It may have taken longer than Nemanja Matic would have first planned, but he is now an integral part of the Chelsea midfield.
Since his January return from Benfica, the Serbian international has slotted effortlessly into Jose Mourinho’s side, impressing time and again and proving the considerable hype generated by his performances in the Primeira Liga were well justified.
Would Chelsea be where they are now without him? It is impossible to tell for certain, but the £21million signing has made some vital contributions, and his very presence allows the more forward-thinking among his teammates to do what they do best – as was seen in all its glory against Arsenal last weekend.
The presence of a world-class central midfielder settles everyone around them; that, as much as anything else, is why Matic is so important to this Chelsea team. And yes, I do think he is world-class.
The proof of what can happen when you do not have any such quality in your central areas is plain to see every time Manchester United turn out at Old Trafford.
Away from home they have done well, but at home, they are currently a shadow of their former selves, despite possessing a front-line the envy of many across Europe.
In Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and Shinji Kagawa, David Moyes has a veritable tombola of creative options. And yet without the midfield stability, those players have too many other jobs to do to focus solely on scoring and creating goals.
That is why the summer signing of William Carvalho is a vital one.
The Sporting Lisbon midfielder may only be 21, but he is not far off the finished article and, were he to arrive in England, he would soon be challenging the likes of Matic for the title of best central midfielder in the Premier League.
Yes, he really is that good.
So while Matic’s history surely meant a move to United was out of the question once Mourinho came calling, William is a viable option.
And if he arrives, that front-line can focus on doing what they are best at, and suddenly the chosen one could be challenging the special one just as his predecessor did so often in the past.