Cagliari midfielder Albin Ekdal made the headlines over the weekend when he netted a hat-trick in a shock 4-1 win over Inter Milan at the San Siro, and the now Aston Villa are reported to be lining up a winter move for the in-form Serie A star.
With his agent declaring earlier this week that his client would be open to a switch for a fresh challenge, here are five facts supporters should know about the Swedish international.
1) The son of a well-known Swedish journalist and broadcaster, Ekdal began his career with local club IF Brommapojkarna, having turned down a move to Chelsea in 2005 at the age of 15 following a successful trial in order to finish his schooling.
2) Starring in his debut season in the Allsvenskan, despite Brommapojkarna's relegation, the promising teenager attracted the interest of several top European clubs, before a high-profile transfer to Juventus in the summer of 2008, going on to earn his Serie A debut in October of the ensuing season.
3) He would make just three appearances for the Bianconeri, however, spending the 2009-10 campaign on loan at Siena, and the subsequent season on a co-ownership contract at Bologna, before sealing a switch to his current club in August 2011.
4) Making his senior debut for Sweden two weeks prior to arriving at the Stadio Sant’Elia, the 10-times capped international has since scored six goals in 94 total appearances for the Sardinia-based outfit, while establishing a reputation as one of the Italian top-tier’s most consistent performers.
5) Aged, 25, Ekdal’s game is somewhat comparable to Fabian Delph’s, as a box-to-box midfielder with all-round qualities, with Cagliari reported to be holding out for a fee of around £5 million for their Nordic talisman, whose current deal runs until 2016.