Liverpool have been linked with a whole bundle of incoming players during the January transfer window, and one of the most recent rumours surrounds Valencia winger Sofiane Feghouli, a name which might not be too familiar to fans who don't follow La Liga.
Feghouli, who turns 23 on Dec. 26, plays as a right-sided midfielder for Los Che in Spain and is a regular member of the starting 11. Earlier in his career, he spent more time centrally as an attacking midfielder or support forward.
According to Mirror Football, he has interested the Reds as a potential transfer option since the move for Barcelona wide attacker Alexis Sanchez appears to be a no-go.
Valencia are underperforming in La Liga this term and lie just ninth in the table, seven points off a Champions League spot. The Mirror report claims he could be Liverpool's natural successor for Dirk Kuyt. Here are five other things you may not have known about the seven-time Algerian international.
Under-21 International...for France
Though Feghouli now plays his international football for Algeria, having scored twice in his seven full internationals, he was initially part of the youth setup in French football.
He featured on several occasions for the under-21 team and full national squad. Raymond Domenech was said to be considering calling him up to the full team, though this never materialised.
Having then decided to switch nationalities, and having his change ratified by FIFA, the winger has represented Algeria's main international squad since 2011 and made his debut early in 2012.
Feghouli will likely represent Algeria at the African Cup of Nations in 2013, where they are in a tough group alongside Ivory Coast, Togo and Tunisia.
Ballon d'Or Winner, Sort of
Leo Messi might be expected to win his fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or when the awards are given out by FIFA, but Sofiane Feghouli has already had his abilities recognised by the Algerian FA.
He was handed the Ballon d'Or for the "Best Algerian footballer 2012" earlier this month, an award which he was justifiably proud to receive.
Feghouli was presented the award by Johan Cruyff.
BALLON D'OR 2012 ! twitter.com/Feghouli8/stat…— Sofiane Feghouli (@Feghouli8) December 18, 2012
He Faces Old Club in Champions League
Prior to joining Valencia in Spain, Feghouli played in Ligue 1 in France for Grenoble, but he started his career as a youth player with Paris St-Germain.
Having finished second in Group F of the Champions League this season behind Bayern Munich, Valencia were drawn against the Algerian international's old team in the Round of 16, with the second leg on March 5 providing a visit home for Feghouli.
Valencia might not be performing as well domestically as they would have hoped, but they will be optimistic about providing something of an upset in Europe if they can get a good result in the first leg. Valencia have won six of nine games in the league at the Mestalla stadium this season and were unbeaten at home in the group stage of the Champions League.
Second-Best at His Club in League Goals and Assists
Feghouli has never been a regular goal-scorer in his career, but he has improved on that side of things this season, at least in the first half of the campaign.
So far, he has three goals in La Liga. Of all his teammates, only Roberto Soldado has done better (nine goals). In addition, three league assists mean only one player is a more creative force than himself for Valencia—Tino Costa, who has four.
An additional three Champions League goals in six games means that Feghouli has already equalled his tally of six goals from last season in little more than half the number of games. One further strike will make this campaign his most productive ever in front of goal.
Also Linked with a Move Home and Other Premier League Clubs
Liverpool aren't the only team said to be interested in Sofiane Feghouli. His old club Paris St-Germain have been credited with an interest (via goal.com), as well as rival English clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United (via insidefutbol.com).
Naturally, Feghouli has indicated his pleasure at being linked with PSG given their sudden standing in the game once more, though he also intimated that a contract renewal with his current club was a possibility.
His present deal expires in 18 months, making him an interesting potential transfer rumour for all involved. As far as Liverpool are concerned it is likely to be a case of wait and see until summer, given his ongoing involvement in the Champions League and the pending possible arrivals to the club of Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince.
Statistical data from WhoScored.com and ESPN.