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Transfer Window: Players Who Should Move to Help Their World Cup Chances | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Julian Draxler captains Germany to success in the Confederations Cup. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Diego Costa
Diego Costa’s situation at Chelsea keeps rumbling on. Back in June Antonio Conte sent the player a text message to tell him he had no future at the club, but Costa’s preferred move to Atlético Madrid is yet to materialise. Costa has accused Chelsea of pricing him out of the move but the situation at Atlético is complicated by their transfer ban, which prevents them from registering new players until January 2018.

Monaco, Marseille and Milan have apparently shown an interest in Costa but he is adamant about Atlético. “Chelsea have offered me to several clubs, but I was very clear with them,” he said. “I said that if I’m not part of the manager’s plans, I would like to choose my destination. I’m not going to let them decide just to get more money.”

Costa may have to compromise to keep his place in the Spain squad. Álvaro Morata, the player who was signed to replace him at Chelsea, is likely to lead the line for Spain in their World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein next weekend. Costa didn’t make the squad, with 35-year-old New York City forward David Villa called up to take his place. Costa has been playing five-a-side football with his friends in Brazil to stay fit but, if he wants to make an impact in what could be the final World Cup of his career, he will need to prove himself against tougher opponents over the next nine months.

Michy Batshuayi
Michy Batshuayi isn’t out in the cold at Chelsea like Costa, but the 23-year-old is still very much on the fringes of the first team and may struggle to push his way into the Belgium side unless he can earn more starts in the Premier League. Romelu Lukaku will almost certainly lead the line for Roberto Martínez’s team next summer but Batshuayi needs to be ready to pounce if the Manchester United striker suffers an injury or a dip in form.

As things stand, Batshuayi is not even guaranteed a place in the squad. Last season – his seventh as a senior professional – he was only on the pitch for 239 minutes in the Premier League. Ambitious interest from Lille has emerged this week and a return to France would make sense for a player who made his name in Ligue 1, where he scored 17 goals and laid on nine assists in his final campaign with Marseille.

Anthony Martial

Sticking to the topic of strikers who are playing second fiddle to Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial will be hoping his early season form as an impact substitute for Manchester United will convince José Mourinho to give him more chances. With two goals and one assist in just 26 minutes of action this season, the 21-year-old has been key for United; five of their eight goals so far have come with him on the pitch.

He’ll hope to play a bigger part for his country next summer too, but France have an abundance of attacking competition. Didier Deschamps’ squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Holland and Luxembourg contained seven attackers – Kingsley Coman, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, Kylian Mbappé and Florian Thauvin – leaving Martial to compete on the outside alongside Dimitri Payet and Ousmane Dembéle. If Mbappé signs for Paris Saint-Germain, Martial could do worse than returning to Monaco and leading the line for them in the Champions League.

Julian Draxler
Mbappé’s potential move to Paris Saint-Germain could also affect Julian Draxler, who only joined the club in January but already looks surplus to requirements. Paris Saint-Germain need to balance their books after signing Neymar for £197m and Draxler has been linked with all sorts of clubs: Bayern Munich, Arsenal if Alexis Sánchez leaves, Liverpool if Philippe Coutinho leaves, and Monaco as part of a deal for Mbappé.

The 23-year-old winger captained Germany to glory at the Confederations Cup earlier this summer and is very much a part of Jogi Löw’s plans, but limited league appearances would significantly harm his chances of finding a place in the starting XI once Germany’s senior stars return. The world champions are not short of attacking talent so the last thing he needs is a season on the bench.

Ross Barkley
Everton valued Ross Barkley at £50m earlier this year but he could leave the club in the next week for half that fee given the understandable lack of interest. With just one year remaining on his deal, the midfielder refused to extend his contract having been given an ultimatum by manager Ronald Koeman. With no serious bids forthcoming, both he and the club are left in a sticky situation.

A hamstring injury suffered in pre-season has also held up a transfer, though Tottenham and Chelsea appear to be interested in the 23-year-old if the price is right. Barkley has hopes of playing in Russia next year despite a lack of action under Gareth Southgate so far. Playing Champions League football for either Mauricio Pochettino or Antonio Conte could prove a godsend for a player with undoubted ability – no Englishman has registered more assists over the last two Premier League seasons (16).

(The Guardian)