Although only 20 years of age Pedro Obiang seems like he's been around forever, he certainly plays like he has. His role of midfield enforcer this season for Sampdoria has attracted the interest of the big-spenders including Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG.
Born in Madrid but of Equatoguinean descent, Obiang left Spain for Genoa at the age of 16. He made his competitive debut in 2010 and has been pretty much a constant in midfield for Sampdoria since. Playing an integral part in the Genoa club's regaining top flight status last year, Obiang has continued to impress this year. He has been capped at youth level by Spain and allegedly refused the Equatorial Guinea national team, but is yet to proclaim his national allegience.
Obiang brings a weighted physicality to the midfield, tackles hard and keeps the ball well at his feet. Aspects of his game he can improve include his eye for a long penetrative pass and shooting. Already a superstar in Serie A, the Spaniard seems to have exactly the type of game suited to the Premiership. Losing Obiang in January would undoubtedly damage Sampdoria in the new year but a player of this calibre is sure to want to play Champions League with one of the big-hitters.
Manchester City's Roberto Mancini fancies the youngster, but you have to think that the prospect of fitting into a utilitarian midfield at the City of Manchester stadium, where he would be surrounded with similar players would appeal less than the chance to play hard man back up to the creative talents of Hazard and Oscar at Stamford Bridge.
Either way it looks like Obiang's days at Sampdoria are numbered and with inevitably, Turin giants Juve circling and constantly linked with every talented young player in Serie A, his future could yet remain in Italy, but the draw of the world's richest and most watched league, Champions League football and the glamour of an international hub like London may prove too much.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty