As with South Africa four years ago, the pre-tournament talk going into this years Brazilian World Cup was of stadium issues, crime and local disorder but, just like back in 2010, the concerns appear to have been over played (so far). There is however one huge difference between 2010 and 2014…..the quality of the football so far in Brazil has been unbelievable, unmissable and full of goals and top players stepping up to perform.
So, which players have caught the eye of our RedRants team and, more importantly, you?
Dan C singles out Eduardo Vargas:
Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez might have been Chile’s most recognised stars going into the World Cup, but in the first two games Eduardo Vargas arguably outshone both of his teammates and looks to have finally seized his chance to shine on a big stage.
The 24-year-old was La Roja’s joint top-scorer in their qualifying campaign and his performance against Spain highlighted just how crucial a figure he’s in Jorge Sanpaoli’s team.
Vargas scored the opener and was a constant thorn in the side for Spain, with neither Sergio Ramos nor Javi Martinez able to cope with the Chilean, who fits the “false nine” role to perfection in Sanpaoli’s ultra-attacking approach.
Vargas first shone under the current Chile coach at Universidad de Chile, scoring 32 times in 78 appearances before moving to Napoli for £11.5m in December 2011.
Vargas has so failed to make an impact in Serie A, however, and was loaned to Gremio for the second half of the 2012-13 season and then to Valencia in January, where he impressed scoring five times and assisting four goals in 20 appearances
Skilful, quick and creative, Vargas would fit in seamlessly in Van Gaal’s 4-3-3 but his performances have the World Cup are likely to attract interest from a host of clubs.
@BusbySnakeHips tweeted “That RB Arsenal are linked with for the Ivory Coast. Aurier, he had an assist for both of their goals. Looks a prospect him”
Ian opts for a Croatian winger in Ivan Perišic:
Perhaps his standout performance against Cameroon last night means Perišic is not quite the hidden star he was yesterday but I’d already singled him out during the fantastic opening game of the tournament in which Croatia were narrowly beaten by the hosts. Last night just strengthened his case.
Perišic plays his football in Germany with Wolfsburg after being offloaded by Dortmund in January 2013. He’s a winger with deceptive pace and great ball control whilst on the move. His assist for Ivica Olic on Wednesday night was a sure sign the 25-year-old has the awareness and decision making ability to pick a tight pass under pressure and, crucially, the ability to make that pass stick. Olic’s reaction to Perišic’s part in the goal was testament to the quality of the through ball squeezed through the narrowest of gaps and via the tightest of angles. Rather than celebrating the goal personally, Olic made a B-Line to Perišic to acknowledge his involvement, a nice touch but the pass was more than worthy of it.
As if that wasn’t enough, Perišic soon went from provider to goalscorer himself with a goal of great individual brilliance including a composed, deliberate, well executed feint to send the keeper out of the game opening the near post for a finish he made look easy.
With United’s history entrenched in wing play and the recent lack of quality in that area from the likes of Nani and Valencia, it could be argued, despite not knowing van Gaal’s plans, there’s a space for one (possibly even two) wingers within the squad. If there is Perišic looks a good shout as he’s capable of playing both right and left.
So, what’s his value? Well – much to Wolfsburg and his agent’s delight I’m sure – it’s undoubtedly increased this week. That will however, please Everton’s Roberto Martinez considerably less so as he is rumoured to be interested in the Croatian at £8m. If Perišic continues to impress, that figure could feasibly double or even triple considering he still has there years left on his current contract.
@keano_mu tweeted “Cuadrado looked decent” and we have to agree, the Colombian looked pacey and worthy of a mention in here.
Rob J has also been drawn towards a winger by the name of ‘James’ Rodriguez:
Rodriguez put in an excellent performance for Colombia against Greece. He is far from an unknown quantity, having played for Porto and then moving to Monaco for a large transfer fee; however this is the first time he has been given the chance to prove himself on the biggest stage. He showed good pace and strength, with him gliding past opponents at times, but also showed he had a lot of composure on the ball, with an ability to pick out key passes and score regularly with his magical left foot.
He can play as a winger, or in the number 10 role, and although United have many players who can play behind the striker, Rodriguez is much more direct, with him being a cross between Januzaj and Mata. Whether his potential signing is realistic is another thing, with it being unlikely Monaco would let him go. Despite this, Rodriguez would be an excellent acquisition, with him offering something different to what United already have, and at the age of 22, his best is still to come.
@DareToWelbz tweeted “Enner Valencia. Guy’s real good” and again we have to agree, he wanted to effect the game every time Ecuador were in possession.
Loyal RedRants reader and contributor, Stephen, believes Daley Blind is the one to keep an eye on:
A player who has really impressed me is Daley Blind. I know he is relatively obvious, but I think he would be ideal for United. He can play in at least 2 positions, great at going forward and can play as a holding midfield player. He would be a cheaper, more adaptable option than Luke Shaw and he also links up well with RVP. At 5’11 and 24 years old he would (sadly but realistically) provide the ideal Glazer ingredient, that being good “value”
Finally, new boy Dan Ror opted to add some much needed steel to our midfield with Chile’s Arturo Vidal:
Vidal is a player that I, along with alot of other United fans I’m sure, has dreamed of having at United for a number of years.
Although I have wanted him at United for a few years this was mainly due to hearing positive things from other people, I can’t say I’d seen him play that often but my admiration for him has been cemented whilst watching him in this World Cup.
Although he is just back from knee surgery he played like a man on fire against Spain last night and perfectly tied together the whole Chilean team. The 27 year old, who plays for Juventus, got forward when his team had the ball but came back to defend when they were without it. He had a hand in the first goal and without him Chile’s fantastic victory over Spain, which sent the defending champions out, would have been a lot tougher. Hopefully Louis Van Gaal will feels the same as me after Chile take on Holland next Monday therefore increasing the possibility of us seeing Vidal at Old Trafford next season!
Who’s caught your eye so far? Tell us who we should be looking out for and why…….