Paul Pogba is back in form for Manchester United at just the right time as the Premier League leaders prepare for today's FA Cup showdown with bitter rivals Liverpool.
Pogba has been a constant source of friction during his second spell with United and recent suggestions that he was keen to engineer a close-season transfer came as little surprise.
Mino Raiola, the France midfielder's agent, infuriated United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December by giving an interview in which he suggested Pogba wanted to leave because he was "unhappy" with the lack of freedom granted to him at Old Trafford.
At the time, Pogba's form was so erratic and his team's results so concerning, that some United fans would gladly have helped him to the exit door. Perceived in some quarters to be a bad influence on some of his younger United team-mates, Pogba's stock could not have been any lower when Solskjaer's side crashed out of the Champions League in the same week Raiola made his inflammatory claims.
At that point, a move to his former club Juventus or a possible switch to Paris Saint Germain or Real Madrid seemed inevitable.
But from the ashes of what looked like a season-defining calamity, both Pogba and United have unexpectedly returned to prominence. Finally showing signs of knuckling down and putting his focus on football rather than his image and commercial interests, Pogba has played a key role in United's surge to the top of the Premier League.
Solskjaer reportedly made his displeasure known to Pogba about Raiola's intervention, but did not lose his cool with the 27-year-old.
Pogba has repaid that show of faith with match-winning goals in United's league victories at Burnley and then Fulham on Wednesday.
The World Cup winner's superb curler against Fulham was only his fourth goal of the season but, with Pogba back in the groove, United are a far more formidable force.