It's imperative not to get ahead of yourself when it comes to Gareth Bale, but the cameo appearances that the Welshman has made since finally shaking off his injury have shown that, if he can keep himself off the treatment table, he's the best January signing Real Madrid can possibly make.
Bale has returned full of hunger, champing at the bit to make up for lost time, and there'll be no-one available in the mid-season market capable of matching what the 'Cardiff Express' has to offer when fit and healthy.
Real Madrid ought to consider using Bale as impact sub
If the 28-year-old's body doesn't allow him to play regularly for 90 minutes, then perhaps Real Madrid ought to consider the option of throwing him on when the opposition are tired and the spaces start to open up.
Put simply: ration Bale's game time, so that he doesn't break down, and so that he can perform to his best. The time will come in the summer to make major decisions and, with a view to giving Cristiano Ronaldo a helping hand, to bring in the kind of marquee signing that Florentino Pérez loves.
But until then, the best thing Real can do is focus their efforts on looking after Bale's vulnerable frame. Rather that than spend a fortune on a stop-gap who'll only be a bench-warmer next term.