Here are 5 South American players who impressed immensely in this years World Cup finals, more importantly, 5 players who could potentially make the grade in the best league in the world this season:
Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
Undeniably Alexis Sanchez was Chile’s danger man and focal point in South Africa this summer and showed the whole world why he is such a promising prospect for the future of football. The 21-year-old dazzled many with his blistering pace, dribbling skills, attacking prowess and bags of trickery, and was by far Chile’s best player in South Africa this summer. Alexis Sanchez started all 4 games for his country and although he never bagged a goal in the tournament, the forward certainly helped Chile progress as far as they did in the tournament. The Chilean currently plays his club football in Italy for Serie A side Udinese, but has already attracted interest from Premier League titans Manchester United. The Udinese speed merchant can play in several positions including on the wing, upfront and as a second striker. Although the versatile forward only stands at 5’ 7’’, Sanchez is physically equipped to tackle the English game. He would be a great addition to the Premier League, but will cost any team interested a reported £20 million this summer due to his performances in the World Cup.
Antolin Alcaraz (Paraguay)
The Paraguayan international certainly put himself on the map this summer and showed many football fans what he is capable of. The 27-year-old centre-back possesses great strength, pace, positional sense, and standing at 6’ 2’’ also acquires good aerial ability. Having watched the defender this summer, he is also a very tidy and composed footballer, very good to see in a defender these days. Alcaraz did sign a pre-contract agreement deal with Wigan Athletic before the World Cup started. However, the Paraguayan may pull the plug on the deal in hope of signing for a bigger club this summer following promising performances in South Africa. Alcaraz was easily one of Paraguay’s most consistent performers and played 4 out of the 5 matches in the tournament where he bagged a goal as well. Alcaraz has the correct attributes and stature to play in the Premier League this season.
Carlos Salcido (Mexico)
Other than Portugal’s Fabio Coentrao, Carlos Salcido was arguably one of the best full-backs in the tournament this summer. The 30-year-old Mexican international was absolutely solid throughout Mexico’s time in South Africa and was one of the side’s better performers. Salcido possesses superb pace which he utilizes to bomb up and down the left flank as well as good positional sense and strength. The Mexican currently plays his club football in Holland for PSV and has been since 2006. Chelsea have been reportedly linked with the Mexican in the past and may rekindle their interest in the player after seeing him in the World Cup this summer. Salcido would fit the Premier League brilliantly as the player attains the right attributes, and could potentially leave PSV for approximately £7-10 million this summer.
Diego Lugano (Uruguay)
The 29-year-old solid centre-back was without a doubt one of the best performers in his position this summer. Diego Lugano led his country brilliantly in the World Cup and was an intricate figure in the Uruguayans back-line in South Africa. The 6’ 2’’ defender impressed immensely with his tough man-marking, aerial ability, positional sense and has a commanding voice on the pitch which makes him a natural leader. The Uruguayan is currently contracted to Turkish side Fenerbahce, but will no doubt have attracted many clubs around Europe after a fine tournament with his country this summer. Lugano could easily adapt to the English game as he exemplifies what the Premier League is all about, competitive, fast and spirited. A Premier League club should definitely take a look at Lugano as the Uruguayan captain could potentially do a great job in the back-line for any team in the league. Premier League clubs could acquire the services of the powerful centre-back if a bid within the region of £6-8 million was tabled this summer.
Michel Bastos (Brazil)
It is almost a ‘mission impossible’ job for Lyon’s Michel Bastos (or in fact any Brazilian) to be the next Roberto Carlos, but the 26-year-old did have a good tournament in the full-back position this summer. Bastos appeared in all 5 games for Brazil in South Africa and showed signs of why Premier League clubs are interested in the player’s services. Traditionally a left winger, Bastos had to settle for the left-back slot this summer as Robinho took his place on the left wing in the team. The 5’ 10’’ Lyon man adapted well to the full-back role, and although sitting further back as he would have liked, the Brazilian still bombed forward. Bastos possesses great pace, skill and movement as well as a threat to opposing defenders when he explodes forward. His defensive attributes need improving, but primarily he is a left winger who likes to get forward. Many fans will know what Bastos capabilities are as he did make appearances in the Champion’s League last season which of course he performed well in. The Brazilian would adapt well to the English game’s pace and competitiveness. However, the biggest problem that poses clubs interested would be the player’s price tag. Taking into account that Lyon acquired Michel Bastos from Lille OSC last summer for approximately £15 million, and the player boasting a good tournament this summer, Bastos could potentially cost up to £18-25 million. Whatever the case maybe, the Brazilian would make a good addition to the Premier League this season…should someone acquire him of course.
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