Turkish-born, German wunderkind Mesut Oezil was the World's best kept secret heading into the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Well, the secret's out now.
Possibly lost in the hustle and bustle of German captain Michael Ballack's injury fiasce. Oezil made his presence felt in the 4-0 blowout opening win against Australia, and continued to impress throughout Germany's sparkling run to the semifinals.
Germany made headlines with their new, attacking and exciting style of play, and no one made the wheels on this German team turn quite like Oezil.
He has supreme technical ability, great vision and passing skills, a damaging pace and an infectious flair on offense that's hard not to like.
The 21 year old likes to play behind the strikers but can also be effective from the wing. His skill are polished enough to make an immediate impact for Europe's biggest clubs, yet his youth make him especially attractive because he can adapt well to various formations and offensive philosophies.
Werder Bremen's dynamo has been valued at around £20 million, but that hasn't scared away the world's best and most storied club's from expressing interest in Oezil.
Here are the Top 10 clubs that willy be vying for his services this summer.
Oezil has verbalized his admiration for teams in the Premiership. This is good news for Alex Ferguson and co. who are in the market for an attacking midfielder to replace the seasoned Paul Scholes. Scholes recently suggested that next season may be his last.
Oezil would fit the bill as the Reds' playmaker. His vision, passing ability, speed, and shooting power are attributes to be desired by any club.
United were thought only to be somewhat interested, until Dutch Golden Boot Finalist and treble winner Wesley Sneijder announced he has no plans to leave Inter Milan. Sir Alex has now turned up the heat on his search for a midfield master and set Oezil in his cross hairs.
Oezil's tranfer in the future is uncertain, but the young talent expressed a desire, "to win trophies, and there are two clubs in England, United and Chelsea, who win trophies."
One of the most interesting situations on this list, Juve's interest in Oezil was sparked before the World Cup thanks to former Werder Bremen great (and Oezil's predecessor), Diego.
Diego suggested in March that he wanted Oezil to join the Italian giants, knowing very well that the kid had talent, and that he would be the perfect mentor for the up and comer.
In a surprising maneuver, Juventus are now taking Diego's advice, but also offering him up as bait simultaneously, hoping to lure Bremen into a deal for their old pal and engage in a swap.
Club manager Gigi del Neri has already admitted that Diego is not in his plans for next year. So if Juventus can get lucky, the deal would work out swimmingly.
Another world-class team looking to jump in on the race for Oezil.
Jose Mourinho, like Ferguson, was looking to Sneijder to load up his arsenal at midfield. Since Sneijder is a no go, "The Special One" has turned his attention to the German international star.
The 21 year old is hardly a poor alternative and he would be a positive addition to Los Galacticos at midfield, but with studs like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka already bossing the midfield, is Oezil really a necessary purchase?
Manchester City could use a player like Oezil, but the issue is if Oezil could use a club like Manchester City.
City is thin at attacking midfielder. Stephen Ireland looks to be on the out, and new signee David Silva is far more comfortable playing on the wing.
Oezil is versatile and could play the central attacking role rather well, allowing Silva to function where he is most effective. Oezil, Robinho, Silva and Tevez sounds like a formidable attack and Mancini has the cash to spend.
However, would Mesut be setting his sights too low if he went to Manchester City?
They currently can't offer the German maestro CL football, something Oezil will obviously be looking for as the biggest and best clubs in the World are drooling over him.
Tactically, the move may make sense, but in terms of performance, Manchester City is at a disadvantage over some of the giants that can guarantee deep Champions League runs every single season.
Oezil is arguably the hottest name on the transfer market, so why wouldn't the defending CL champions and Italian treble winners want a piece of the action?
Inter president Massimo Moratti expressed his admiration for Oezil upon seeing his Germans thrash Argentina in the quarterfinals.
Oezil has said he wants to win. Well, there's no place for winning like Milan right now. Mesut said he admired the Premiership, but I'm sure new manager Rafa Benitez would suffice as his boss.
Inter Milan is stacked with talent at the backline, loads of talented players that can push the ball up the pitch and get the ball to Oezil's feet fast and with Wesley Sneijder as his likely partner in crime, the duo would be one of the most feared midfield combinations in Europe.
It's been such an all-German affair for the club from Stamford Bridge, I'm surprised Carlo Ancelotti isn't speaking fluent German by now.
The reigning EPL and FA cup champs shipped Michael Ballack back to his old club at Leverkusen. Their main targets during the transfer window have included Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and of course, Mesut Oezil.
