Aston Villa loanee Yannick Bolasie has admitted that he came close to joining promotion rivals Middlesbrough in the summer transfer window.
But the tricky winger took apart his potential summer suitors to underline just why Steve Bruce was so keen to beat Tony Pulis to his signature.
Bolasie up against young defender Dael Fry always looked something of a mismatch even before the match and he was a menace throughout Villa’s comprehensive 3-0 win at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday evening.
The wideman has that unpredictability that Boro are currently lacking but he is an important part of Villa’s plans; despite Dean Smith having far more creative options at his disposal than Saturday’s opponent Pulis.
At one point, it looked as if Albert Adomah – himself a former Boro player – would keep him out of contention but Saturday’s display belied a Premier League footballer operating in the second tier.
That’s why the transfer battle for his signature late on in the summer window was so hotly contested and also why it was so vital for Villa to win that race.
Pulis must reenter the market in January in pursuit of attacking players as good as the ones Smith has; Boro’s promotion hopes may depend on how successful he is.