The World Cup may not have finished yet, but Premier League managers have started tinkering with their squads ahead of the new season. With so many players in the shop window in Brazil, clubs should be well aware of exactly what they are getting for their money.
While there have been many successful post-World Cup signings over the years, only a few have continued to live up to the reputations they built up during the biggest tournament in football. The World Cup can distort transfer market perceptions and inflate prices. Some players end up moving for big money before the reality sets in that they are perhaps not as good as the World Cup hype made them out to be.
Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier found this out the hard way. He signed midfielder Salif Diao for £4.7million from French club Sedan. Diao made 37 largely uninspiring Premier League appearances over three seasons for Liverpool before being sent to Stoke on loan to rebuild his career.
Alan Pardew’s genius World Cup signings in 2006 of Argentinian duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano didn’t exactly pay off in the way he had planned. Despite Tevez saving the Hammers from relegation on the final day of the season, it cost the club £18.1million in compensation to Sheffield United after pleading guilty to breaching Premier League rules. While the signings hit West Ham in the pocket in the long run, Tevez moved on to enjoy success with Manchester United and Manchester City and Mascherano was transferred to Liverpool.
However, Arsene Wenger got his post-World Cup business spot on. He completed the signing of Brazilian World Cup winner Gilberto from Atletico Mineiro in 2002, claiming that Silva would give the Gunners “extra quality and competitiveness in midfield”. That proved to be exactly the case; two years later he formed part of the “Invincible” title-winning team.
Yaya Toure cost Manchester City £24million in 2010 having impressed at the World Cup after an impressive season at Barcelona. He lifted six trophies with Barca but Roberto Mancini pulled off one of the transfers of recent seasons securing his signature. Despite Ivory Coast’s World Cup campaign coming to an end in the group stages, Toure played every minute and scored in the 3-0 victory against North Korea. He has gone on to play an integral part of Manchester City’s new regime, scoring massive goals in the seasons that saw the Premier League trophy take residence at the Etihad.
This year, the best signings are yet to be made. Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa left many speechless throughout this World Cup. Can you believe he is a free agent?! He made some incredible and ultimately game-changing saves for Mexico which saw them hold hosts Brazil to a 0-0 draw and helped them reach the last 16. A big club should secure his signature, and soon!
James Rodriguez may have been rejected by United back in 2010, but after his successful World Cup with Colombia, any club would be crazy to snub him for an alternative. Six goals in five games and three assists, all at the tender age of just 22, on the world’s biggest stage tells you everything you need to know!
Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic is free agent at the moment. He made a massive impact for his country during the World Cup, but also made a significant contribution to Bayern Munich’s successful season last term. The hard-working forward is world class and at 28, still has a lot to give. He would be a fantastic addition to any Premier League club.
All in all, the World Cup can be a very misleading market for Premier League clubs and the basic logic is to never buy a player solely on the back of a handful of performances in front of the TV cameras.
With that said, if your performance is good enough against the world’s best, surely you’re good enough to secure that big money, dream move and dazzle on the domestic scene too.
What does the future hold for the likes of Ochoa, Rodriguez and Paul Pogba after impressive World Cup campaigns?
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