Bayern Munich yesterday announced the signing of Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Sebastian Rode, but the deal was met with immediate scepticism, with a palpable suspicion that the 23-year-old midfielder will be unable to break through amid a host of world-class midfield talent.
Rode has impressed during his time with Frankfurt, racking up just shy of 100 first-team appearances and developing a reputation as a tough-tackling midfielder, the perfect compliment to Bayern's riches of creative types in the middle-third of the pitch.
The Germany under-21 international, however, faces huge competition at Bayern, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Thiago and Mario Gotze all expected to be above him in the pecking order, while Toni Kroos is an automatic starter despite the doubts that persist over his future at the Allianz Arena.
With first-team opportunities seemingly limited, and Rode hoping to avoid being the next youngster who fails to make the grade in Bavaria, a loan deal may make the most sense for all parties.
It may seem disrespectful of a player who has clearly earned his move to the runaway Bundesliga champions, but the reality remains that he is unlikely to dislodge the all-star cast Pep Guardiola is able to call upon.
Here are the five Premier League outfits who can offer Rode a platform to showcase his undeniable talents and stand him in good stead for what looks set to be a promising future...
The Toffees have utilised the loan system to perfection this season, extracting the best form of Gareth Barry's career, arguably, and allowing Romelu Lukaku to enhance his burgeoning status as one of the Premier League's most deadly marksmen.
Barry is widely expected to sign on for a second season at Goodison Park, but Manchester City may elect to bring him back, instead of drafting in a new signing, as they look to come into line with Financial Fair Play so a void may open up for Roberto Martinez.
Rode would not sacrifice on Barry's passing game, but also offers the physical attributes more commonly associated with James McCarthy's style in the Everton midfield.
Should the Cottagers retain their Premier League position, Felix Magath will know as much as anyone the mass overhaul required to make the west-London outfit competitive once more.
One of the main accusations levelled at Fulham this term has been their soft centre, with Steve Sidwell and Scott Parker, amongst others, unable to offer a charitable defence enough protection.
Rode would allay those fears with his combative nature and give the Cottagers a far steelier edge, the sort Magath has looked to instil since his arrival.
The Magpies have suffered since the departure of Yohan Cabaye in January and, while Rode fails to provide the creative talents in and around the final-third of the Frenchman, he would offer some presence in central midfield.
Another worry about Cabaye's absence has been the lack of firepower, amplified when Loïc Remy is sidelined, from all areas of the pitch and this would be something Rode sadly lacks in.
That should not mask the talents he brings to the table, however, offering the Tyneside outfit some battle-hardened qualities lacking from Alan Pardew's men, particularly in the second half of the campaign.
The Saints currently have their own midfield enforcer in Morgan Schneiderlin, who has been one of the standout performers in a wonderful season at the St Mary's Stadium.
Schneiderlin's future is far from secure, though, with Arsenal just one of a long line of suitors reported to be sniffing around the Frenchman this summer.
Rode would represent the ideal replacement for someone who combines a passing game which keeps the Saints ticking at the base of the midfield with diligence in carrying out defensive work.
Not dissimilar to Fulham, one of the Swans' major problems this term has stemmed from an inability to provide enough resolve in front of a creaky backline.
Ashley Williams does not look the same player and, while that may owe to the summer links with a move to Arsenal, a defensive midfield duo of Jonjo Shelvey and Jonathan de Guzman offers more assurance heading forward than it does in the other direction.
Rode's presence as a replacement for either of the duo would provide Garry Monk with a better balance to his midfield unit and give him more flexibility, too.