Somehow, like the solitary house that miraculously remains standing in a hurricane that wipes out all else around it, Patrice Evra has been almost ever-present in a United defence that's been consistently ravaged by injury. Indeed, Evra's missed just three league games in the last three seasons and hasn't played fewer than 47 matches in a single campaign since 2006/07 when left-back duties were shared with Gabriel Heinze.
It's an incredible record, but Lady Luck won't smile on the Frenchman forever. And surely that much football (with internationals tacked on as well, remember) must be taking its toll on Evra's body. At the very least, then, Buttner's arrival should allow Patrice vital time to rest and recover at strategic points throughout the season. That alone is enough to justify his signing.
Of course, there's also the possibility the Dutchman will grab the opportunities he's granted, play like a world-beater and force the manager to keep picking him. Sir Alex certainly wouldn't have signed Buttner on a five-year deal unless he thought very highly of the player.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. How can we? It's still early days and he's not yet kicked a football in a United shirt. First and foremost, I'm just looking forward to seeing the boy play.