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Why World Cup Transfers Are A Hit And Miss

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has come and gone in a flash.

Cody Gakpo

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has come and gone in a flash. The month-long tournament served up memorable moments, from shock wins for Saudi Arabia and Japan over Argentina and Germany respectively to elation for Lionel Messi lifting the trophy for the first time. 

The World Cup has global appeal as the world’s finest footballers go to battle for their country and are watched by over one billion people. The Qatar World Cup proved to be a great way for players to secure a move during the January transfer window provided they impressed the plethora of scouts who watched the matches. 

Should Players Be Bought Based On World Cup Performance?

It’s hard to discern whether a player’s performance at the World Cup will translate into similar form at the club level. Various factors contribute to a player doing well at the tournament. 

YouTube football channel Tifo, outlined a few reasons why the World Cup could bring out the best in a player such as: inspired to perform for their country and be patriotic, they’re better suited to the team’s tactical system, and the team culture is better in a more relaxed setting speaking the same language. 

A prime example of a player who was signed off the back of a sterling World Cup performance was former Brazilian international Kleberson. The midfielder joined Manchester United after winning the World Cup in 2002 but failed to fill the boots of Juan Sebastian Veron whom he replaced and was shifted out after just two seasons. 

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson mentioned in his autobiography how “sometimes players get themselves motivated and prepared for World Cups and European Championships and after that, there can be a leveling off.” 

On the other hand, players like Mesut Özil and James Rodríguez show that a starring performance at a World Cup can be replicated at the club level. Özil was brilliant for Germany in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and moved from Werder Bremen to Real Madrid. The attacking midfielder shone for the Spanish giants and won La Liga in his second season. 

Four years after the tournament in South Africa, Colombian attacking midfielder Rodríguez set the world alight with a supreme volley in the Round of 16 ties against Uruguay and was named Goal of the Tournament. Once again Real Madrid came knocking and Rodríguez moved from Porto to Spain, in a big-money move. He went on to score 29 in 85 appearances and fell out of favour with manager Zinedine Zidane which necessitated a move to Bayern Munich. 

It’s hard to pin down which players will excel after performing well at the World Cup, but clubs who make a signing based solely on a player starring for their country need to bear it may not mirror their form at the club. 

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