Mike Havenaar: Another Fine Talent in Japan's Burgeoning Footballing System
With all the talk about where Mario Goetze, Eden Hazard, Christian Eriksen, Marco Reus, and all of Europe's finest will go in the January transfer window, there will no doubt be quite a few bargains that'll slip under the radar.
And with all the top clubs across Europe, and the world, constantly scouring the globe to find the best talent available at the cheapest prices, we could well see some new, surprising players turn into household names following moves in this winter's window.
Here are the top 10 bargain buys in world football this January.
Wanted by Premier League side Newcastle United, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has been lighting up Ligue 1 this season with his stellar displays for Montpellier.
A player with a very accurate tackle and brilliant eye for making a key interception, 22-year-old Yanga-Mbiwa is on the verge of a call-up to the senior France team, having won eight caps for their U-21s.
He's also a strong, imposing player who has the pace to keep up with even the quickest of forwards, meaning he'd have no problem settling in at a Premier League, Bundesliga or Serie A club.
A star in Japan for being strangely tall at 1.94 meters as much as his brilliant footballing skill, Mike Havenaar has been the star of the J-League this season.
Playing for minnows Ventforet Kofu, 24-year-old Havenaar's 17 league goals from 30 games are the reason why the team languishing in 16th in the 18-team league are staying afloat in the top-flight.
A player with superb technique, great aerial ability and the decision-making of a Ryan Giggs type of player, Havenaar's form has not only seem him win three caps for Japan (scoring twice), but has also seen him linked with Aston Villa.
With huge marketing potential and a phenomenal re-sale value due to both on- and off-field factors, Havenaar makes the perfect signing in tough economic times.
Lech Poznan striker Artjoms Rudnev represents everything a top-flight manager wants; a 20 goals a season striker available at a cheap price.
As Javier Hernandez has proved at Manchester United, if you can score goals, you can score them anywhere. And 23-year-old Rudnev has not just scored goals in Poland, but also in Italy against Serie A giants Juventus, in the UEFA Europa League.
The striker, who has won 15 caps for Latvia, has scored 17 goals in 13 games this season, following on from a 20-goal haul last term, four of which came against Juve.
A player with big potential on the pitch, linked with Arsenal in the past, Rudnev is another player with good re-sale value.
A player in the best form of his life, 26-year-old Trabzonspor striker Burak Yilmaz is a player to catch while he's hot.
Yilmaz, a player with huge promise in Turkey who's only now fulfilling his potential, has scored 13 goals in just nine games in the Super Lig this season, following on from 19 goals in 27 matches last campaign.
To prove just how remarkable Yilmaz's achievement is, his side has scored just 17 goals this season, meaning Turkey's latest superstar has made a 76 percent goal-scoring contribution to his side this term.
He may have no decent re-sale value, but seen as he's in the form of his life, athletically, mentally and performance-wise, who knows what Yilmaz could do if given even better service in front of goal.
An incredibly high-class talent, it's very strange how Dynamo Kiev winger Andriy Yarmolenko hasn't been linked to one of Europe's elite yet.
The 22-year-old has scored 10 goals from 17 games this season, all from the left wing, following on from 15 goals last season in the same position, while he has also claimed numerous assists.
Yarmolenko is also rather experienced at the highest level too, winning 17 caps for Ukraine, scoring six goals, including goals against Uruguay and Germany.
A player with perhaps the most on-pitch potential of any talent on this list, Yarmolenko needs to be snapped up soon before he does unassailably become as coveted as Eden Hazard, Mario Goetze, etc.
Fluminense striker Fred is currently in the best form of his life back in his native Brazil, scoring 21 goals in 23 games in the Brazilian Serie A this season.
And in the three seasons since his move back, he's got 38 league goals in 57 games.
He maybe 28 and have only one big contract left in him if he's lucky, but considering the former Olympique Lyonnais striker is in the peak of his career, and wants to come back to Europe, now could be the time to strike for a club in desperate search of a scorer.
Considered India's finest young talent, 20-year-old striker Jeje Lalpekhlua could well be the biggest bargain.
The young forward has already scored six goals in ten caps for the Indian national team, and has scored 24 goals in 43 games in India's top-flight, including a very successful spell at the Indian Arrows where he netted 14 goals in 16 games. And this is all despite often playing as a lone striker.
Set for a trial with SPL side Rangers, the player's agent said Lalpekhlua could land the club 100 million new fans.
Needless to say, Lalpekhlua is a player with phenomenal marketing potential and the possibility of a colossal re-sale value.
Like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sunil Chhetri is another Indian superstar on trial with Rangers.
And like his compatriot, Chhetri is another lethal striker with great talent on the pitch, and out-of-this-world money-making potential.
The 27-year-old only has one big contract in him, but it's certainly a punt worth taking seen as he's scored 26 goals in 50 caps for India, as well as 10 goals in 12 league games this season, bouncing back after not playing a competitive game in 2010/11, after being messed around by the Kansas City Wizards after signing a contract with the MLS side.
After he failed at Liverpool, 25-year-old Argentine Sebastian Leto looks as if he's finally found his potential in football.
The Panathinaikos player has scored 10 goals in eight league games this season from midfield after finally being given a prominent role within a team for the first time in his career.
Having shown what he can do when given a proper chance, Leto could well turn out to be a bargain for any team this season, with his innate goal-scoring ability and all-around playmaking game a perfect fit for any ball-playing side.
However, they'll have to catch him quick before a bidding war ensues for his signature.
With three goals in five games in the UEFA Champions League this season, including one against Manchester United at Old Trafford, FC Basel midfielder Fabian Frei is fast becoming one of Europe's best talents alongside teammate Xherdan Shaqiri.
But while 19-year-old Shaqiri soaks up most of the attention, a potential bargain under the radar could be had with Frei, who hasn't been linked to a top team despite his burgeoning importance to Basel.
A player with a good eye for goal, and a pass, with the top-level dribbling technique and ball control characteristic of Switzerland's next generation of talent, 22-year-old Frei (no relation to Alexander Frei) could well be one of the best bargains of the January transfer window.