Manchester City's reported interest in England International midfielder Owen Hargreaves has certainly raised some eyebrows in the dying days of the transfer season, as supporters wonder what the former star could possibly bring to the club after nearly four years of absence.
Is Roberto Mancini really serious? Is Hargreaves really worth City's effort on deadline day?
Given the duration of Owen Hargreaves' time away from football, it's understandable that some people have forgotten how much of a quality presence he can be in any club's midfield structure. The worries are just, but I believe they are misplaced.
Owen Hargreaves will turn out to be wildly successful move for Manchester City in their efforts to finally secure a Premier League title and compete with Europe's best in Champions League.
For those who doubt, here are five reasons why.
Yes, the past few years have been difficult for Owen Hargreaves, having been plagued with a persistent knee injury that forced him to spend months at a time in the United States working with world-renowned specialists and spending much of his time since 2007 enduring a long a difficult process of physical rehabilitation.
For that reason, the worries surrounding Hargeaves and his physical stability are more than legit.
But, that period of his life is over, and his rehabilitation is as complete as it can be without actual playing time on the pitch.
Hargreaves is so confident in his current fitness that he's personally maintained a Youtube channel that's entirely devoted to showcasing his training physical and ability, all to persuade England's top clubs into at least giving him a look. And with City and Tottenham so suddenly engaged in landing the midfielder, it's clear that the tactic worked like a charm.
Hargreaves underwent a medical for Manchester City earlier this week, and they agreed: he is more than fit enough to play for Roberto Mancini's side this season.
As it currently stands, Manchester City's squad is obviously faring incredibly well in the opening matches of the 2011-12 campaign. But the schedule at the moment is relatively light, and their form could just as easily take a hit when fixtures begin to come every few days instead of every weekend.
With Premier League, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup, and of course Champions League all on the horizon, City are going to have to demonstrate a level of depth that they haven't required in a very long time. The core group of high-profile starters won't cut it in every fixture of every competition.
Even if Hargreaves only fills the gaps for resting players against weaker competition, his presence will be thoroughly beneficial to Manchester City in the busiest stretches of their season.
Particularly with their placement in a highly-competitive group in this year's Champions League, City's best talent will need their days off, and somebody reliable is going to have to take their place if City realistically wants a go at the domestic title.
Have your doubts about Hargreaves' ability to compete against Europe's best all you want. But when it comes to England's worst, he should be more than capable of holding his own.
Over the summer months of 2011, few clubs have rivaled Manchester City when it comes to spending. The resulting product has been fantastic: a solid starting lineup that has scored twelve goals in the first three Premier League fixtures.
Still, after all that spending, City is surely now looking for a bargain in any other potential deals that come their way. Roberto Mancini was even reportedly told that any further acquisitions could only come in the form of free transfers and loan deals.
Following his release from Manchester United at the end of the season, Hargreaves is now a free agent that City can add to their ranks without dropping cash on another massive transfer fee. And given his desperation to play for one of England's top sides, chances are he'll be willing to accept a relatively minimal weekly salary just to get some time on the pitch.
In fact, Hargreaves was rumored to have offered Manchester United his services for no salary at all in an effort to persuade them into reconsidering his release.
Owen Hargreaves is the ultimate bargain on the transfer market this summer, and undoubtedly constitutes the best bargain that City could have possibly hoped to achieve.
When Manchester United secured Owen Hargreaves in 2007, he was at the top of his game and enjoying a consistent starting spot on Bayern Munich's squad. The Canadian-born England International was playing so well, United invested £17 Million into adding him to their squad.
Hargreaves is a highly-experienced and professional presence in any squad's midfield lineup, and he's played enough matches with and against Europe's top sides in Champions League football to know how to hold his own.
United were intrigued by his footwork, and his consistency within Bayern Munich's ranks, and saw him as a gamble worth making because of the promise he demonstrated at the time.
Unfortunately, that gamble did not pay off for Alex Ferguson and company, but not because his quality was overrated in any way, shape, or form. Instead, it was Hargreaves' plaguing injuries that kept him almost entirely absent from United's first team squad.
With those injuries now far behind him, the hope is that he will regain that form and resume being everything he was that made City's rivals gamble on him in the first place. This time around, the Manchester-Hargreave's gamble just might pay off after all.
As I mentioned before, Owen Hargreaves' history with injuries has been a major setback in his efforts to establish a successful career in Premier League football, and his goal throughout the summer has been simple: prove that he can play once again, and earn a spot on a Premier League squad.
As a result, his past few months have spent engaging in a wide variety of desperate efforts to make somebody take notice, from offering United a season of free services, to the Youtube videos devoted to showcasing his recovery.
Rarely do you hear of a fully-established international player working so hard to prove he's worthy of a club's attention.
Hargreaves' isn't just out to prove to Manchester City that he's still relevant in world football, he's out to prove it to himself. And it seems clear that he won't stop until he feels he's reached the quality and form that he displayed before his long battle with rehabilitation.
Here's what Manchester City will get from Hargreaves: absolute and undivided devotion. Because just a short time ago, he wasn't sure he'd ever get this opportunity again.