Teamwork, by and large, won the day over individual brilliance at the 2010 World Cup and that message is being felt in the transfer market, where there has been limited activity compared to recent summers.
Global belt-tightening has not helped either, with many clubs looking at consolidation rather than ambitious rebuilding.
However there are still 49 shopping days until the transfer window closes at 6pm on 31 August and there are many deals out there to be done. The events of the past month in South Africa will inevitably have an impact, although the days when an unknown boy from Brazil could walk from the beach at Rio to world fame thanks to a couple of decent games at the World Cup are long gone, killed off by the rise of satellite TV and the internet.
Many managers believe the World Cup is a red herring when it comes to choosing players. Back in April, Arsenal's Arsène Wenger said: "The World Cup will not affect our recruitment. It is dangerous to buy on the back of a World Cup. The prices are artificial and you have to bear in mind that anyone can have three weeks of glory."
The sentiment was echoed this week by the Everton manager, David Moyes, who warned that players can look good for their country but then not bother so much for their clubs. "I don't think it's a market where anyone particularly buys from," he said.
However, even those sceptics will have been impressed with the likes of Thomas Müller, Luis Suarez, Mesut Ozil and Wesley Sneijder at the World Cup. These are the players who have undoubtedly added a few million pounds to their value while others, like Fernando Torres, who, while not completely fit, struggled in South Africa, may have seen their price fall.
Derek Bragg, the head of football operations at the Scouting Network, believes clubs have missed out on the chance of landing a bargain because they were afraid to take a risk. "A lot of Premier League clubs don't want to gamble," he said.
Bragg predicts the biggest transfers this summer are likely to involve either Manchester City, who have already spent more than £60m on Yaya Touré, David Silva and Jérôme Boateng and are intent on adding at least two more players, or players such as Cesc Fabregas, Torres and Javier Mascherano, who are keen to leave their current clubs for various reasons.
Such players will need to be replaced, however, and those who proved their worth in South Africa are likely to be near the top of clubs' shopping lists, while those who flopped could be heading for the bargain bucket.
1. Everyone loves a winner, part 1: Cesc Fabregas
The pictures of Fabregas wearing a Barcelona shirt and holding the World Cup may have Arsenal fans worried; in fairness, it seems entirely believable that it was a prank by his Spain team-mates, and Fabregas did look reluctant to be in Barça colours, for obvious reasons. But he is unlikely to be so sheepish over the next few weeks. The 23-year-old midfielder, who turned Sunday's final in Spain's favour when he came on against the Netherlands, is likely to want the much-discussed deal to take him from the Emirates to the Nou Camp to go ahead, having signalled his intention to leave north London at the end of last season, especially as he has finally won something after five trophyless years at Arsenal. The new Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, is sounding reluctant to chase the price up, but a deal for around £35m should be enough for Fabregas to make the return trip to the club where he began his career.
2. Everyone likes a winner, part 2: Fernando Torres
Torres was hardly central to Spain's triumph – he failed to score a goal and was a substitute in the final – but do not expect that to dampen Chelsea's desire to sign him. Should we read much into the Liverpool striker posing in a club scarf with the World Cup? Well, he has a four years left on his contract at Anfield and the new Liverpool manager, Roy Hodgson, is prepared to fight to keep him. No doubt the desire to win trophies may make him want to move, and Chelsea are so keen to get him they have registered their intention to start the bidding with a British record £40m. The extent of the groin injury he suffered in the closing moments of Sunday's final will have an influence, but the key factor is likely to be Hodgson's intransigence. Liverpool feel it would be unfair on him to have to start his reign at the club with the loss of one of his best players.
3. Roy Hodgson's other problem: Steven Gerrard
If Torres is staying, the situation with Gerrard is far less clear-cut. He has been at Anfield for 12 years and the club may be prepared to let him go. Nonetheless, the midfielder was one of those England players who looked past their prime in South Africa and it is a perception that has deterred Real Madrid from signing him. Jose Mourinho tried three times to buy Gerrard for Chelsea, and wanted finally to succeed having taken over at the Bernabeu last month. However, Real officials revealed yesterday that Liverpool had asked for £58m for their 30-year-old captain and there is now no chance of a deal happening. Real's transfer consultant Ernesto Bronzetti said: "The president [Florentino Perez] does not agree with Gerrard because he is 30 and Perez doesn't want to know. Plus, Liverpool asked for £58m." Bronzetti said they would look for a similar player to Gerrard who is both cheaper and younger.
