Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really wanted to sign Erling Haaland from FC Salzburg in January, make no mistake about that, but there were two significant reasons why Manchester United abandoned their pursuit of the Norwegian striker. One of them was Mason Greenwood.
The other, reported by ESPN at the time, was that United would not agree to Haaland's advisors taking a share of any profits from a future sale of the teenager. From United's perspective, the prize of capturing one of the world's most exciting young talents was not worth the risk of his representatives having any additional influence over his future -- especially as a €50 million buy-out clause was also being demanded in the contract.
Borussia Dortmund eventually won the race for Haaland, but the emergence of the 18-year-old Greenwood as one of Europe's hottest young strikers means United may not be so dismayed.
"We didn't find the right one outside our club," Solskjaer said, when asked about missing out on Haaland. "But we now have Mason."
That was back in December, when the teenager had already scored three Premier League goals within a tally of nine in all competitions this season.
Solskjaer's suggestion that Greenwood's potential would soften the blow of missing out on Haaland, who has since scored 16 goals in 18 games for Dortmund, seemed little more than an attempt to place some positive spin on United missing out on another transfer target.
No matter where Haaland's ability takes him in the years ahead, nobody can now question Solskjaer's assertion that Greenwood can make a similar impact at Old Trafford.
His spectacular double strike against Bournemouth at the weekend took him to 15 goals in all competitions and he needs two more to become the first teenager this century to hit 10 Premier League goals in a season, and the first since Michael Owen in 1997-98.
Sources have told ESPN that Solskjaer was so convinced by Greenwood, who was 17 when he arrived as manager, that he felt he could offload Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez and hand the young striker the chance to stake his claim for a place in the first team.
United's coaching staff have been waiting for Greenwood to realise his potential, with Sir Alex Ferguson telling a League Managers' Association dinner in 2016 "I think we have found one" in Greenwood. Sources have told ESPN that Ferguson also believed Greenwood was the most exciting prospect he had seen since Ryan Giggs. But had Haaland arrived from Salzburg in January, Greenwood's progression would have been halted.