baulked at such a fee, the Scotland international has made great strides to justify the valuation and is showing no signs of wilting under any pressure, producing several impressive performances despite playing in an under-performing side.
Sub-plots: John O’Shea is set to return to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the Reds for Sunderland in the summer of 2011, having missed last season’s corresponding fixture through injury. The Republic of Ireland international scored 15 goals in just under 400 appearances for United and is guaranteed a rousing reception from fans inside the Theatre of Dreams.
Whistle-blower: Chris Foy will be the man in the middle for this 15:00 GMT kick-off, having refereed each side just once this season. United fans might remember the Merseyside-based official from a 3-2 defeat to Spurs while Sunderland supporters last saw him during an opening-day draw at Arsenal. On average, Foy awards two yellow cards per game and is yet to dismiss a player this term.
Rivals watch: In the midday kickoff on Saturday, Manchester City travel to Newcastle before Liverpool host Aston Villa at Anfield. A day later, Arsenal make the short trip to Reading.
Want to see the game live at Old Trafford? A limited number of returned tickets are available – visit manutd.com/tickets to purchase.