Juan Mata – Manchester United – Midfielder
It seemed ludicrous to sell back-to-back Chelsea player of the year Juan Mata, and especially to a big rival like United. But it may have been the right move for both sides. Mata clearly wasn’t in Jose Mourinho’s plans for this season and the player himself was desperately in need of playing time. In his first two appearances for United he has looked quite good, picking up an assist in both games. The rest of the season is vital for Mata if he wants to make it to the World Cup. A player of his calibre deserves to be in the Spanish side but he really has to pour it on now.
Clint Dempsey – Fulham – Midfielder
After a dismal start with Seattle in the MLS, Dempsey has come back to the Premier League looking for some redemption. He scored only once in 12 appearances for Seattle and looked a shadow of the player that he was in England. He now faces the daunting task of re-finding form in the toughest league in the world. It’s hard to imagine him not in the US side for the World Cup but, nonetheless, he has to prove he belongs.
Fernando Torres – Chelsea – Forward
It has been a long time since El Nino has been firing on all cylinders. Although he has had some lively performances since moving from Liverpool it just hasn’t been the same. He will be 30 by the World Cup and this may be his last real chance for Spain. Based on his current form it is very unlikely that he would be picked but he does have the track record to be one of the best. If he could recapture even half of his best form he might just be able to squeeze onto the plane headed for Brazil.
Erik Lamela – Spurs – Winger
Lamela had a brilliant 2012/13 season for Roma and scored 15 times in 33 matches, however it just hasn’t been the same since moving to Spurs this season. He has featured only 9 times in the league and scored just once. If you went back to the end of last season you would have been almost certain he would be at the World Cup but now it looks much different. Lamela possess a lot of quality and is still quite young so not making it to Brazil wouldn’t be the worst thing. However, If he can regain his form he still has a chance to make it to this World Cup.
Michu – Swansea – Forward
Michu is another player who was brilliant last year with many calling for his inclusion in the Spain squad. He made one appearance for Spain in 2013 and was expected to make more after exhibiting some great form but the Spanish interest has really cooled this season. He was the key to Swansea’s success last season but has been unable to replicate his form this time round. Sure injuries have been part of the reason, but at 27 years old it is unlikely that he would feature in 2018 so this may be his only chance to appear at a World Cup. It would be a massive accomplishment for him to make it to Brazil but at this point it looks quite unlikely.
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