Question marks hung over Jadon Sancho's head as he sat on the bench for the first half of Borussia Dortmund's game against Bayern Munich last week. The England winger was expected to light up Der Klassiker, but fitness issues following an ankle injury kept him from starting the first three games following the Bundesliga restart.
With Dortmund trailing 1-0 at half-time due to a Joshua Kimmich goal, Lucien Favre sent on Sancho for the final 45 minutes in an attempt to salvage not only the game, but BVB's title hopes.
Sancho looked off the pace and was unable to provide his usual spark, leading people to wonder if he had been dropped because his head had been turned by suitors from the Premier League.
Five days later, Sancho was back in the starting XI, proving not only his fitness, but his doubters wrong too. The 20-year-old picked up the mantle in the absence of Dortmund striker Erling Haaland against Paderborn, scoring a second-half hat-trick to become the youngest ever player to reach 30 Bundesliga goals.
That record had previously been held by Kai Havertz, who became the Bundesliga's bright young star in May with Sancho sidelined, but on Sunday, the Chelsea and Manchester United target showed exactly why he is so highly regarded.
Sancho now has 17 goals and 16 assists this season in the German top flight, becoming only the fifth player to score 15 or more and assist 15 or more goals in the same season in any of Europe's top five leagues since 2006, joining superstars of the game in Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Eden Hazard.
The Paderborn performance is just the latest in a long line of standout showings from an attacker who has impressed pundits around the world, many of whom now believe he could improve any team.
Former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves gushed about his abilities, saying that he would get in the starting XI of Liverpool or Manchester City.
"He makes every team better, that’s for sure," Hargreaves told BT Sport. "Everyone would love to have him. Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, I think he’s that good that he gets in all of them.
"United, Chelsea and Arsenal would all love to have him. It depends on personnel and who could afford him?
"It will cost a lost but he’s a generational talent, truly remarkable with his goals and assists and he can play in different positions. He’s going to cost a lot but he’s worth it, I’d love to see him back in the Premier League."
Even his Borussia Dortmund team-mates seem resigned to him leaving Signal Iduna Park for bigger pastures, with Thomas Delaney tipping him to become one of the world's best players in the next few years .
"Clearly, one of the biggest talents that I've played with," Delaney told ESPN. "With that talent comes a lot of pressure and I think he slowly starts to feel that from the England national team and clubs surrounding him now.
"Up until this point he's been a talent performing very well, performing better than what he is expected to do but there was always going to be a next step and that's going to be interesting. Next step in his career and his development.
"Only looking at his skills, he definitely has what it takes to become one of the five biggest players in the world. You see big talents go to waste and I would say that he's already done enough to prove himself.
"He's 20 and he's got the highest goal involvement in the league together with Timo Werner and [Robert] Lewandowski which is amazing but he should strive for more."
Speculation that Sancho will leave will surely intensify as it gets nearer to the opening of the transfer window, but that exit talk is clearly not unsettling the 11-time England international, given the dominant nature of his performance on Sunday.
The nature of that performance will only make Dortmund more determined to keep hold of their most valuable asset, who they will not sell for a discount despite Sancho only having two years left on his contract.
Should Chelsea or Man Utd sign him this summer, they will have to cough up more than £100 million ($123m) for his services. There are major doubts over whether any club will spend that kind of money during the coronavirus crisis, but if any player is worth more than £100m in today's market, it is 'generational talent' Sancho.