5) Mateo Kovacic
The former Inter star has spent the majority of his Real Madrid career sitting on the bench. While 2 Champions League titles and a La Liga title might suggest that Kovacic has had a successful time in Madrid; the reality is far from it. Brought in to provide competition to the fellow compatriot Luka Modric, Kovacic has found chances hard to come by. He featured just a mere 19 times in the La Liga last season, finishing the season with 2 goals and 3 assists to his name. His first season with Madrid cost him a starting place in the Euro’16. Therefore, Kovacic would be wary of a repeat of the situation in the next year’s World Cup. With Real having already signed Dani Ceballos and Isco flourishing, Kovacic could once again find himself warming the bench and as such should seek a move away from the club if he wants to stand any chance of playing in Russia.
4) Lucas Moura
Lucas Moura was the subject of interest for Manchester United before he arrived in Europe to join a growing PSG. Sir Alex Ferguson was keen on bringing the precocious Brazilian to Old Trafford but was outbid by the Qatari Owners, who paid a hefty 45 million for the 18-year old. Despite arriving to great fanfare, Lucas has done little to justify his price tag. He is often guilty of a lack of end product and severely lacks consistency. Having said that, last season was incidentally Lucas’ best season for PSG, scoring 19 goals. However, the situation is going to be a whole lot different this time with Neymar and Mbappe’s arrival. Draxler’s arrival in January already relegated Lucas to the bench last season, and it looks highly unlikely that Moura would play a pivotal role for the Parisians. With the competition for places in the national team tougher than ever, Lucas desperately needs to move on and get regular action in order to prove Tite that he is worthy of a place in the 23-man squad for the World Cup next year.
3) Javier Mascherano
A steadfast servant for the Catalans, Mascherano is in the twilight of his illustrious career. The midfielder turned defender has been a great player for Barcelona ever since his move from Liverpool and has won several titles with the Spanish giants. However, like every great thing in this world, Mascherano’s time at Barcelona too is coming to an inevitable end. With Umtiti now preferred playing alongside Pique, Mascherano found opportunities hard to come by. Moreover, the new manager Ernesto Valverde clearly prefers playing Rakitic or Paulinho in Busquets’ absence and as such leaves little room for Mascherano. His departure would create a huge gap in the Barcelona setup and is therefore hard to imagine him leaving mid-season; however, a move could reignite hopes of making it to Russia with the national team next summer.
2) Lucas Vazquez
The fact that Lucas Vazquez made just 12 appearances last season is a testament to Real Madrid’s strength in depth. If Lucas were at any club other than Real, he would have been an automatic starter; such is his quality. Now 26, Lucas is entering the prime of his career and commands regular playing time; however, with Real already nicely stacked in the attacking department, a repeat of last season is on the cards for the Spanish winger. He should instead follow Pedro’s path, who himself moved on from a bench role at Barca to play a quintessential role in Chelsea’s Premier League win last season.
1) Julian Draxler
One of Germany’s best talents in recent years, Julian Draxler has already found himself in difficult situations despite his relatively young age. Since emerging on the stage for Schalke, the young German was inevitably linked with a move to Bayern. However, he decided to stay put only to move to rivals Wolfsburg a few years later, annoying large sections of the Gelsenkirchen faithful. His exit from Wolfsburg too was a well-documented story. However, when he moved to PSG in January, it looked like Draxler had finally found his place; nevertheless, ninth months later, Draxler finds himself playing a squad role in a star-studded PSG side. A player of his unimpeachable talent would understandably be annoyed at a bit-part role and would be ready for yet another move in his career. A move to Bayern could prove beneficial for both the Bavarians and Draxler. Despite being named the player of the tournament in the Confederations Cup, Draxler needs regular playing time in order to guarantee a place in the starting eleven for Jogi Low’s side next year.