Nottingham Forest spent a substantial amount of cash on new recruits during the summer transfer window.
The spending came as boss Aitor Karanka set about erasing years of disappointment on the pitch; ultimately trying to make a genuine attempt at reaching the top flight.
The signing of João Carvalho perhaps caught the eye more than most, given that Forest forked out a record £13.2 million to Benfica for his services – eclipsing the £5.5 million spent on Britt Assombalonga back in 2014.
It is safe to say the hefty sum has been used as a stick to beat the little magician with.
Strip the fee away and judge him as a footballer and the Reds have a massively talented star of the future within their ranks.
Carvalho has guile, skill and a determination that lots of foreign imports haven’t shown at the City Ground in the past.
Quite frankly, at times this season he has looked a snip at £13 million.
It is worth remembering that the Forest number 10 is still only 21 and is by no means the finished article. His critics, however, would be wise to get behind him and support his sheer class.
Bundles of brilliance
The 21-year-old has been trusted to play in every league game by Karanka and his highlights have included superb assists against Norwich, Bolton and Ipswich; whilst his stunning goals against Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall are also worthy of note.
Some Forest supporters feel the need to have a scapegoat when things go awry and surprisingly that has been Carvalho just lately, with the Reds struggling for consistency on the pitch.
That concept is absurd, with Carvalho producing some of the best technical ability seen on Trentside in many years.
Not only that but the work he does when Forest don’t have the ball is admirable. For an attack-minded player he is more than happy to dig in and do the ugly stuff.
Looking the part
On Saturday, Forest travelled to face Premier League Chelsea and if one player looked remotely comfortable coming up against world class footballers, it was indeed Carvalho.
At one point he made the departing Chelsea legend Cesc Fabregas look like a pub player with a series of twists and turns that left the Spaniard in knots.
The more cynical Forest supporters would be wise to remember some of the absolute dross that the club has attracted in recent years.
Carvalho wasn’t cheap but in 26 games this season he has already shown what a tremendous player he could be for the club in the years to come.
The Championship isn’t easy league to adapt to, but Carvalho is getting better with each passing game.
On current form, which has been deemed average by some supporters, he is showing serious quality – ability that will eventually see him shine in the top flight of English football.
Forest fans who can identify footballing talent must be somewhat excited; in anticipation of just how good Carvalho might look in a year’s time.