Months of Manchester United stasis in the transfer market came to an emphatic end over the weekend, with Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin all now confirmed Red Devils.
The trio cost a whopping £52.4m according to reports, but it’s the latter two, a pair of much-needed midfield stabilising signings, who will have sparked the most excitement amongst the Old Trafford faithful.
But who is likely to miss out in order for this pair to make the XI?
It seems certain the Marouane Fellaini renaissance will be short-lived, with a spot in a midfield three alongside the incoming duo difficult to envisage.
With Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger likely to sit deeper, such a combination would leave the middle band dangerously bereft of creativity.
Ander Herrera remains the leading playmaker in the ranks and, judging by the fact he started every Man Utd game between mid-February and the end of the season, he is deep in Louis van Gaal’s good books at present.
Another whose first-team prospects are bleak is Daley Blind.
Rotated between holding-midfield and left-back throughout last season, few could say with complete certainty where the Dutchman is best deployed.
After spending £32m on Luke Shaw 12 months ago, he is sure to be handed every opportunity to impress in his favoured position when fit, whereas Marcos Rojo appears more comfortable in a full-back capacity than he does in the heart of defence.
An abundance of options will force Blind to provide back up for both positions.
A third potential loser of this double deal is one of Chris Smalling or Phil Jones.
The England twosome were United’s first choice centre-backs towards the end of the previous campaign, with both demonstrating signs their obvious potential is well on the way to being realised.
However, when former favourite defensive screen Michael Carrick is fit, Van Gaal will want him in the team.
The Red Devils lost a third of the 27 matches he didn’t start last time around, as opposed to the one defeat suffered in the 16 league games he did.
With no room in the midfield, he may be dropped into a centre-back berth where his experience, anticipation and composure can be best utilised, meaning one of the Smalling-Jones axis misses out.
What’s important to note is that successfully second guessing madcap manager Van Gaal is a tricky business, but with the plethora of options the Dutch tactician has available to him, the 11/2 about United winning the title this term can’t be considered a bad bet.