One of the glaring omissions in Manchester United's first team selection is the lack of a Mesut Ozil or a David Silva… a playmaker who can pull the strings from midfield or in the hole behind the front-man/men… an orchestral footballer who can give the club's fans something great to sing about and, according to reports, the player who manager David Moyes may turn to is Atletico Madrid pass-picker Koke Resurreccion.
United do have footballers capable of fulfilling this role - Shinji Kagawa has looked like an exemplary candidate at times during this season, but the trust Moyes has in him to play this role on a consistent basis is nil, making transfer speculation for candidates like Koke - who has a £50m release clause but is valued by transfermarkt.co.uk at £17.5m - all the more likely.
Currently, Atletico are gunning for the La Liga title, pushing Barcelona close in the race to be league champions - and Koke has been a fundamental part in the club's best ever domestic campaign (based on points to date) thus far.
Positional-wise, Koke is a versatile attacker, capable of playing out wide, on the left flank as an inverted winger, on the right, or in the centre. Considering United's set-up, where Wayne Rooney would play just behind Robin van Persie if both men were fit, Koke would likely take up the left wing position - much like he has for Atleti for the majority of the Spanish season.
Like Arsenal's Ozil when the German trequartista was in Madrid, albeit for Real, Koke's single best attribute is his pass. He understands the nuances and the significance of each pass like Ruud van Nistelrooy appreciated positional sense when it came to the rebound.
His chance creation is up there with the league's best - including the midfield creators from Barcelona - and he tends to hit passes up to 17 metres in length on average. His technical ability is on point, he maintains possession with ease and is rarely dispossessed.
Okay, so he has a fine scout report… but, statistically-speaking, how does he compare to the Premier League's playmaking finest?
Data above has been collected from either Primera Division or Premier League football alone - no domestic cups and no European competition have been included.
At first glance, Koke's statistics are directly comparable to the best attack-minded, chance-creating maker of plays that are currently employed by England's elite clubs.
Without question, though, the most efficient is David Silva, at Manchester City, who is responsible for a goal (four goals, five assists) once every 101.2 minutes, he has the highest passing accuracy out of all of his peers, has created the most chances (shared with Eden Hazard) but has played the fewest games and been on the pitch for the fewest competitive minutes.
Silva is also on the ball more often than any of his rivals. He completes a successful pass once every 1.3 minutes and creates a goal-scoring chance once every 20 minutes.
Koke, though, is not far behind these figures.
In La Liga, the 22-year-old, who has at least a decade of top-level football ahead of him, has been responsible for scoring or assisting once every 119.25 minutes (a statistic that is actually directly comparable to the Premier League's top goal-scorers not named Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo or Luis Suarez), has a pass completion rate as strong as Chelsea's Hazard, creates a clear goal-scoring opportunity as frequently as Hazard (once every 34 minutes) but completes a successful pass more often than the Blue forward (once every 2.1 minutes) which is a tad behind Mesut Ozil and Silva's average.
The transition from Spain to England has required little adaptation period and the success of Spanish-born footballers is also becoming a leit motif of the Premier League's transfers from their division, but is Koke worth the release clause (£50m) as he will likely fetch a much bigger fee than the speculated sum of £17.5m.
Considering United's sub-standard results and performances of late and the potential impact a player of this calibre could make, especially when comparing him to the best in the country on current form, surely he would represent value for money.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald