Having bought Robin van Persie, Manchester United still look short of a ball-winning midfielder. TEAMtalk's Rich Kitto has a target in mind.
'The only mistakes you make in life are the ones you don't learn from.'
Over the two weeks of the Olympic Games, football fans were forced well inside the rear of the newspapers before stumbling across half a page dedicated to the beautiful game, and typically those articles questioned why footballers weren't more like our gold medallists.
However, now the sport has returned to its rightful place on the back pages, with the majority of column inches taken up by one team, for two reasons, over the last three days.
Understandably, social media sites were awash with vocal Manchester United supporters expressing their admiration and delight at the signing of Robin van Persie, whilst salivating at the prospect of Wayne Rooney lining up alongside the enigmatic Dutchman in attack.
But after their performance in Monday night's 1-0 Premier League defeat at Everton, and the obvious weaknesses of the team last season, is it truly the best form of investment?
The transfer of van Persie from Arsenal to United was understandably huge news, and whilst Gunners fans won't thank me for saying so, it was exactly what us armchair fans needed after a particularly insipid transfer window ticked into its final weeks.
For fans of the Gunners, it was merely a sad case of deja vu, as they were forced to rip down yet another poster off their wall and auction off their shirt as one more of their world-class signings walked out the door to a rival.
For all associated, RVP was Arsenal's talisman, their captain, leader, and record-breaking goalscorer. A man who Arsene Wenger and the club stuck by for many injury-plagued years before he finally began to return the debt. But more importantly for many fans, the transfer was seen as the move that unclassified them as a major force and as a genuine contender for the title. But alas, their loss is Manchester United's gain.
So for those supporters heralding the red half of Manchester, it is arguably the most exciting and stellar signing Sir Alex Ferguson has made since bringing a fresh-faced Rooney to the club for £27million back in 2004. Particularly after losing out on the likes of Samir Nasri and Eden Hazard - who instead of United chose to don 50 shades of Blue - and handing over the Premier League title to their noisy neighbours, it can be seen as a real statement of intent. It says: "We are still here. We're not going anywhere. And we can still attract the biggest players in the world."
So Monday night was seen as the grand unveiling. The fact that a weakened United team were actually facing tough opponents in Everton at Goodison Park was almost forgotten. And whilst I'm sure Sir Alex Ferguson had not let his mind slip, his memory did seem to fade, as the Red Devils were undone in almost an identical manner to the game that ultimately cost them their title earlier in the year.
In the incredible 4-4 draw at Old Trafford on April 22, a central midfield comprising of Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes was completely bossed by a colossal Belguim battler in the form of Marouane Fellaini, who scored one and provided the ball for Steven Pienaar to score the late equaliser.
It therefore must have been extremely frustrating for the travelling United fans to witness events unfold again, as Fellaini completely ran the show for Everton playing as an advanced playmaker behind Nikica Jelavic - leaving the likes of Scholes, Tom Cleverley and Carrick feeding off scraps.
Whilst it was extremely unfortunate that United went into the game with Carrick acting as a stand-by centre-half in the absence of Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, it is hugely surprising that Ferguson has not invested to shore up the gaping gap in the middle of his midfield.
Such a drought of midfield quality was there for many to see last season - exemplified by the re-signing of Scholes - so either Ferguson does not have the money to spend, or he is putting huge faith on the young, and relatively untested, shoulders of Cleverley.
Ferguson, the king of the media mind games, has said there is enough in the war chest to invest if the right player becomes available. But, if the window closes without a tough and combative midfielder being pictured standing on the hallowed turf at Old Trafford with a scarf above his head, then a mistake will have been made, and it could be argued that the money spent was mismanaged.
There is no denying that van Persie is a supreme talent, and a natural goalscorer that is also extremely unselfish with the ball at his feet, but £24million is still an extremely hefty investment on a player than has just turned 29 and, as we all know, is particularly injury prone.
If fit, he will score goals, make no qualms about it - but scoring goals has never been an issue for the team. Last season, they banged in 89 goals in the league, just four shy of City, and still have an array of strikers on their books in Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez and Kiko Macheda - whilst the likes of Ashley Young and Nani can play off a front man if needs be. If anything, there are too many options up top and Ferguson needs to trim down or face unrest.
Now let's look at their defensive, ball-winning midfielders - well, they have Anderson, who doesn't really fit any position in particular and could do with shedding some pounds, and Darren Fletcher, whose extremely unfortunate illness looks likely to halt his career, and let Paul Pogba leave for Italy.
The point being, there is nobody in there who you could pinpoint as the man to protect the defence, to stop the opposition's breaks and disarm the Fellainis of this world. Daniele Di Rossi is a man who would fit that mould and has previously been linked, but has just reaffirmed his commitment to Roma. Then there is Jack Rodwell, again previously linked, that has just moved to neighbours City. Even Alex Song would have been worth a consideration, as a player who can both break up the play and provide a pass, but such skills have seen him snapped up by Barcelona. There is the young Frenchman Yann M'Vila, but he looks set for either Tottenham or van Persie's old club.
So for me, Cheick Tiote is an obvious choice after an extremely impressive series of performances for Newcastle. He is powerful, dynamic, aware, resolute - and does exactly the job required of him, and what is required for Manchester United.
With RvP now in their team, there is no doubt United will look extremely impressive going forward, but many a team will bottle up Everton's tactics and combat the 19-times league winners by playing with a high tempo, packing the midfield and getting at them from the off.
After all, for all the quality Manchester United have up front, it will be of little use if their midfield can't get the ball to them effectively enough.