Juan Mata's arrival at Old Trafford for a club record fee of £37.1 million signals the start of a major rebuilding project for David Moyes' side.
The shock signing shows that the Red Devils can still attract top players and can compete for players over the £30million mark that the club often baulked at in recent transfer windows.
The capture of Mata signaled intent both on and off the field and has given the United faithful something to cheer about heading into a vital final three months of the season, in which the Premier League champions must secure a place in the top four.
Of course, Mata's arrival in Manchester does not guarantee United a top four finish, in what is the most competitive race to be at Europe's top table in years. However, he will offer much needed creativity for a side that has found the net just 36 times in the league this term with only 14 of those coming at home.
The Spaniard has created the second highest number of chances in the premier league (227) in the last two seasons, missing out on the top spot to Manchester City's David Silva and it is this quality in the final third that United have paid for.
Some will argue that Mata is not the player United need but his quality is undoubted. Moyes has promised more signings after Mata, most likely in the summer, and with top quality names like Toni Kroos and Marco Reus being mentioned, the future of Manchester United is looking far more promising under the new manager.
Perhaps the most overlooked but important aspect of Mata's signing is that it shows United's new executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward can sign a top quality player. after a summer of frustration in the transfer window many felt that the £27million signing of Marouane Fellaini represented a panic buy for a player who didn't suit the Manchester United image.
The same cannot be said of Mata who, at only 25 years old, can still develop as a player and has already won the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League as well as a European Championship and World Cup with Spain.
"Congratulations to the club and Ed Woodward for getting the deal done," said Moyes at Mata's unavailing on Monday.
If Moyes is to build a new team at Old Trafford the work of Woodward will be essential and the Mata deal will give the new man at the helm of United's transfer dealings a huge confidence boost.
As with most high profile transfers in football Mata's shirt number has caused a stir. It was reported and genuinely believed by many that Mata would take on the famous Number 7 shirt worn by the likes of Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, it was confirmed Mata will wear the number eight, a shrewd move by Moyes. The price tag alone presents a pressure for Mata before we even consider that he has been tasked with helping save United's season.
The '7' jersey would only have increased the expectancy of the Old Trafford crowd for Mata to perform. The legendary number 7 being left open also presents optimism for the summer and who could fill it.
Giving Mata the number 8 has also allowed Moyes to emphasize his desire to rebuild. The previous owner of the number 8, Anderson left the club for Fiorentina on loan this January and giving Mata his number suggests he will not be coming back.
Anderson was a player that was once considered as "better than Rooney" by Alex Ferguson's brother and Manchester United Scout Martin, leading to his £17million signing from Porto in May 2007. Despite showing promise in his debut season weight issues and injury problems led to an ineffective stay featuring nine goals in 179 first team appearances.
A much liked member of the United squad, Anderson is the perfect example of the deadwood being carried by United towards the end of Ferguson's reign. Anderson contributed little but helped with team morale, something Moyes will not tolerate as he wants players who will fight and work for him.
Seeing a player of Mata's quality come in and take Anderson's shirt number whilst he is still on the clubs books sends a message to players, pull your weight or leave.
Moyes has been clear with in his disappointment in his squads performance and his intent to rebuild, stating: "I am disappointed we are not in a much stronger position. I am disappointed with how we have played."
"I, ultimately, take the wrap for that, but what I will do is make it right. I am going to get better players in".
These statements with the coinciding arrival of Mata will shake up will worry some of the clubs biggest under performers, such as Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley, to name a few, who may fear being moved on should they not improve in the season run in.
With the Mata deal sealed Wayne Rooney appears to be close to signing a new contract that will keep him at Old Trafford until he retires, and a front line of Van Persie, Rooney, Mata and Januzaj would strike fear into even top defenders.
If United can get a top four finish payers will remain keen to join a club with history in abundance and Moyes will be willing to spend offering a silver lining to Moyes' less than gleaming debut season.
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