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World Cup, Group A from the Chelsea angle: Players to watch

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For the next month, much of the world will be wrapped up in the World Cup. Here are some players to keep an eye on from Group A.

Buda Mendes

BRAZIL

Jun. 12:  vs. Croatia
Jun. 17:  vs. Mexico
Jun. 23:  vs. Cameroon

Chelsea players: Ramires (42), David Luiz (36)*, Oscar (31), Willian (7)

Potential transfer targets: Unlike years past, we've yet to be linked with Hulk this summer though there's obviously still plenty of time for those stories to start.  Somewhat strangely, we have however been linked with Paulinho, who just arrived at Spurs a year ago.  Should anything actually materialize on that front however, it would be highly surprising to say the least.

Others: Teensy-weensy Bernard was hot stuff last summer before ending up at Shakhtar Donetsk but don't expect that to last for many more seasons.  He's basically David Luiz's adopted brother on the national team; had Sideshow stayed at Chelsea, there was an easy transfer rumor story in the making.  Personally, I think I still kind of like Luiz Gustavo though a bid last year for him could've possibly prevented us from buying Nemanja Matić, so in hindsight we're better off now.

* David Luiz will be joining Paris Saint-Germain on July 1st.

CAMEROON

Jun. 13:  vs. Mexico
Jun. 18:  vs. Croatia
Jun. 23:  vs. Brazil

Chelsea players: Samuel Eto'o (117)*

Potential transfer targets: Marseille's center back Nicolas N'Koulou, 24, often pops up in transfer rumors, mostly of the '[big club] monitoring player' kind.  Joël Matip, 22, who we saw twice last season in our two 3-0 wins over Schalke 04 in the Champions League, is one of the hotter young defender prospects in Europe, though I've yet to see much of anything by way of Chelsea links.

Others: Alex Song is still a quality player despite being a bit buried at Barcelona for the last two seasons.  Maxim Choupo-Moting was a Football Manager stud once upon a time.

* Eto'o's contract is expiring on June 30th and most likely will not be extended.

CROATIA

Jun. 12:  vs. Brazil
Jun. 18:  vs. Cameroon
Jun. 23:  vs. Mexico

Chelsea players:  none

Potential transfer targets: While it looks like we will be going with Diego Costa instead, Mario Mandžukić could've just as easily ended up at Chelsea had we bothered to truly pursue him.  Having played a key part in perhaps the greatest club side ever (Bayern 2012-13), he would've been a more than welcome solution to Chelsea's striker problems.  In a similar vein, we have seemingly passed up the opportunity to try to sign Ivan Rakitić, which, unless he only ever wanted to go to Barcelona, is a bit silly.

Others: You may remember Luka Modrić and Darijo Srna as objects of unfettered desires from transfer windows past.  Damn you, Daniel Levy!  Inter's budding star Mateo Kovačič is a name we'll be hearing a lot in the next few years.  Southampton's Dejan Lovren had himself a pretty good first season in the Premier League and he's just entering his prime at 24.

MEXICO

Jun. 13:  vs. Cameroon
Jun. 17:  vs. Brazil
Jun. 23:  vs. Croatia

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: Javier Hernández makes the rumor rounds almost every summer thanks to being just third-fiddle at United.  Since he'd probably play a similar super-sub role at Chelsea - not to mention the general, Fàbregas-level dislike of the player - I doubt that'll ever happen.  It wouldn't be the worst thing for our striker corps though, to have a true poacher like Chicharito.

Others: Gio dos Santos has resurrected his career in Spain, while 100+ cap-man Andrés Guardado is still just 27.  There are several young, potentially quite talented players on the roster who could make a splash - such as Miguel Layún, Diego Reyes, or just about any and every midfielder - especially if Mexico manage to get out of the group.