Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was delighted with the performances of full-back pair Luke Shaw and debutant Diogo Dalot in the Champions League against Young Boys on Wednesday night, with the future at Old Trafford suddenly that bit brighter.
Shaw turned 23 years of age during the summer, while 19-year-old Dalot will remain a teenager for another six months. Mourinho specifically commented that the latter has the potential to be a United player for the next 10 years.
While Manchester City spent £100m to buy starting full-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy last summer, United have paid around half of that for Shaw (£30m) and Dalot (£19m).
A report from the Manchester Evening News notes that Mourinho saw the future way back in June, as that was apparently when he sent an encouraging message to Shaw, with whom his relationship had previously been strained, and United decided to bring in Dalot.
Mourinho apparently told Shaw he could 'be the best' - that arm-around approach was seemingly what the former Southampton player needed all along.
Meanwhile, the boss and the club had also clearly spotted immense potential in Dalot, a player who was injured at the time and whose entire senior career extended to just a handful of appearances for Porto's first team.
The MEN report explains that United even paid above the release clause that was soon to become active in Dalot's Porto contract, seemingly desperate to ensure they secured his signature before any of the other clubs who were said to be keeping an eye on him.
It is still early days yet. Mourinho has been careful with Dalot so far and has already stated that the youngster won't feature in the Premier League against Wolves this weekend. Instead, he'll start against Derby in the EFL Cup to ensure that he only plays when 'totally fresh'.
But if United can nurture their two young full-backs, they could be set for years to come and at a fraction of the expense it cost their noisy neighbours.