If Chelsea are truly committed to enforcing their latest transfer strategy of purchasing young and exciting players, they could do a lot worse than signing Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjanic.
He's one of the best passers in Serie A, and with terrific balance linked to his low centre of gravity, he's somewhat reminiscent of a young Andres Iniesta. A creative force for coach Zdenek Zeman, Pjanic plays behind the striker, feeding through-balls and seeing the passes that quite literally no other player does. He's not half bad at free-kicks either, mind you.
Pjanic impressed the best clubs in Europe with some tantalising performances as an 18-year-old for Ligue 2 alongside Metz, with Europe's elite sending their best scouts to check out the youngster.
And despite interest from Real Madrid and Arsenal for his signature, it was Lyon who decided to fork out €7.5 million for the highly promising 18-year-old midfielder. He signed a five-year contract to mark his intention to play at Stade Gerland for many years to come, and perhaps replace the club stalwart Juninho Pernambucano, who was interested in a move back to his native Brazil.
He impressed greatly in his time at Lyon with 10 goals and 11 assists in his second season at the club, including scoring the goal that effectively knocked Real Madrid out of the Champions League back in March of 2010. He also played a key part in helping the club achieve second place in Ligue 1—with Claude Puel's side pipped to the title by Bordeaux on the final day of the season.
However, after the arrival of Yohann Gourcuff in the summer of 2010, Pjanic saw his first-team chances limited and, just a year later, signed for Serie A outfit Roma for €11 million, who were looking to rebuild under their new American owners.
Three goals with nine assists in his maiden season at the Rome-based club saw an impressive start for the creative midfielder, and now Chelsea are rumoured to be following the progress of the Bosnian after Roma's 4-2 victory over AC Milan.
It could be that Pjanic would be interested with a move to England, although with Roma seemingly unwilling to let their star man go for less than £13 million, the Blues could look elsewhere for alternative targets.