Manchester United's midfield has been an issue for a number of seasons and they have struggled to fill that void. Despite signing a number of central players in the last few seasons, neither are able to combine an attacking, creative role with the work ethic of getting back for the team to the world class degree the club require.
When they come to address that this summer, they should look no further than Atletico Madrid star Koke. The Spaniard has been spectacular for a number of years at the Vicente Calderon and he would be the ideal player to fill the midfield vacuum at Old Trafford.
For starters, the 24-year-old fills a creative role that the team has been missing. Manager Louis van Gaal mentioned earlier this month that they were lacking a "senior creative player" that would tie everything together and Koke would be perfect to take up that mantle.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
This season, the midfielder has notched up 15 assists in all competitions. He made 16 assists in the 2014-15 and had the same total the season before that, showing his consistency as a playmaker for a team that doesn't tend to blow teams away with their attacking prowess, even though they can.
He reads the game so well, picking up positions that help his team, finding little pockets to slide that killer pass into for the likes of Antoine Griezmann or Fernando Torres to pounce. It's almost as if there is a picture in his head and he can paint it before anyone else can see the lay of the land.
His influence on the team was no more evident than in his performance against Espanyol, where he scored along with creating the other two goals in a 3-1 victory. The Barcelona-based outfit failed to lay a glove on him all afternoon, he was picking up the ball all over the park and constantly looked like he was about to create something magical.
The first assist is spectacular, he doesn't even look up to see Torres' run but instinctively plays it over the defence and into his path. His second assist came from some wonderful, fast build-up play that gave him the space to play in Griezmann to edge Atletico ahead. Even his own finish started with him spraying it wide to Torres, who crossed it in for Koke to nod the ball home.
However, that is not the only reason of why he would be such a perfect fit at Manchester United. Much like anyone in a Diego Simeone team, Koke does not abandon his defensive responsibilities in order to create attacks and be on the front foot.
He relishes getting involved on defence, averaging almost three tackles a game and 1.4 interceptions. Koke gets himself all over the field, working back to be in the right position to win the ball back and then use his ability to begin counter attacks that can be so deadly with the pace that Atletico have in attacking areas.
That hard work he puts in does not go wanting in Madrid, where he is adored, and he would be a perfect fit for any potential title chase for United next season. His endeavour, his ability with and without the ball at his feet can be very rare to find and having only just turned 24 at the start of the year, he has plenty of time left to remain at the top of his game.