Once Toni Kroos announced that he was to leave Bayern Munich, a frantic scramble for his signature was sparked.
As one of the finest passers of a football in the global game, the biggest sides on the planet were falling over themselves to open contract talks.
Manchester United were among those to have been monitoring his situation for a long time, and hoped that they could position themselves in pole position.
A lack of Champions League football was always going to work against them, though, even with Louis van Gaal appointed to help carry the Red Devils forward.
In the end, as Kroos helped Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil, it was to be the reigning champions of Europe that put the most enticing offer to the talented 24-year-old.
He said after helping Real to land the Club World Cup: "I'm so happy to win the Club World Cup for a second time. This trophy is so good for Real Madrid, we are a great family.
"I chose Real Madrid and now I'm so happy. I was right to sign for Madrid.
"Before coming here, I didn't know what to expect, but I made the decision. I was looking for something new and I was lucky that I signed for Real Madrid."
Real landed Kroos for a fee of around £19.5 million, which makes him quite the bargain.
When you consider that United paid £29 million for Ander Herrera, their disappointment at missing out on the German playmaker is clear to see.
Kroos has already become an integral part of the set-up in Madrid and has played a leading role in their remarkable run of 22 straight wins in all competitions.