Even in an era where the latest talent strutting his stuff in the Colombian second division or even players at the very beginning of their teenage years can be found and watched on the internet, the World Cup still has the ability to throw up some names us football fans are unaware of.
In 2002 the Senegalese national side rose to prominence, and on the back of their showings in Japan/South Korea a number of their star turns – namely Salif Diao, Henri Camara and El Hadji Diouf – rocked up in the Premier League. The same has happened to players after various surprise performances on the biggest stage, and we’re almost certain to see a few more appear from 2014.
Here are six shock players we at FFC towers think will be benefit from this year’s World Cup…
Right, we’ll start with an almost certainty in the shape of Campbell. The Costa Rican forward is currently owned by Arsenal, but despite having signed for the Gunners in 2011 from Saprissa in his homeland he has not yet pulled on the iconic red shirt.
Work permit issues and a need for experience saw the 22-year-old shipped out on loan to Lorient, Real Betis and most recently Olympiakos, but Arsene Wenger has spoken out to confirm that Campbell will be given a chance to impress ahead of next season. Pacey and with an eye for goal – as he showed against Manchester United in the Champions League last season – the youngster could be good weapon for the Gunners, and may well have had to wait longer for his chance if not for his country’s mazing World Cup run.
It’s a strange state of affairs when, arguably, the World Cup’s finest goalkeeper is unemployed! Ochoa was recently released by relegated French side Ajaccio, and is on the lookout for a new team.
His performances in Brazil have certainly done his chances no harm, with the big-haired stopper having been a key member of Mexico’s run to the last 16. Had their game against Holland ended about five minutes earlier, Ochoa may well still be in action in Brazil, but the twist of events now leave him free to negotiate a deal with a new club. Arsenal and Liverpool have been linked with him, so it would be no surprise to see the athletic goalie in the Premier League next season.
Ecuador may not have made it out of the group stage, but that did not stop Valencia impressing. The winger converted to a striker bagged three goals in three games for the South Americans, with his powerful yet graceful playing style making him an attractive prospect to Premier League sides.
Valencia is currently owned by Mexican side Pachuca – whom he netted 18 league goals for last season – and has been linked with Everton, Newcastle and West Ham.
Big, tall and composed, Omar Gonzalez has been a shining advert for the MLS’s ability to produce stars at this World Cup. The LA Galaxy centre-back was a key man in his USMNT’s successful qualification for the last 16, with his commanding displays earning much attention.
Surely it’s only a matter of time before big European sides start sniffing around the 25-year-old Texan, so it would be no shock to see him rock in the Premier League in the not too distant future.
Here’s the big man’s story… seems that he enjoys cooking as much as shackling top strikers!
Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game – Germany will most likely make it to the quarter finals – Algeria’s showings in Brazil have been impressive. Despite losing their opener, the North Africans still made their way out of Group H at the expense of the vastly more experienced Russians, with Slimani playing a key role.
The 26-year-old Sporting Lisbon star has already been linked with West Ham on the back of his showings, but if he can help Algeria achieve the impossible, even bigger sides may enter the running.
With his father Danny sitting on the Netherlands’ bench, there’s little wonder Blind has been performing wonders for his county at the World Cup.
The left-back’s displays for the Oranje have seen him emerge as a genuine option for a number of Europe’s top clubs, including Manchester United and Liverpool.
As well as being a solid full-back, Blind can function in midfield, and is rumoured to be free to leave Ajax for the right price. Premier League teams, form an orderly queue…