As the January transfer window approaches, it's no surprise to see Robert Lewandowski's name making the rounds again. The Borussia Dortmund striker has been a coveted commodity over the past few windows after establishing himself as a rising star.
A summer move seems more likely, but that won't stop clubs throughout Europe from checking to see what it would take to pry him away from the Borussians next month. He would represent a major addition heading into the season's second half.
Manchester United have been the more popular link over the past few years. Manchester City, Arsenal and Inter Milan are other clubs that have expressed interest despite Dortmund's public denials about his availability, according to Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail.
The 24-year-old Poland international has shined since joining the Borussians in 2010. Nobody was sure how he would handle the jump to the Bundesliga, but the transition from Polish football was smooth and he's excelled with more experience.
Even though Lewandowski has several traits that have allowed him to stand out from the crowd, none are more important to his success than his work ethic. He's the type of player who poses the same threat to opponents in the first minute that he does in the 90th minute.
It's simple, yet rare. There are players who dominate in the first half of matches, only to disappear in big moments. There are players who always come up big in the clutch, but are often invisible early in games. Some stars are streaky, scoring their goals in bunches and then going through a drought.
Lewandowski brings the same determination to every match. When you combine that work rate with good vision, above-average speed and plenty of creativity, it becomes easy to see why so many European powerhouse clubs are interested in him.
The Polish sensation has netted 10 goals in 16 matches for Dortmund during the current campaign. He's also found the net four times in six Champions League appearances, leading the Borussians to the top of a stacked Group D.
While he still has room to grow and improve before reaching his prime, he's already come a long way over the past few seasons. That's why he's such a popular transfer target.
The main criticism has been his play at the international level. Lewandowski has scored just 15 times in 50 appearances for Poland, including only two tallies in 2012.
It's not a major surprise, though. He hasn't illustrated the same confidence leading the national team attack as he has at the club level, which is pretty common for young players. As he gets pushed to take on a bigger role, he will begin to thrive for Poland.
Ultimately, it's his continued success at the club level that other teams care most about and will have them checking in with Dortmund throughout January to see if a deal is possible. If not, they will call back during the summer.
Managers love coach players who give 100 percent every time they step on the pitch. Knowing a player is going to work hard makes up for any shortcomings they might have, and Lewandowski doesn't have many to begin with.
He's an extremely talented, well-rounded player. His stock will only continue to rise in the coming years, and that's the main reason Dortmund has been so hesitant to move him despite an abundance of interest.