Last summer’s transfer window was expected to see at least one truly star-name arrive at Manchester United.
After all, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara just some of the footballers linked with a move to Old Trafford, surely new manager David Moyes was going to be given one huge boost in what was always going to be a baptism of fire.
Instead, the only player to arrive – on a frantic deadline-day and for considerably more than his recently-expired release-clause – was Marouane Fellaini.
For £27.5million, United signed a Belgian international many doubted was the answer to their obvious midfield limitations. And with the campaign coming to an end, those doubters appear to have been proved right.
Yet it was telling that in his first match since taking over from Moyes, interim boss Ryan Giggs dropped Fellaini not just from his starting XI, but from his entire match-day squad.
That Juan Mata – the club’s record-signing – was only on the bench was also a bold statement from a man who appeared to be picking the old guard and the next generation, with the duo bought by Moyes forced to look on from the bench in one instance and from considerably further away in the other.
Surely there is a place for Mata in United’s future. He is a supremely talented footballer. And yet with Shinji Kagawa already at the club and occupying – when allowed to – similar positions as the Spaniard, United’s new permanent boss has some big decisions to make.
But it is Fellaini whose time at United is surely coming to an end, with Giggs’ first team selection a huge indictment on the former Everton man’s transfer fee and influence thus far.