What do Adam Lallana and multi-million pound Chelsea stars Juan Mata and Eden Hazard all have in common?

The answer is that they have been the most creative players in the Premier League so far this season.

Lallana, Mata and Hazard currently share top spot in the division’s assists table, with each of them having directly laid on four goals.

It is exalted company that the Saints midfield maestro is keeping.

Spanish international Mata and Belgian wizard Hazard cost Chelsea a combined fee of about £55m.

Lallana, on the other hand, was acquired for a few thousand pounds, plus a 25 per cent sell on clause, from Bournemouth when he was 12-years-old.

It has proved to be quite a piece of business.

Now valued at millions of pounds himself, Lallana has come through the ranks and emerged into one of Saints’ most pivotal players.

His rise was complete this summer when he was handed the captain’s armband by manager Nigel Adkins.

Lallana’s performances in the early part of the season did not just earn him praise, though.

They also resulted in a call-up for England, as Roy Hodgson drafted him into the squad at late notice for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, at Wembley, last month.

Lallana had to be content with a role as an unused substitute, but it was another landmark moment in his burgeoning career.

The 24-year-old, who has helped Saints fight all the way from League One back into the top flight, made his 200th appearance for the club in last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Fulham, at St Mary’s.

During the promotion-winning campaigns in 2010/11 and 2011/12, the midfielder accounted for a total of 19 goals and 21 assists.

And, although he is yet to score his first Premier League goal, Lallana is proving a serious threat at the top level.