4. Manchester City: still the big spenders
Nobody can match City's financial firepower: already this season they have bought Boateng, Silva and Yaya Touré and they won't stop there. Edin Dzeko is the next man on City's radar, and while Wolfsburg's £50m asking price for the Bosnian striker looks high, it is unlikely to prove an insurmountable obstacle for the richest club in football. City are far from the only team interested, though: Juventus are also looking to sign the striker. The Juve director general, Beppe Marotta, said: "Dzeko? It's the dream that I'm working on. He is one of the best strikers in the world and clearly he is an object of our desire."
5. Young Germans: this year's must-haves
Müller, the Golden Boot winner, was one of the unlikely stars to emerge from this World Cup and the 20-year-old has attracted plenty of interest, not least from the Premier League. His agent, Pius Minder, believes the Bayern Munich midfielder's value has tripled in the past month. "£8m? Bayern would not pick up the phone for that amount," he said. But if Müller is worth £24m, then what about Ozil? Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been impressed by the 21-year-old's classy touch and ability to pick out the right pass. Even better, his contract runs out in a year's time, so his price should in theory be lower. But Werder Bremen's general manager, Klaus Allofs, has made it clear he will not sell his prize asset this summer, saying he would rather let him leave for nothing next year.
6. Germany's elder statesmen
For clubs with less patience than to work with unpolished gems, then Bastian Schweinsteiger is the finished article. At 25 he is entering his prime, and his displays in the Germany midfield were exceptional. Chelsea and Real Madrid, two clubs not afraid of spending big, are interested and Schweinsteiger recently admitted he is "not married to Bayern Munich" – but a transfer fee of around £30m might put everyone off. Miroslav Klose was also impressive – yet again – during the World Cup, bad news for West Ham who believed they had an agreement to sign him.
7. Wither Joe Cole?
Joe Cole went to South Africa hoping to showcase his talents to potential suitors, having been released by Chelsea. And while England's meek performances only added weight to the perception that many of their players are past their best, Cole's position on the bench meant his reputation may have improved, if anything. His most enthusiastic suitor appears to be Harry Redknapp. The Tottenham manager has spoken frequently about his desire to bring Cole to White Hart Lane. "I signed Joe for West Ham when he was 11," he said this week. "What makes him tick is his love of the game and his need to be playing it. That is what I am offering him."
8. Asamoah Gyan: 'I dream of England'
Few African players seized the opportunity to impress the watching world in South Africa but Asamoah Gyan, Ghana's 24-year-old striker, was one of the exceptions, with rumours that Liverpool will offer around £20m to Rennes should they lose Torres this summer. As a move, it would suit Gyan: "I always dream about playing in England," he said recently. "The sooner [I move there] the better."
9. Asia's most-wanted
As Manchester United's Park Ji-sung proved, Asian players can generate a lot of shirt sales back home. Will that influence the future of Japan's playmaker Keisuke Honda? Currently at CSKA Moscow, he is likely to move on, with Arsenal and Milan showing interest. Another Asian footballer, the North Korea striker Jong Tae-se, dubbed the "People's Rooney", is in demand. He was outstanding in the group stages and his performances have earned him a move to German side Bochum.
10. Luis Suarez
Semi-finalists Uruguay may have a lot to offer the transfer market. Suarez, their energetic striker, caught the eye, with three goals and a controversial handball in the quarter-final against Ghana. Manchester United and Chelsea could yet sign the 23-year-old, who finished top scorer in the Eredivisie with 49 goals last season for Ajax, who want £35m for him. At 31, his strike partner Diego Forlan, the official player of the tournament, could be deemed too old by many clubs, but Tottenham are said to be interested. Sunderland are chasing Paraguay striker Nelson Valdez, who is with Borussia Dortmund. The Chile forward Alexis Sanchez and Mexico defender Carlos Salcido would also not look out of place in the English game.
The summer moves so far
Arsenal In: Marouane Chamakh (Bordeaux, free), Laurent Koscielny (Lorient, undisclosed). Out: Fran Merida (Atletico Madrid, free), Philippe Senderos (Fulham, free), Luke Ayling (Yeovil, free).
Aston Villa Out: Wilfred Bouma (released), Marlon Harewood (released), Andy Marshall (released), Stephen O'Halloran (Coventry, free).
Birmingham In: Ben Foster (Man Utd, undisclosed), Enric Valles (NAC Breda, free), Nikola Zigic (Valencia, undisclosed).
Out: Artur Krysiak (Exeter, free), Gary McSheffrey (released), Franck Queudrue (released), Gregory Vignal (released), Cristian Benitez (Santos Laguna, loan).
Blackburn Out: Steven Reid (West Brom, free) Marcus Marshall (Rotherham, free) Andrew Haworth (Bury, free).
