Scouting Spotlight: Jorginho, Mikel Oyarzabal, Levin Oztunali
Which players are attracting attention in Europe's biggest leagues? Scouting Spotlight looks at three players each week whose performances are making headlines ...
Jorginho -- Napoli
Now in his fifth season at Napoli, Jorginho has played a key role in Maurizio Sarri's side climbing to the summit of Serie A with seven wins from seven so far. The Brazilian-born midfielder has two caps for Italy but missed out on a place in Gian Piero Ventura's latest squad in favour of Cagliari's Nicolo Barella.
A regista in the mould of Andrea Pirlo, Jorginho dictates Napoli's rhythm from the base of midfield. His greatest asset is his passing range, unlocking the opposition in a moment with incisive throughballs or clipped passes over the top of the defence.
No player has made more passes in Serie A this season, with Jorginho's ability to set the tempo vital to the team's commanding performances under Sarri. The 25-year-old is also effective in seeking to win the ball back quickly, displaying keen tactical awareness and a combative nature to break up play.
Considering his performances this season, it was a surprise that Jorginho was overlooked for Italy's World Cup qualifying matches against Macedonia and Albania. After leaving Verona in 2014, he has claimed a regular place in a Napoli side searching for the club's first Scudetto since a Diego Maradona-inspired triumph in 1990.
Jorginho caught the eye with seven goals for Verona in his first Serie A campaign, but it took him until September this year to find the net in the league for Napoli, sliding home a late penalty in a 4-1 win over Lazio. He recorded his first assist of the season against Cagliari at the weekend, but his contribution shouldn't be judged by these numbers alone.
Where would he fit in?
Arsenal and Bournemouth are thought to have offered in the region of £15 million for Jorginho's services over the summer, but Napoli were eager to hold on to the midfielder. It is easy to see how he would fit in at the Gunners, with his style suited to a team that likes to control possession and take the initiative.
Mikel Oyarzabal -- Real Sociedad
Oyarzabal's flying start this year has earned him flattering comparisons with another former Real Sociedad forward, Antoine Griezmann. In May 2016 the winger became the youngest player in Real Sociedad's history to win an international cap, making his debut for Spain at just 19 years of age.
Nicknamed "big foot," Oyarzabal is an intelligent winger who slinks past defenders with his quick, size 11 feet. He has made a big impact since breaking into the first-team on the left flank, forming a promising understanding with striker Willian Jose.
Among the youngster's greatest strengths is his exceptional crossing ability, which saw him claim seven assists in La Liga last season. He may not be the quickest, but Oyarzabal is always reading the game, assessing the next phase of play and running into space to provide an outlet for teammates.
He is aware of when to drift in-field in search of goal scoring opportunities, and is a composed finisher in the box when chances present themselves.
Oryarzabal first attracted attention when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Barcelona in 2016, racing into the penalty area and planting a firm header beyond Claudio Bravo.
With three strikes and an assist in the current La Liga campaign, Oyarzabal's injury absence in September came as a blow to Real Sociedad as they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid and 3-0 to Levante in back-to-back matches.
The 20-year-old returned with a goal and an assist against Valencia and will now hope to inspire Eusebio Sacristan's side to climb the table.
Where would he fit in?
After a rumoured €40m bid from Athletic Bilbao, for whom the winger would be a key signing for their Basque-only policy, Oyarzabal committed to a new six-year contract in August 2016 with a reported €50m release clause. His progress has been tracked by the big two in Spain, while Arsenal, Liverpool and Napoli have also been credited with an interest.
Levin Oztunali -- Mainz
After struggling to break into the first-team at Bayer Leverkusen, Oztunali was sold to Mainz last summer. He enjoyed an encouraging debut season at the Opel Arena, starting 23 matches as the club battled their way to Bundesliga survival.
The grandson of legendary German striker Uwe Seeler, Oztunali's role is concerned with creating chances rather than finishing them. Still only 21, he has plenty of work to do in this regard, but it is hoped he can fulfil the potential he first displayed in the youth teams at Hamburg.
Normally deployed on the right, Oztunali has a strong build for a winger, using his strength and pace to get past defenders. His dribbling skills are impressive, but he can be let down by his decision-making. The youngster often delays his final ball, resulting in missed opportunities for teammates.
His passing is more incisive when he has time to think and assess his options. He is then capable of playing cutting throughballs and penetrating set-pieces.
Oztunali has been reinvigorated by his move to Mainz after stagnating at Bayer Leverkusen and on loan to a struggling Werder Bremen side.
One of the most important factors in his progress has been regular game time. The 21-year-old made 30 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, scoring five goals and claiming six assists -- more than he managed in two years at Bremen.
He has carried that form into the new campaign despite the coach who aided his revival, Martin Schmidt, leaving for Wolfsburg and being replaced by Sandro Schwarz. Oztunali reminded Schmidt of his qualities by crossing for Yoshinori Muto to head a late equaliser against Wolfsburg at the weekend, recording his fourth assist of the season in the process.
Highly regarded in the Germany setup, he has turned out for every age group from the under-15s to the U21s and featured in the European U21 Championship victory in the summer.
Where would he fit in?
Although linked with a host clubs in his early years, Oztunali's stalled development saw him make what many would consider to be a backwards move to Mainz.
After settling well at his new club, his immediate aim is to focus on the aspects of his game that require improvement, with Serge Gnabry's breakthrough at Werder Bremen last year setting the perfect example to follow.
Matthew Stanger covers European football for ESPN and is the editor of The Set Pieces. Twitter: @MatthewStanger