As we head towards January, and closer towards World Cup 2014, there’s no doubt that any player with international aspirations will be absolutely desperate to ensure that they get on that plane to Brazil. During World Cup years it is absolutely imperative that players play as often and as well as possible, as failure to ensure regular club football can often lead to a player losing their international place.
Unfortunately there are a number of players in Europe who aren’t getting the game time they would like, and with January just around the corner, we consider which internationals are likely to be considering a new club in the search for more playing time.
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)
It must be pretty difficult being Jermain Defoe. The guy scores a hatful of goals and yet he spends the majority of the time on the bench. Defoe’s main outings have been on the much-derided Europa League this season, and if he wants to make England’s 23-man World Cup squad he’s got a lot of work to do. The Tottenham striker will almost certainly be looking to move on in January, and a loan move to a club like Stoke or Sunderland could certainly be on the cards.
It is a rather odd conundrum that Vermaelen is both Arsenal club captain and the central defender who has contributed least to their current campaign. Despite having a massive impact after his arrival in North London, Vermaelen has seen his first team opportunities limited this term with the current partnership between Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker rewarding Arsenal with their best start to a season for some time. Vermaelen is one of a number of talented Belgian central defenders, and with Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen clear first choices for their clubs, Vermaelen needs a move in January if he is to force his way into coach Marc Wilmots’ thoughts.
The Brazilian number one is currently sitting on the bench at Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers, and it is crucial that Cesar gets a move in January to keep his hopes of playing for the host nation alive. The goalkeeper performed well last season, but has been forced to play second fiddle to Robert Green so far this year, and with just over a month to go until the transfer window opens, Cesar’s agent is sure to be scouring Europe for a new club.
Despite featuring regularly for Manchester City last season, it appears that new City boss Manuel Pellegrini simply doesn’t fancy the Birmingham born centre back. As his popularity with the City manager has waned so too has his popularity with England boss Roy Hodgson, and he now sits behind Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill. Failure to secure more regular football may see Lescott sit out the World Cup altogether, and with that in mind, he will no doubt be on the lookout for a new club when the window opens in a few weeks time.
The MLS season has just finished and that means that US based players are going to struggle for match fitness during the next few months – not an ideal situation to be in before the World Cup. With that in mind, there are currently plenty of players seeking European loan moves, and no doubt number one on plenty of club’s shopping lists will be former Tottenham and Fulham striker Clint Dempsey. Dempsey left Tottenham for Seattle in the summer, but with Spurs struggling for goals this season there’s every chance that Andre Villas-Boas would be keen to take the American on loan in January.