Blackpool Out: Al Bangura (released), Hameur Bouazza (released), Stephen McPhee (retired), Joe Martin (released), Danny Mitchley (released), Daniel Nardellio (released).
Bolton In: Robbie Blake (Burnley, free), Martin Petrov (Man City, free),
Out: Ricardo Vaz Te (released), Zoltan Harsanyi (released), Stuart McDonald (released),Chris Stokes (released).
Chelsea In: Yossi Benayoun (L'pool, undisclosed), Tomas Kalas (Sigma Olomouc, undisclosed). Out: Michael Ballack (released), Joe Cole (released), Juliano Belletti (released), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce, undisclosed), Rhys Taylor (Crewe, loan), Tomas Kalas (Sigma Olomouc, loan).
Everton In: Jan Mucha (Legia Warsaw, undisclosed), Jermaine Beckford (Leeds, free), Joao Silva (C D Aves, undisclosed),
Magaye Gueye (Strasbourg, undisclosed).
Out: John Ruddy (Norwich, undisclosed).
Fulham In: Philippe Senderos (Arsenal, free), Jonahton Greening (West Brom, loan). Out: Elliot Omosuzi (L Orient, free), Chris Smalling (Man Utd, undisclosed), Stefan Payne (Gillingham, free), Wayne Brown (Bristol Rovers, free), Erik Nevland (Viking, free), Chris Butchman (Cologne, undisclosed), Wesley Foderingham (released), Toni Kallio (released), Luca Moscatiello (released), King Osei-Gyan (released), Dan Owusu (released), Michael Uwezu (released).
Liverpool In: Jonjo Shevley (Charlton, £1.7 million), Milan Jovanovic (S Liege, undisclosed). Out: Fabio Aurelio (released), Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea, undisclosed), Christopher Oldfield (released), Robbie Threlfall (released), David Martin (MK Dons, free).
Manchester City In: Jérôme Boateng (Hamburg, undisclosed), Alex Henshall (Swindon, undisclosed), Yaya Touré (Barcelona, undisclosed), David Silva (Valencia, undisclosed). Out: Robert Mak (Nurnberg, undisclosed), Benjani (released), Martin Petrov (Bolton, free), Sylvinho (released), Valeri Bojinov (Parma, undisclosed), Paul Marshall (Walsall, free).
Manchester United In: Javier Hernandez (Chivas, undisclosed), Chris Smalling (Fulham, undisclosed). Out: Ben Foster (Birmingham, undisclosed), Tom Heaton (Cardiff, free), Matthew James (Preston, loan), Zoran Tosic (CSKA Moscow, undisclosed)
Newcastle In: James Perch (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed). Out: Fabrice Pancrate (released), Nicky Butt (released), Max Johnson (Inverness CT, free).
Stoke City In: Florent Cuvelier (Portsmouth, undisclosed). Out: Amdy Faye (released), Andy Griffin (Reading, undisclosed), Nathaniel Wedderburn (Northampton, free), Steve Simonsen (Sheffield United, free).
Sunderland In: Simon Mignolet (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Christian Riveros (Cruz Azul, undisclosed), Ahmed Al-Muhammadi (ENPPI, loan). Out: Jamie Chandler (Darlington, free), Roy O'Donovan (Coventry, free).
Tottenham Hotspur In: Sandro (Internazionale, undisclosed). Out: Sam Cox (Barnet, free), Jimmy Walker (released), Lee Butcher (Leyton Orient, free).
West Bromwich Albion In: Pablo Ibanez (Free agent), Steven Reid (Blackburn, free), Gabriel Tamas (Auxerre, undisclosed). Out: Filipe Teixeira (released), Robert Koren (released), Andwele Slory (released), Joss Labadie (Tranmere, free), Jonathon Greening (Fulham, loan).
West Ham United In: Thomas Hitlzlsperger (Lazio, free). Out: Guillermo Franco (released), Bondz N'Gala (Milwall, free).
Wigan Athletic In: Mauro Boselli (Estudiantes, undisclosed), Alcaraz (Bruges, undisclosed). Out: Tomasz Cywka (Derby, free), Mario Melchiot (Umm Salal, free).
Wolverhampton Wanderers In: Steven Fletcher (Burnley, undisclosed), Stephen Hunt (Hull, undisclosed), Steven Mouyokolo (Hull, undisclosed), Jelle Van Damme (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Adlene Guedioura (Charleroi, loan). Out: George Friend (Doncaster, free), Chris Iwelumo (Burnley, undisclosed), Mark Little (Peterborough, free), Jason Shackell (Barnsley, undisclosed), Andrew Surman (Norwich, undisclosed), Daniel Jones (Sheffield Wed, free).
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