Scouting: Leon Bailly, Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan, Pablo Fornals
Scouting Spotlight takes a look at a Bundesliga ace attracting attention, Villarreal's rising star and Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan, who continues to impress.
Leon Bailey -- Bayer Leverkusen
Jamaican-born Bailey has been one of the standout performers in the Bundesliga this season, leading Bayer Leverkusen's charge into the Champions League qualifying places. Coach Heiko Herrlich will be desperate to keep his top talent in January, but strong interest is mounting.
Bailey's most eye-catching attribute is his electric pace, terrorising defenders as he drives to the byline or cuts in-field on direct runs towards goal. Although favouring his left foot, he is confident playing on either side, often selected as an inverted winger on the right.
While Bailey's game is largely about speed -- as his brace at the weekend highlighted -- he also has the composure to pick a pass after beating his opponent. With four assists in the Bundesliga, he is capable of providing dangerous deliveries as well as creating chances for himself, using his low centre of gravity and quick feet to shield the ball in tight spaces.
Bailey came off the bench at half time on Sunday to help earn Leverkusen a thrilling 4-4 draw against Hannover. The 20-year-old scored two almost identical strikes, sprinting on to through-balls down the left and firing low past the goalkeeper.
That took Bailey's tally to seven goals for the campaign, his best return in a single season with five months still left to play. After finishing 12th last term, their lowest position in 14 years, Leverkusen are now looking to the former Genk youngster to fire them back into European competition.
Where would he fit in?
Having signed Bailey for around €14 million in January 2017, Leverkusen will be in no rush to sell their prized asset. They have already fielded enquiries from Chelsea and Barcelona, however, with talk of the former proposing a buy-and-loan-back deal that would allow the player to continue his development in Germany. Given that his contract runs until 2022, such an offer may be the only way to tempt Leverkusen into doing business at this stage.
Pablo Fornals -- Villarreal
After paying his own €12 million release clause to leave Malaga for Villarreal in the summer, Fornals made a slow start at his new club but has picked up since the appointment of new manager Javier Calleja.
Gifted with great technique, Fornals is a talented midfielder with a range of different qualities. He is most effective when playing in the centre as a No.10, linking the midfield and attack and spraying balls down the wings.
The 21-year-old possesses excellent dribbling skills and a well-weighted pass, but his tenacity is also a significant asset for Villarreal when he drops deep to win the ball back or presses opponents high up the pitch.
After scoring six times in La Liga for Malaga last season, Fornals had to wait until the weekend to open his account for Villarreal with a well-timed run into the box and brilliant diving header that brought a 1-0 win at Celta Vigo.
Handed his first Spain cap in 2016, the youngster's creativity is highlighted by his five assists this season, with only two players -- including Celta's Pione Sisto -- achieving more at this stage.
Where would he fit in?
Arsenal were tracking Fornals in the summer and with Santi Cazorla, another former Malaga and Villarreal man, still ruled out through injury, he would make a fine long-term replacement. The difficulty now will be persuading Villarreal to sell - or Fornals to pay another release clause.
Thorgan Hazard -- Borussia Monchengladbach
The younger brother of Eden Hazard, Thorgan also spent several years at Chelsea before joining Borussia Monchengladbach on a permanent deal in 2015 following a loan spell. His displays in Germany have earned him full Belgium honours as he now aims to be part of the squad that travels to Russia for the World Cup.
Although a different player to his Ballon d'Or-chasing brother, Thorgan displays similar traits to Eden, notably his gait and how he uses his arms for balance when running with the ball. His close control and dribbling skills are two of his greatest strengths as he looks to create opportunities for teammates from either flank or drift between the lines in the centre.
The 24-year-old's game isn't really about speed, instead using his vision to spot the right pass or hook the ball into the box, but he does possess the acceleration to burst past defenders when required. He also has an eye for goal, often looking to exchange short, sharp passes around the penalty area to fashion shooting chances.
Hazard played a key role in Monchengladbach's 3-1 win over Hamburg at the weekend, driving on to Raffael's smart pass to open the scoring and then returning the favour for the striker to wrap up the points in the second half.
His breakthrough season came at Zulte Waregem in 2013-14, when he claimed 17 goals and 19 assists on loan from Chelsea. While he hasn't repeated those numbers in the Bundesliga, the current campaign could prove to be his best so far, having already contributed six strikes and three assists in 17 matches.
Where would he fit in?
Arsenal were linked with a £26 million move for Hazard in May and reports in Germany suggest Chelsea are also monitoring their former youth prospect. With Eden and youngest brother Kylian, 22, both at Stamford Bridge, a return to the club would surely appeal to Thorgan.
Matthew Stanger covers European football for ESPN and is the editor of The Set Pieces. Twitter: @MatthewStanger