There's no doubt the August interest of Manchester United in Ander Herrera caused the Spaniard's form to dip in the early part of the season.
The midfielder rarely was permitted to complete 90 minutes for Athletic Bilbao, and the club president urged him to get his head straight and concentrate on his football.
He has since pledged his future to the club, and United appear for now to be focusing elsewhere, with their attempted €36 million buy only a memory for now.
Yet with now just over a week until the transfer window closes, and United getting nowhere in terms of alternatives - Herrera's current form for Bilbao could be a case of perfect timing.
He hadn't scored all season up until the turn of the year, but since the calendar turned 2014 Herrera has two in three games.
The second came this week, a crashing header to seal a 4-2 La Liga victory over Valladolid on Monday night.
Herrera finished the game with all four shots on target, two key passes, two tackles, three successful dribbles and 85 per cent passing accuracy.
It was the type of display which saw him dubbed the Spanish Gerrard a couple of years ago, and play a key role in Spain's 2011 under-21 European Championship winning team alongside Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara.
The prospect of moving to United this January may be gone, the club won't fancy another mad dash at the last minute to activate his release clause again, but another all action performance against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night and they may be tempted to reconsider.