Kevin Strootman was forced to watch this summer's World Cup from afar, after an anterior cruciate injury ended not just his domestic season with Roma, but also any chance he had of travelling to Brazil with the Netherlands.
The 24-year-old had long been linked with Manchester United - even before Louis van Gaal took charge - but the 62-year-old's arrival at Old Trafford saw the Strootman rumours go into overdrive. And that was no surprise, given the midfielder's importance to van Gaal's international plans.
Indeed, Strootman's absence this summer prompted van Gaal to completely transfer his tactics, opting for a wing-back system that could not quite see off a stubborn Argentina in the semi-final.
That result prompted Strootman to post a message on his official Instagram account, where a picture of the Dutch crest was accompanied by this message:
"Proud of all the players, staff and people around the Dutch national team. Fantastic performance and a shame it does not end with the cup."
Strootman's message begs the question: Would things have been different if he had been fit and available?
We will never know for sure, but his quality is clear for all to see, and he would have allowed Holland to play with the same free-flowing style that lit up the qualifying round.
When you consider that, and just how talented and vital Strootman is to both club and country, it would be no surprise if United made their move when the player was fully fit. Just do not expect Roma to be happy about it.