Scouting Spotlight: Nabil Fekir, Lucas Torreira, Jurgen Locadia
Which players are attracting attention in Europe's biggest leagues? Scouting Spotlight looks at three players each week whose performances are making headlines.
Nabil Fekir -- Lyon
Initially released by Lyon's academy for not being strong enough, Fekir rejoined the club four years later and impressed in the reserves before making his senior debut in 2013. He was named captain in the summer following Maxime Gonalons' move to Roma and is enjoying his best season to date.
A talented attacking midfielder with a keen eye for goal, Fekir usually roams behind the central striker at Lyon, charged with leading the attacking impetus.
Thanks to his low centre of gravity, he possesses excellent dribbling skills and a powerful shot. He likes to entice defenders to try and win the ball, before shifting his weight and skipping past them.
Although not the quickest, Fekir's close control and ability to read the game allow him to find space in the final third and pick passes to teammates or make well-timed runs into the box. He is very one-footed, favouring his left, and shows impressive strength on the ball despite his diminutive stature.
With nine goals and four assists in 10 Ligue 1 appearances this term, Fekir has raised his game a level since being handed the captain's armband and recovering from the torn knee ligaments that saw him miss nearly all of the 2015-16 campaign.
He has already matched last season's domestic return, and looks set to beat his best ever tally (13 goals and nine assists in 2014-15) as Lyon aim to mount a serious title challenge alongside Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco.
The 24-year-old claimed a brace against Metz at the weekend with two smart finishes and scored twice and created another in Lyon's recent 3-2 victory over Monaco.
It was his strike against Bordeaux in August that really made headlines, however, when he caught out goalkeeper Benoit Costil with an audacious effort from the halfway line.
Where would he fit in?
Arsenal and Manchester City were linked with Fekir at the start of the summer transfer window, but La Liga is his preferred destination. Zinedine Zidane has previously praised his technical ability, with Real Madrid reported to be closely monitoring his progress.
Lucas Torreira -- Sampdoria
A €1.5 million signing from Pescara in 2015, Torreira initially returned to the Serie B club on loan before breaking into Sampdoria's first XI last season. He quickly became an integral part of Marco Giampaolo's side, making 35 appearances as Sampdoria recovered from a slow start to finish 10th.
A combative midfielder standing at just 5-foot-6 and bearing a resemblance to Gary Medel, Torreira buzzes around in front of the back four as Sampdoria's first line of defence. Despite only turning 21 in February, he has earned a starting role under Giampaolo by displaying tactical and technical maturity that belie his years.
Only three players have averaged more tackles per game than Torreira this term, while he knows when to press or break forward and support the attack.
He is careful in his distribution, keeping the ball moving with short passes to teammates, but is equally capable of carving open defences with his vision, often taking charge of set-piece responsibilities.
Sampdoria may have been disappointed to finish 10th last season, failing to win any of their last eight matches and suffering a 7-3 humiliation at Lazio, but Torreira's emergence offered bright hope for the future.
The Uruguayan was instrumental in victories away to AC and Inter Milan and has maintained his form this season, lifting Sampdoria to sixth with six wins from their opening 10 games.
The Genoese club thrashed Chievo 4-1 on Sunday with Torreira claiming a brace. His first came courtesy of an incredible 35-yard free-kick that whipped into the top corner, while his second wasn't bad either, volleying home a weak clearance from outside the box.
Where would he fit in?
Atletico Madrid lead the race for Torreira with talk of a €40m deal being close to completion, while the midfielder expressed his interest in joining Roma last summer.
The similarities between his and Radja Nainggolan's style of play could see the youngster replace the Belgian should he leave for Chelsea or Manchester United.
Jurgen Locadia -- PSV Eindhoven
After breaking on to the scene with 13 goals in 2013-14, Locadia struggled to kick on at PSV Eindhoven. Injuries have played a part, but the 23-year-old is now showing signs of rediscovering his best form as PSV lead the Eredivisie standings.
Playing as part of PSV's fluid front three, Locadia stretches defences with his pace and intelligent movement off the ball. He is a smart finisher, scoring with both feet, but can occasionally be let down by his decision-making and opting for power over precision.
Although nominally playing as a striker this season, flanked by Hirving Lozano and Steven Bergwijn, Locadia is not a typical centre-forward. He drops deep to receive the ball and likes to run at the opposition, deceiving defenders with his tricks and stepovers.
With eight goals and two assists so far, Locadia is on course for his best ever season in the Eredivisie. Four of those strikes came in a 7-1 demolition of Utrecht, while he claimed a brace, along with Lozano, in a 4-2 win over Vitesse at the weekend.
After gifting Vitesse a first half equaliser when a low corner deflected off his shin and into the net, Locadia grabbed his first with a dipping effort from distance. His second demonstrated his technical ability, evading his marker with a sharp turn in the box and firing into the corner.
Where would he fit in?
Wolves were close to signing the Dutch Under-21 international for around £10m in the summer, but PSV backed out of the transfer at the 11th hour.
Locadia has said he dreams of playing for Manchester United and admires Georginio Wijnaldum's career path from Newcastle to Liverpool. If he maintains his current form, a move to a big club isn't out of the question.
Matthew Stanger covers European football for ESPN and is the editor of The Set Pieces. Twitter: @MatthewStanger