-final heroics, and that could see his Premier League dream come true, with plenty of scouts, including West Ham's and Newcastle's, set to be in Russia.
Have something to tell us about this article?