In demand Croatian Ivan Rakitic has had a busy few weeks discussing his future, so a return to action in La Liga couldn't have been more welcome.
The Sevilla star has been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool in recent weeks, just days ago admitting he was uncertain on his future.
Last night he was back in action for his club as Sevilla took on Getafe, and played a key role in a 3-0 win.
Rakitic played all 90 minutes in central midfield in the win, and was outstanding throughout.
He scored his side's third goal, with one of the five shots he fired in during the contest. Rakitic also created three goalscoring opportunities for his teammates in the victory.
Most impressive was his time in possession, touching the ball 108 times as he pulled the strings. Midfield partner Stephane M'Bia, withdrawn in the 84th minute had made 63 touches.
With that he completed 83 per cent of his passes, and also made two interceptions as he helped break up the Getafe attacks.
In 16 appearances this season Rakitic now has eight goals and six assists. Despite a €40m release clause in his contract it is easy to see why he is in demand.
With Manchester United's midfield floundering, a player like Rakitic who is unafraid to get on the ball and try to make things happen is essential. Even more so that he has the quality to unlock defences.
While David Moyes fears he may be unable to bring in the sort of player he wants this January, Rakitic is an exception.
Not only is his price set and club unable to prevent a sale, he is not cup-tied for European football, and would see a switch to Old Trafford as a step up.
The transfer would be a bold one due to the fee, but for United, not spending the money would arguably be more of a gamble.
image: © jasonparis