Chelsea offer top flight football, and with Joe Cole probably heading for the exit doors this summer, the Blues lack that midfield player with a bit of magic and pace that can break a game open at any minute.
Ancelotti's 4-4-2 formation may create some friction among players if Oezil were to be brought in. Essien will be healthy for the beginning of the season and will take his post at the back of that diamond four in the midfield. However, Frank Lampard has relished his role at the top of said diamond, the place Oezil would most likely take if he were transferred.
Does Ancelotti have it in him to shift players, including his most influential player at midfield, to different spots around the pitch to accommodate the midfield dynamo?
Lampard has been shifted around before, so the situation could potentially pan out. However, the accomodations Oezil and Chelsea would have to make just don't make for an attractive move. Plus, Chelsea has reportedly dropped out of the the bidding for Oezil and shifted their focus to national teammate Sami Khedira.
There's no way around it, Oezil's skills and talent scream Barcelona.
Barca's interest will catch the attention of Oezil, obviously, because they are the best team in the world, but also because they have a wealth of talent all over the field. Oezil could play behind the strikers or operate on the flanks and have world class footballers every which way to distribute to. It's a salivating prospect.
However, recent reports suggest that Barcelona will bid on Oezil just to spite other teams. Their lure is undeniable and their ultimate plan would be to sign the youngster just for the sake of snapping him up and then loaning him back out to Germany.
The Catalans have depth out the wazoo, so there's the question of if they even need another big sign like Oezil and if so, the style's of play align, but is the "sign and loan" tactic really the best situation for Oezil or Barca? No.
Camp Nou would be a great fit, but with Barca's talent pool, their plan to loan him out immediatley and reported interest in signing Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona just doesn't seem like the move to make.
Personally, I can't stand Bayern, but that's neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that if Louis van Gaal can land Oezil it'd be a fantastic signing for the German giants.
For one, Deutschland chalks up a huge victory by housing one of their own. Oezil served his country valiantly and has roots in the Bundesliga, so keeping him around is definitely a nice bonus and promotes German football well.
The Bavarians may not be as creative a team as some of Europe's sexier clubs, but they went to the CL final this past season and completed the double, how can you argue with that? The level of competition is supreme and the opportunity for success is astounding.
As far as logistics goes, Bayern would be getting the whole gang back together. Schweinsteiger and Mueller would welcome Mesut with open arms and it'd be an old fashioned reunion. We're talking tea parties, book clubs, the whole nine yards.
Seriously though, great collection of talent and just think of the chemistry that trio could develop, I need new shorts.
Munich just inked midfielders Hamit Altintop and Franck Ribery to new contracts however. Both players, namely Ribery have been giving Bayern headaches recently so the move may not be on this summer.
An obvious choice, Werder Bremen would love to have their little star back at their camp for the start of the 2010 campaign.
The lure of the Premiership or La Liga may be tantalizing, but Bremen provides a good situation for Oezil.
For one, he still has a year left on his contract and Oezil has made it clear that it's important to him to honour that contract. Frankly, I believe everybody has a price.
However, Bremen manager Klaus Allofs has reported that they'd rather see Oezil leave on a free next summer and interestingly enough, have yet to receive any concrete bids for the midfielder. The attacking wiz has not dismissed the possibility of an extension with Bremen either.
Werder Bremen have been to the DFB Cup final the past two years and finished third in the Bundesliga this year, enough to earn them a spot in CL qualifying. It's not as if Oezil is mulling around in the slums of the Bundesliga, he's in a good situation.
Furthermore, Oezil has just finished a long and exhausting World Cup run. It's feasible to think that he might just commit to Bremen, finish out his contract and not have to worry about moving to another league and having to adjust so quickly when he clearly could use some time off. From a peace of mind standpoint, staying at Bremen makes a lot of sense.
North London is up in arms over the distinct possibility that their creative midfield leader and talisman Cesc Fabregas might jump ship to Barcelona during the transfer window.
With supporters calling for a concrete plan B, Oezil seems like a front-runner to step in and assume Fabregas' duties should the Spanish international part ways with the Gunners.
Arsenal offers Champions League football, and an array of creative players that would mesh well with Oezil's skill set like Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie. Plus, skipper Arsene Wenger is one of the best managers in the world and it's an attractive prospect for a bright eyed 21-year-old who clearly has his best days in front of him.
Wenger, like recording artist Drake, has money to blow, but there's a lot of moving parts to the deal. Oezil would be a great fit for the edgy and creative Gunners but if Fabregas doesn't move, don't expect Wenger to pursue Mesut any further.