10 players from bottom-six Premier League clubs who'd fit top-six teams

Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester

Despite their perilous positions in the table, this season’s scrappers aren't void of talented players. Dan Kilpatrick picks out a handful who could operate higher up the food chain

1. Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace

There aren't many wingers who can beat a full-back with the ease and consistency of Zaha, who is skilful, a tricky dribbler and – crucially – runs really fast

In a way, Zaha has been there and done it already – although he did only play an inglorious 28 minutes of league football for David Moyes’s Manchester United, who didn’t actually finish in the top six.

Now back at his boyhood club, Zaha has rediscovered the form that persuaded Sir Alex Ferguson to make him his final signing at Old Trafford. There aren't many Premier League wingers who can beat a full-back like the Ivory Coast international, who is skilful, a tricky dribbler and – crucially – runs really fast. He works hard, too, and has scored some cracking goals this term; his final ball, while improving, is still more David Batty than David Beckham, however.

Tottenham tried to sign Zaha in the summer but ended up splashing their cash on Moussa Sissoko instead. Given that they still need a quick winger, they're probably regretting that decision now.

Where? Tottenham

2. Riyad Mahrez, Leicester 

His form in the Champions League – four goals in five appearances in the group stage – suggests he can still be effective when he wants to be

The PFA Player of the Year is suffering from Hazarditis after his remarkable season last time out, but that doesn't mean he's finished (right, Eden?). 

It's difficult to blame Mahrez for looking so uninterested as the champions hurtle towards the Championship. His better form in the Champions League – four goals in five group stage appearances – suggests he can still be effective when he wants to be, and there’s no starting XI in the top six that wouldn't be improved by last season's version of the Algerian. 

Spurs are rumoured to have made a cheeky enquiry in January, but Mahrez has been most frequently linked to their north London rivals. Jamie Vardy said no to Arsenal last summer, but it's unlikely his Leicester team-mate would make the same call.

Where? Arsenal

Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez was essential to Leicester's remarkable title triumph last season

3. Alfie Mawson, Swansea 

Adept with both feet and strong in both boxes, Mawson has hit the ground running since swapping League One for the top flight

The defender with more league goals than Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge is a fantasy football manager's dream, and he's been pretty useful to real-life boss Paul Clement too. His superb volley against Leicester last week was evidence of his technical ability, while he's also a commanding and vocal presence at the heart of Swansea's backline.

Adept with both feet and strong in both boxes, Mawson has hit the ground running since swapping League One for the top flight. It's still early days for the 23-year-old, but he certainly has the potential to follow another former Barnsley centre-back, John Stones, to the Premier League's upper echelons.

Where? Manchester City

4. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea

He's contributed to more goals than Dele Alli, Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne, Sadio Mane, Mesut Ozil, Eden Hazard and just about every playmaker in the division

Two-and-a-half years on, Tottenham fans are suddenly indignant that Sigurdsson was ever allowed to leave the club, fuelled by Mauricio Pochettino's candid admission that it was a mistake to sell the "perfect" Icelander. "I think after he moved to Swansea and we saw his development, he was a perfect player for us," the Spurs manager said in December. 

Sigurdsson has scored eight times and provided eight assists in the league this season, directly contributing to more goals than Dele Alli, Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne, Sadio Mane, Mesut Ozil, Eden Hazard and just about every playmaker in the division. 

But he couldn't get in Tottenham’s team ahead of Gareth Bale and then Christian Eriksen, and there's little to suggest that would be any different now. Perhaps, then, he'd be better off staying put.

Where? Tottenham