The PFA Players’ Player of the Year award - known simply as Player of the Year - is given to the individual judged to have had the best year in football.
Chelsea's Eden Hazard is the current holder of the award, with the prestigious likes of Gareth Bale, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry and Steven Gerrard previous winners of the accolade.
The award, which was first presented in 1974, is yet to see a goalkeeper stencil their name onto the trophy since 1978, when Peter Shilton claimed the coveted prize.
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This season could put an end to that barren spell, however, with goalkeepers proving particularly valuable to their sides. Here are the top five contenders for the award so far this season.
MESUT OZIL - ARSENAL
The German playmaker has been incredible this campaign, managing more assists than any other player in Europe's top leagues by quite some margin.
In fact, with 16 Premier League assists, Ozil is seven clear of his nearest challenger, with Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Kevin De Bruyne all recording nine so far.
The 27-year-old's mesmerising style of play has proven vital to Arsenal's title credentials this season and particularly came to fruition against Manchester United earlier in the campaign, inspiring his side to a 3-0 victory.
JAMIE VARDY - LEICESTER CITY
Vardy eclipsed Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of goals scoring in consecutive games last November by scoring in 11 straight league fixtures, the last ironically coming against the Red Devils. Since then, the Englishman has managed just one goal in eight Premier League games.
The 29-year-old’s road to success has been nothing short of incredible having worked his way up through English football to eventually sign for the Foxes in a £1 million deal from Fleetwood Town.
Since his move in 2012, Vardy has established himself as one of the Premier League's most feared strikers and attracted the attention from a host of Europe's elite.
DAVID DE GEA - MANCHESTER UNITED
United’s ever-reliable goalkeeper has once again been the club's best player this season, helping his teammates along to countless victories with his saves when perhaps they deserved anything but.
And given Real Madrid's impending transfer ban, the Spaniard's long-term future might just lie at Old Trafford - great news for all those involved. Without De Gea, it's a worrying thought just how worse off United could be this season given their lack of potency going forward.
PETR CECH - ARSENAL
Arsene Wenger was slated last summer for making just one signing in veteran Cech - but now he appears a genius.
The former Chelsea goalkeeper's arrival could just be the signing of the summer given the resounding impact he's had at the Emirates. After 22 league games, Cech has kept ten clean sheets - the most in the Premier League - and made a number of vital saves.
A £10 million fee has proved a bargain for Arsenal, who now boast one of world football's very best shot-stoppers.
JACK BUTLAND - STOKE CITY
The 22-years-old's performances for the Potters this season have been excellent and largely to thank for their scale up the Premier League table.
In his first season of top-flight football, the youngster has made the most saves (80) and recorded the second-most clean sheets, with yet another coming against Arsenal on Sunday.
His rise to stardom has seen Butland become a genuine threat to Joe Hart's number one jersey for England and attracted interest from a host of Premier League sides.
OTHER NOTABLE MENTIONS
There are, of course, several other players due to be considered for the prestigious award, including: Riyad Mahrez, Romelu Lukaku, Dimitri Payet, Chris Smalling, N’Golo Kante and Laurent Koscielny.
Disagree with any of the above contenders? Give us your opinion in the comments section below.
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