Ross Barkley's £15 million move from Everton loomed over a group of Chelsea players who needed to impress as they received a rare chance to play in Saturday's third round FA Cup match versus Norwich City.
However, the Blues' heavily rotated line up didn't function effectively, not recording a shot on target until the 50th minute, en route to a scoreless draw at Carrow Road.
Norwich were the better team in the first half and could have been ahead as Willian, Pedro and Michy Bathshuayi began the game in the forward positions.
David Luiz came back in the side but looked rusty as Chelsea's second string made a below-average Championship side look like Premier League opposition.
Barkley was only signed yesterday after completing his medical the night before and his creative abilities could be put to good use by Antonio Conte.
Pedro has lost that relentless energy he showed last season when Chelsea won the title, while midfielders like Timeoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater may also feel the pressure of Barkley's arrival.
Willian was bright but wasn't able to influence the game, while Batshuayi was the first man subbed off as Norwich fans chanted: "What a waste of money."
Chelsea's substitutes of Alvaro Morata and Charly Musonda failed to have the desired impact on the game which shows that Barkley has a place in this side to add an extra dose of creativity.
Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard were both left out on the matchday squad with the Belgian getting a kick on his calf in the 2-2 thriller with Arsenal on Wednesday.
Barkley could become Chelsea's other creator having created 1.59 chances-per-game in the league at Everton. His 4.45 dribbles-per-game and 2.66 shots-per-game show that he could be a useful asset. However, he will have to turn that production into goals and assists in a Chelsea shirt.
The Barkley signing was needed and Norwich showed that in a game that Chelsea should have dominated but could have resulted in an upset loss rather than just a third-round replay.
Chelsea will likely get through in the FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge but that's another match the club wouldn't have wanted as they face a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Arsenal and a Champions League last sixteen versus Barcelona.
Barkley has been injured for seven months but maybe the FA Cup replay match will be the perfect day to make his debut in front of his own fans.
Chelsea's replay will be in mid-January so that's a date for Barkley to target. As his competition fail to show why Conte should stick with them, he could find himself in the starting eleven sooner rather than later.