During the course of his career Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has developed an increasingly discriminating eye for signing centre-halves.
United have just signed Villarreal’s 23-year-old Ivorian central defender Eric Bailly for a fee in the region of £25m plus add-ons.
Reds fans have every right to harbour concerns over the youngster’s chances given Mourinho’s last two signings in the position.
Neither Papy Djilobodji nor Michael Hector, both of whom arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2015, have exactly proven indispensible to the cause since, with the latter immediately loaned backed to his former club.
However, prior to those acquisitions, regarded as something of a protest by the manager against the club’s inability to land more stellar targets at the time, the Portuguese had shown his eye for stars of the future at centre-back.
Kurt Zouma was his first signing in the position in his second stint at Stamford Bridge.
The Frenchman has done little to dispel the notion that he is a defender of sky-high potential since, despite the Blues’ travails this season.
At Real Madrid, he signed only two centre-halves, with a then-18-year-old Raphael Varane, the most recent of the pair, playing his first nine La Liga games in 2011/12, when Real broke Barcelona’s stranglehold on the division.
Prior to proving he has an eye for a budding operator in the brief, it was the Portuguese’s policy to bring in savvy veterans.
Ricardo Carvalho was his only other buy in the role at Santiago Bernabeu, arriving along with Mourinho in his first summer at the club.
The manager’s entire time at Inter saw him acquire just one central defender, the already-steeped-in-elite-level-football Brazilian international Lucio, from Bayern Munich.
A season later the pair had won the treble, but the new Manchester United manager had not always been so discerning when signing centre-halves.
His first spell at Chelsea saw him acquire no fewer than five, of which only aforementioned bulwark Carvalho and Alex (who was on loan at PSV between 2004 and 2007) going on to make more than 13 league appearances for the Stamford Bridge side.
Nuno Morais reached a Premier League pitch a mere four times for the club, while Khalid Boulahrouz and Tal Ben Haim turned out on 13 occasions each.
Intriguingly, Mourinho has signed just eight central defenders over the 12 seasons since he joined Chelsea for his maiden tenure.
However, having overseen redoubtable operators such as John Terry, Marco Materazzi and Sergio Ramos, the pressing need to tinker has seldom been present.
It appears he has decided changes must be made at Old Trafford and the more discerning eye he has shown for central defenders in recent years suggests much can be expected of Monsieur Bailly.