Mason Greenwood has made a huge impact during his breakout season at Manchester United - but if Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace had their own way he would have lined up for an entirely different club during 2019-20.
Greenwood, 18, made his first United start in the last game of the 2018-19 Premier League season, but it is in the current term that he has really announced his talents to the Old Trafford faithful.
With 16 goals in all competitions, only Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have outscored the teenager, with the young trio's form since returning from the coronavirus lockdown steering United to four consecutive wins prior to Monday's draw with Southampton.
Back in August, though, Greenwood was just another Reds hopeful with a dream and a handful of first-team minutes under his belt, prompting an enquiry from Hodgson's employers that, rather fortuitously for United, fell on deaf ears.
“Mason is a fantastic player," the Palace manager told reporters on Wednesday ahead of United's midweek visit to Selhurst Park .
"We’ve known about him for a while and in actual fact I think we might even have enquired about him at the start of the season, if there was any chance of him coming out on loan.
“Of course you get the answer ‘no chance’ because they see him as one of theirs. But it wasn’t a difficult spot.
"I think people all over the Premier League have realised there is a real talent on the books of Manchester United and it’s been just a question of time before he gets his chance.
“It was the same with Marcus [Rashford], he didn’t have to wait either and they put him in early and, as a result, they find themselves with a young but very, very talented forward line.”
United's Champions League hopes received a double blow on Monday as they tied with Southampton on the same day rivals City saw their ban overturned - a decision that means fifth place will no longer provide a route to Europe's biggest club competition.
The Reds are currently tied on points with fourth-placed Leicester City, who hold a slight advantage on goal difference and take on Sheffield United shortly before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's charges walk out against Palace.