January draws ever closer and the rumble of the transfer window circus can be heard from afar even now, with one particular set of players tipped to feature heavily in the comings and goings - the playmakers.
Finding a good playmaker is like finding a comfortable pair of shoes; they may start out stiff and unyielding, but they soon become supple, reshaping themselves to you particular grooves until you can’t imagine being without them.
A top playmaker is crucial to the successes of any team in an age of high-tempo pressurising and 100mph football in England, as he is the man to put a foot on the ball and dictate a side’s rhythm with a cool head.
Somebody like Paul Scholes exemplifies this in the extreme; a man who never looks flustered and always has space to hit pass after pass, finding team-mates in interesting positions, laying the foundations for that crucial final ball.
There have been a number of talented midfield playmakers being linked with moves to certain Premier League sides in January, but which are the best of those being touted around?
GMF have picked out five of them:
Wesley Sneijder, Inter Milan
The Holland international is going through something of a siege at Inter Milan, with them refusing to play him until he agrees to take a pay cut. Injuries have dogged him for the past couple of years, but there will surely be more than one team willing to go in for him, such is his pedigree. Sneijder could well be the perfect replacement for the ageing Scholes.
The Brazil international is a versatile player and can dictate play high up the pitch or from a deeper position in midfield. He has great energy and works from box-to-box, while possessing the technical ability and vision to make a difference in an attacking sense.
Both Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with an interest him, though the make up of both teams means he would likely be used as a deep-lying playmaker. The Blues will get a chance to take a closer look at him if they make the final of the Club World Cup, as his side, Corinthians, have already already got there.
Malaga will not be keen to let their prized asset go in January, especially after impressing in their progression to the last 16 of the Champions League. However, the financial problems for many Spanish teams mean they may receive an offer they cannot refuse.
Isco can play wide or centrally, he can beat players and has a terrific eye for a through ball. He has taken up the mantle of the team’s talisman since Santi Cazorla joined Arsenal, though he could yet be following his old teammate across Europe.
Remy Cabella, Montpellier
Ligue 1 champions Montpellier have struggled this season since top scorer Olivier Giroud left to join Arsenal in the summer, but Cabella has grown in stature despite this. A diminutive attacking midfielder, the 22-year-old was very impressive while troubling the Gunners defence in the Champions League.
Cabella has the pace and ability to effectively take on defenders in wide positions, but he is extremely technically gifted and can dictate play in tight corners around opposition areas. Attacking versatility is a huge asset in today’s game, which may be why he has been linked with Arsenal and Manchester United.
Kevin Strootman, PSV Eindhoven
Of all the playmakers being linked with a number of Premier League clubs, Strootman could well be the most suitable. The Holland international stands tall at 6ft 1in and has quite an engine on him, allowing him to maraud back and forth.
Strootman has become crucial to the PSV midfield over the past year or so; he started as a holding midfield player, where his technical ability made him an effective deep-lying playmaker. However, he has recently been given greater attacking licence and has shown adeptness for picking up the ball from deep to drive at the opposition defence. An exciting player that could thrive in the England.
Which playmakers do you think would be good signings for the Premier League? Leave a comment below to let us know…