Aaron Ramsey could prove to be more important to Arsenal that Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas once was, according to former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby.
The Wales international has enjoyed the best form of his career with 11 goals for club and country so far this season, a feat that has coincided with the Gunners' remarkable rise to the summit of the Premier League.
The 22-year-old's influence in a bustling Arsenal midfield has grown exponentially over the past year and his dynamism coupled with his new-found goal threat has seen him recognised as the league's stand out performer this season.
Although Molby admits the Welshman's irresistible rise comes as a slight surprise, he believes Ramsey's importance to the Gunners' success is very capable of eclipsing that Fabregas once had, before the Spaniard returned to Barcelona in 2011.
"Forget Mesut Ozil; Ramsey is Arsenal's most important player at the moment," Molby wrote in his Eurosport blog. "In fact, his importance can't be underestimated. While Olivier Giroud is playing well, he is not prolific. Ramsey's goal scoring threat has become integral to this side.
"Ian Rush and Kevin Ratcliffe first told me about Ramsey some years ago. They said that he was a fantastic passer who saw things early - a sign of a great player. But, if I am honest, I hadn't seen that talent until now, With confidence flowing through him, he can only get better.
"He could become as important to this side - if not more so - than Cesc Fabregas once was.
"Obviously, that is dependent on him continuing this fine form. The goals and assists will invariably get the headlines but he works really hard and puts in the subtle, quiet defensive work. If he continues at this rate he will match Fabregas' scoring record - it is a total surprise, but he looks exceptional."
Ramsey's impressive stats suitably reflect his increasingly influential role in Arsenal's midfield. In his eight Premier League appearance the former Cardiff City youngster has struck five goals, providing a further three for his teammates.
Having struck a further four of Arsenal's Champions League campaign - including their qualifying wins over Fenerbahce - he lead the club's scoring charts, two ahead of Olivier Giroud.