The World Cup is in full gear and there have been a series of fantastic performances from both Premier League and non Premier League players. I’m going to look at a series of players here who have been rumored to be joining the Premier League. I’ll mostly be looking at players who’ve raised their stock, but will also look at the performance of some other notables.
Aurier plays right back for Toulouse and the Ivory Coast. Arsenal need someone to replace the departed Bacary Sagna and Aurier is ready. He was reportedly available for somewhere in the region of £5.5m but that price has certainly increased during his three matches in Brazil. Aurier assisted both Ivory Coast goals in the first match and played great in the second, creating chances that his strikers didn’t finish. He was a bit quieter in the third but he was clearly good enough to be a starting right-back in the Premier League. If Arsenal can land him for less than £10m, it could be a bargain. As a comparison, I don’t think Aurier is far behind Luke Shaw and Shaw just went to Manchester United for £30m.
Around May, there had been rumors that James Rodriguez is unhappy at Monaco and could be on his way to Liverpool. The Reds can certainly use the depth as they try to balance the Premier League and the Champions League next season, and a combination of James Rodriguez and Adam Lallana could be exactly what they need to compete for both. James was signed for a huge £36m fee last summer, so he isn’t coming for cheap, especially after his monster World Cup performances so far. The Colombian midfielder has 3 goals and 2 assists in 2.5 matches played, twice being named the Man of the Match (oh by the way, he’s 22 years old). He single handedly picks defenses apart, plays through balls as good as Andres Iniesta, and finishes like a striker. If he continues playing as well, £36m won’t be enough.
There have been several different rumors surrounding Benzema. There was talk Arsenal might be looking into him to pair up with fellow Frenchman Olivier Giroud and there was talk that he could be used as part of a deal for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. With Suarez being suspended for four months, I’m not sure Real Madrid will want to part ways with Benzema and wait for Suarez to play, but depending on who else Real are targeting, it is possible they let him go. If they do let him leave, expect a huge price. Benzema was Real Madrid’s main striker this season and registered 17 goals and 9 assists in 34 matches. Even more impressive has been his World Cup performance. Benzema has scored 3 goals and assisted twice in three World Cup matches. He also scored a goal that was marked down as an own goal by the goalkeeper. That makes it 4 goals and 2 assists in three matches. He’s looked confident, strong, and has even played the wing at times when Olivier Giroud has been on the pitch. The do-it-all forward will be expensive if he is let go by Madrid.
Another Arsenal target, Valbuena has done well to raise his value. In two games for France, Valbuena registered a goal and an assist, but he’s also been very active. He’s created six chances (according to Squawka), and has had both shot and pass accuracy of 80% or higher. Valbuena can provide the kind of depth Arsenal need to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League titles their fans have been waiting for.
Valencia has been looked at by a number of Premier League clubs, mainly Everton, Tottenham, Southampton, and Newcastle. Southampton are a great fit, considering they don’t have a striker and can afford him after selling Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, and most likely Adam Lallana. Valencia has looked like a competent enough striker to play in the Premier League as he was one of Ecuador’s main bright spots during the World Cup. He can lead the line and finish chances, although he won’t create for himself as much as others. Fans will hope he ends up more consistent than fellow Ecuadorian Antonio Valencia.
Diego Costa is almost certainly headed to Chelsea. Costa scored 27 goals in 34 La Liga appearances and 8 goals in 9 Champions League matches last season but he has had trouble in this World Cup. The entire Spanish team struggled so it’s hard to simply blame Costa for it. After all, he earned the penalty for the only goal Spain scored in their first two matches. It will be interesting to see how Costa adjusts to life in the Premier League but the World Cup has Chelsea fans worried.
The Chile midfielder is a hot commodity. Manchester United are reportedly ready to make a £30m offer and Arsenal are ready to top it with a £44m one. Vidal is a fantastic midfielder but has had a poor World Cup, partially attributed to injury. He had knee surgery a month before the tournament and wasn’t expected to be healthy for Chile’s first match but ended up starting and playing 60 minutes. He also played almost the full second match. In both games, Vidal struggled to create chances (1 chance created) and had trouble finding his shot(1 shot, off target). It seems Premier League teams aren’t reading too much into his World Cup performance(-12 performance score on Squawka) and it’s likely because of his injury. He also injured his Achilles tendon in Brazil and is questionable for Chile’s round of 16 match against Brazil. Expect him to be a bit slowed down if he ends up playing. Despite that, expect him to get a big payday once the World Cup is over.