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The upcoming 17/18 season will be one that precedes a World Cup, and many players will be desperate to prove themselves to make it to their national squads. This will have an impact on this summer’s transfer market, with the logical choice for players opting for playing time rather than necessarily making a move to a prestigious club.
However, there are also some players who are out of favour at their current clubs and some who could potentially benefit from a move. Here are five players who could benefit from staying or moving, in order to get enough playing time before World Cup 2018.
Alvaro Morata: Move. Morata is the second or even third striker at Madrid with Benzema and Ronaldo comfortable in the hitman spot above him. Morata has been an able bodied striker when starring, however, with 15 Liga goals in 26 appearances for Real Madrid this season. With Diego Costa out of favour at Chelsea, there is an opportunity for Morata to lock down his spot as the Spanish #1 if his move to Manchester United doesn’t fall through. This one is pretty straightforward to call. Move and give yourself the most playing time at a club that will likely give you more games than you can handle, and set yourself up to be Spain’s main man.
Diego Costa: Move. Already an outcast for Chelsea, Costa is heavily rumoured to move to China. However, with the recent tax issues in Spain, a lot of moves have been stifled for the short term and the domino effect could be indirectly hampering Costa’s transfer. A Spanish striker by choice, Costa has it all to prove that he still has what it takes to be the main man for Spain and should a club in Europe come calling, Costa will be expected to take that call. With 52 goals in 89 games for Chelsea altogether, you can’t rule him out. The battle between him and Morata is well and truly on. Oh, and by the way he’s only 28 (and looks 40).
Romelu Lukaku: Stay. We’ve been here before with Lukaku. With 110 appearances and 53 goals at the tender age of 24, there is still much time for Lukaku to lock down his legendary status. Lukaku also has 20 goals in 57 appearances for Belgium, but with Benteke, Origi, Batshuayi and Dries Mertens having a golden season through the middle for Napoli, Lukaku always has competition at the national level. Would it be beneficial for him to stay at Everton for yet another season and cement his place for the World Cup? We’ve always said Lukaku will move to a big club. I believe with Koeman’s second season, and Everton’s potential breakthrough into the top six, Lukaku is assured of maximum playing time with the Toffees and a move could be risky.
Jack Wilshere: Move. England should forget about having any hope in the World Cup and I mean it. Wilshere has broken his leg again and even though he had a semi-decent spell at Bournemouth on loan this season, he may find it difficult to regain regular first team football at Arsenal in the Fall and could move to another side in England. The chances that Wilshere will make the England squad are slim, but the best chance he has is to feature as an indispensable player in the middle of the park for any club. Wilshere is his own barrier to glory.
Chris Smalling: Move. With Lindelof coming in and Smalling looking like a mistake waiting to happen (often looking like he’s about to clumsily fall over – even when in great form), rumours have circulated that he may be sold to Everton. Not a bad destination for Smalling as he will get all the playing time he needs. A move to the Toffees could be good for him ahead of a World Cup in which his place in the England team is less than assured.