When Adel Taarabt arrived at AC Milan on loan back in January, there were a fair few dissenting voices, but he very quickly turned things around.
The Moroccan international's signature was seen by some to be a measure of how far Italian football, and Milan specifically, had fallen from grace.
Queens Park Rangers were hardly sad to see Taarabt leave and most experts predicted that the volatile midfielder would spent a few months warming the bench at San Siro.
But from the off Taarabt was a changed man. He described the chance to play for Milan as a 'dream' and he knuckled down to make it work.
La Gazzetta dello Sport can be harsh in its judgements of players, but the pink paper hailed Taarabt as a breath of fresh air. As well as goals and assists, Taarabt gave something English fans have never really seen from him - effort.
But larger forces conspired to prevent Taarabt becoming a permanent member of Milan's squad.
Struggling coach Clarence Seedorf was axed. Milan decided to take stock and weigh up their transfer moves once they had settled on a new boss.
A deal may have arrived in any case, but QPR reportedly held out for a fee of around £7 million - a sum Milan weren't willing or able to pay. Had it been £4 million, they may have signed off.
Taarabt was also done an inadvertent disservice by Mario Balotelli. Milan's entire summer transfer campaign was based on selling Super Mario, but the deal took much longer to arrive than expected. By the time Liverpool took Balotelli off their hands, Milan's summer dealings were winding down.
Were it not for a series of unrelated events, Taarabt may well be pulling on a Milan shirt instead of fending off jibes about his weight. It would be in everyone's interests if he could find a new club in January, but the Milan ship has almost certainly sailed through no fault of his own.