Weston McKennie has gone from missing out on a move to Southampton to scoring against Barcelona in the Champions League in the space of only four months.
If there was one player who summed up the difference between Barca and Juventus at Camp Nou last night, as Andrea Pirlo’s side clicked ominously into gear to deepen Ronald Koeman’s woes, it was their Texan-born midfield dynamo.
While the Catalans were devoid of character, energy and industry in the centre of the park, Juventus were anything but. And it was McKennie, flanked by Aaron Ramsey and Barca reject Arthur, who set the tone for a famous 3-0 win at the home of the crumbling Spanish giants.
Three days after scoring a crucial goal in the Turin derby, McKennie linked up with Juan Cuadrado once more to devastating effect.
A sublime chipped cross from the Colombia international was brilliantly dispatched from his new, all-American teammate.
McKennie has a lot of qualities – he’s a superb passer, strong in the tackle and extremely versatile – but we had never associated the former Schalke star with acrobatic volleys such as the one he slammed past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen last night.
Consider that a new string added to McKennie’s already impressive bow.
With all due respect to Southampton, Aston Villa and the many other Premier League clubs that showed an interest, McKennie will have few regrets about his decision to join one of the biggest clubs on the continent instead.
Sky claimed Southampton were in talks over a £20 million deal in August while, as reported by the Birmingham Mail, the 22-year-old told Aston Villa he’d be willing to put down roots in the Midlands too.
At the time, it’s fair to say McKennie never saw this coming. Then again, we’ve all been taken aback by this most rapid of rises.
Here’s what some fans had to say on Twitter: