After a record-breaking transfer window the Premier League has seen the furore surrounding deadline day viewed with both scepticism and excitement in equal measure.
While a whole host of international stars have made the move across Europe in search of improved wages and first-team football, it's worth considering that next summer's showpiece in Brazil looms large. The 2014 World Cup may provide the only opportunity for a professional at the peak of their powers to grace the game's most historic stage.
Competition for a place in just about every major nation's 23-man squad for the South American festival of football is understandably high, with a strong season for both club and country absolutely imperative to a player's chances of selection.
Without question next summer's finals played a part in a string of deals across England during the close season, but which players have made a conscious effort to prove to their international manager they are willing to do whatever it takes to play for their country in Brazil?
The Belgian powerhouse made a surprise last-ditch switch to Everton before the transfer window slammed shut on Monday night, despite featuring consistently under Blues boss Jose Mourinho during pre-season.
With Christian Benteke in sensational form for Aston Villa a starting spot for Belgium must have come into Lukaku's thinking, particularly when faced with the prospect of a fringe role at Stamford Bridge following the signing of Samuel Eto'o last week.
Lukaku has played 21 times for Belgium just four months after his 20th birthday, with a starting place alongside Benteke normally assured. Belgium boss Marc Wilmots has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal though, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Nacer Chadli and Dries Mertens all capable of playing in more advanced positions.
A loan move to West Bromwich Albion would have been the safe option for Lukaku, but a short-term switch to Goodison Park as suggested by Mourinho shows the forward has the immediate ambition to match his considerable talent.
Another deadline-day arrival on Merseyside was England midfielder Gareth Barry, who decided to leave Manchester City after failing to figure in new manager Manuel Pellegrini's plans. Barry has largely been a regular in England squads since 2008, earning 53 caps for his country in a holding midfield role.
The 32-year-old soon realised his place in Roy Hodgson's plans would come under severe threat this season though, with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverly being followed into Hodgson's thoughts by the rapid rise of Everton youngster Ross Barkley.
Barry was part of England's squad for the last World Cup in South Africa three years ago, but must hold bitter memories of playing a full part during the Three Lions' 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany in the last 16. At 32, next summer's tournament probably represents Barry's last chance to play for his country in a major competition, which helped make up the midfielder's mind over a move to Merseyside.
Manchester City may have shelled out £30million to sign Fernandinho in June, but the Brazilian midfielder has barely managed to grab the attention of Seleção boss Luiz Felipe Scolari in the last 12 months.
Fernandinho has played just five times for his country, despite producing stellar performances in the Champions League for Shaktar Donestk on a consistent basis. Scolari has preferred the likes of Paulinho, Luis Gustavo, Hernanes in a talent-laden central midfield for Brazil, with their impressive displays in this summer's Confederations Cup setting Fernandinho's chances of inclusion back further.
The 28-year-old is running out of time to make his mark on the international stage, which no doubt prompted a move to the Premier League which provides increased exposure on a weekly basis.
Another import from the Brazilian conveyor belt at Shakhtar Donetsk, Willian's move to Stamford Bridge may see the playmaker finally be considered worthy of selection for the Seleção. Blues boss Jose Mourinho hijacked the 25-year-old's move to Tottenham Hotspur last month, swooping to bring the attacking midfielder to Stamford Bridge.
Willian has been courted by a string of top European clubs for a prolonged period of time, but surprisingly has never figured for the senior Seleção side. A brief pair of caps in 2011 saw the midfielder make his international debut against Gabon, but Scolari's return to the post pretty much dampened any hopes of a sustained run in the side.
Once again strength in depth has been a problem for a Brazilian who up until now has almost exclusively played his club football in Eastern Europe. In joining Chelsea though Willian could have hardly picked a new club more familiar to Scolari, following his short spell at Stamford Bride in 2009.
While Willians's first task is to earn regular playing time in a star-studded Chelsea side, a World Cup bow on home soil must remain a burning personal ambition.
Now there is little doubt that Mesut Ozil would have in all likelihood stayed in Germany boss Joachim Low's plans for next summer's World Cup, even without his dramatic deadline-day switch to Arsenal.
Ozil's move in international terms is more about finding peak form ahead of next summer's finals, particularly with Mario Gotze and Ilkay Gundogan's coming up hot on Ozil's heels as consistent attacking options in the final third.
Reduced playing time at Real Madrid this year was simply not an option for a player of Ozil's calibre, with the 24-year-old planning to hit peak form in the next few years as he arguably enters his prime.
Arsene Wenger's £42.4million move should not only provide Ozil with the central platform for his club career to blossom in the Premier League, but to improve areas of his game with the confidence of a coach who trusts his ability implicitly.
Germany coach Löw can now count on a proven commodity to be gunning for not only a place in his starting 11 in South America next summer, but hopes of defining his career by beating the likes of Spain and Brazil to win Germany's first World Cup since 1990
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/130seMa
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms