The rumour mill has been hard at work spinning yards and yards of newsprint about Bosnian defender Muhamed Besic in recent days, with Tottenham, West Ham, Everton and Swansea all credited with an interest in his signature by the gossip brokers.
But what’s this Besic character all about and where might he fit in with the Lilywhites 3/1-rated tilt at a return to the Champions League places next season?
More observant couch potatoes may know that the 21-year-old was pressed into action as a defensive midfielder by Bosnia manager Safet Susic during his nation’s curtailed spell in Brazil.
Susic had recalled him to the squad for whom he had become the youngest ever representative back in 2010 “because he is the only player here who can handle the job of man-marking Lionel Messi.”
While he may have fallen just short in that assignment, he successfully stymied the world’s greatest practitioner for much of the game.
From his deep midfield berth he was Bosnia’s go-to man with the ball, averaging a team-high 74.3 passes an outing at a 91 per cent completion rate commendable for such an elevated level.
According to whoscored.com he was also accurate with a stellar 28 of the 31 long balls he attempted over his three game visit to the land of samba.
It all adds up to paint the picture of the very model of a ball-playing centre-half.
Besic started his career in earnest at Hamburg, after a short spell spent playing for the comically-named Tennis Berlin, but moved on to Hungary after a falling out with coach Thorsten Frink.
Since then he has been no stranger to rubbing people up the wrong way either and was briefly blackballed from his country’s Under-21 outfit after falling out with the coach.
Yet there’s plenty enough player for that to be overlooked, especially as the awesome performances of his Bosnian midfield colleague Miralem Pjanic mean his own efforts may not have escaped the attentions of the most ravenous talent vultures.