Five World Cup Transfer Targets...

Pretty much all the 700-odd players at the World Cup will be linked with a summer move but we're getting in there early with five hot properties - including Ivan Rakitic...

Last Updated: 29/05/14 at 09:36 Post Comment

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This summer Manchester United will need a replacement for Nemanja Vidic, Liverpool require more talent ahead of returning to the Champions League and Arsenal could be hunting for a right-back.

Every Premier League club will be watching the World Cup with interest and, here, we pick five players who could be heading for England's top flight if they do well in Brazil...


IVAN RAKITIC

Age: 26

Nationality: Croatia

Club: Sevilla

Position: Midfielder

Linked With: Liverpool and Real Madrid

Sevilla captain Rakitic has been a major influence in a successful season for Sevilla which saw them push Athletic Bilbao for a place in La Liga's top four and then win the Europa League. The classy and creative midfielder will now hope to carry that into the World Cup and impress with Croatia while adding to a total of more than 60 international caps.

Rakitic has long been linked with Liverpool, while Real Madrid are also showing interest, and the fact his contract expires in the summer of 2015 offers encouragement. Sevilla have been in negotiations with Rakitic to sign a new deal but it remains to be seen if they are successful. With 12 goals and 10 assists in La Liga, along with impressive averages of 2.3 key passes per game and 2.1 successful crosses per game - the latter of which is the second most by any player in Spain's 2013/14 top flight - the Croatian's all-round class is clear.


PAUL POGBA

Age: 21

Nationality: France

Club: Juventus

Position: Midfielder

Linked With:Arsenal, Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

With a fee likely to be north of £30million, it might not be wise for fans of Premier League clubs to dream - especially with the midfielder's agent speaking openly about Real Madrid - but Pogba will always hold a fascination in England as the One That Got Away from Sir Alex Ferguson. The fascination will increase tenfold if Pogba performs to expectations at the heart of a France side that many fancy to make an impact in Brazil. After a phenomenal season for Juventus - featuring seven goals and seven assists in Serie A from central midfield - he is probably the most sought-after 21-year-old in world football.


SERGE AURIER

Age: 21

Nationality: Ivory Coast

Club: Toulouse

Position: Defender

Linked With: Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Monaco

At the beginning of April, British tabloids were reporting Arsenal will offer Toulouse £7.5million to sign Aurier this summer as a replacement for Bacary Sagna. Aurier has also been quoted as saying he would not turn down Arsenal, so Arsene Wenger has been given plenty of encouragement. With six assists and six goals in Ligue 1 this season, Aurier offers an attacking threat as well as a defensive presence at right-back and he is expected to enhance his fledgling international career this summer. Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco are also reported to be interested in the 21-year-old but, according to reports, Wenger has already held talks with the youngster's representatives.


JEFFERSON MONTERO

Age: 24

Nationality: Ecuador

Club: Morelia

Position: Winger

Linked With: West Ham United and Swansea City

Montero will hope he can follow many of his compatriots in impressing at international level with Ecuador and earning a move to the Premier League. The pacy winger has already made more than 35 appearances for his country and will want to add to that in Brazil in a favourable Group E draw against France, Switzerland and Honduras. Swansea City are reported to be leading the race for the £4million-rated Montero after their relegated Welsh rivals, Cardiff City, failed in a deal in the January transfer window. But West Ham United are also rumoured to be chasing the 24-year-old as they aim to improve offensively next season. A starring performance against Australia earlier in 2014 gave an indication of what Montero is capable of at international level and the World Cup could be his platform.


MIRALEM PJANIC

Age: 24

Nationality: Bosnia-Herzegovina

Club: Roma

Position: Midfielder

Linked With: Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain

If Pjanic can light up the World Cup with debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina, there will be a massive scramble for the attacking midfielder's signature. He has just one year left on his contract at Roma and has been linked with Manchester United, while recently he praised Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona. With almost 50 international caps to his name, Pjanic will play an important role for Bosnia at the World Cup and they could be a surprise package. The 24-year-old is one of the best dribblers in Serie A, averaging 2.1 successful dribbles per game, and has also scored six goals and contributed six assists in his 35 appearances this season. A star show at the World Cup would send his price tag rocketing regardless of his contract situation at Roma.

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m not sure about this distance covered malarky, plus that stat comes with *since February attached to it, that's just 1 month. I mean I have 27 open cases I'm 'working on' at the moment but believe me others with 10 cases work harder than I do. I just got back from a pub lunch, scampi and chips (+4 pints) in case you were wondering.

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