Now Manchester City are really talking, seriously that is, and to the point where the ill-judged move for Kaka in January can be consigned to somewhere back among the dangers of the learning curve.
It can go, along with all those other misadventures which so often happen when a vast and unexpected windfall is seen as the banker foundation of a successful football team, when assorted magnates and businessmen, not to mention glorified shirt salesmen, believe they know something about the game which left Sir Alex Ferguson, after 50-odd active and brilliant years, as confused and dismayed as a raw apprentice a few days ago in Rome.
City wanted the Brazilian, who now appears to be heading to Real Madridas a world-record-priced short-cut to glamour status and, presumably, serious competition.
They know better now. They know the Kaka affair, and its excruciatingly embarrassing denouement, was nothing so much as an extension of the equally madcap belief of previous owner Thaksin Shinawatra that you could throw £40-odd million at someone like Sven-Goran Eriksson, have him make a few phone calls and come up with instant contenders.
To be fair to Eriksson, he did a lot better than was anticipated in many quarters but by the end of his one and only season last year the verdict was in. Eriksson, while sharply improving entertainment levels, hadn't been making a team but an illusion of one.
For City fans for whom that was just another cycle of the failure, if not outright despair, since the days Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison galvanised the club in the mid-sixties, and built a team piece by piece, it has to be a major reassurance that the current owner appears to be finally listening to his manager, Mark Hughes.
The word is that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan was anxious to establish City's ranking as the world's richest football club, a fact that apparently needed more immediate and unanswerable underpinning than merely beating Chelsea to the luxury signing of Robinho.
Kaka didn't happen and whatever his public statements, the old pro Hughes cannot have been too mortified. Of course he could have used Kaka - who couldn't with half a football wit? - but he didn't need the distorting focus of such a huge leap beyond the club's stage of progress. A Kaka is a crowning move, a celebration of a point of development when a club - and a dressing room - can handle the natural evolution of a team which comes with real progress.
It happened of course when Allison supplied Mercer with his shopping list all those years ago; the priceless veteran Tony Book had been brought in, and resident players like Mike Doyle, Glynn Pardoe and Alan Oakeshad grown dramatically in confidence, when the big coach made his moves.
Allison then signalled it was time to increase his resources and the signings of Mike Summerbee, Francis Lee and Colin Bell - at a cost of slightly more than £100,000 - provided the cornerstones of a relatively brief but brilliant empire.
Hughes clearly believes he has reached the same point of take-off, and if his priority shopping bill, which already includes the £12m Gareth Barry, will be stretching towards £60m if he also lands Carlos Tevez and Samuel Eto'o, no-one can accuse him of impulse buying.
if Eto'o can be prised away from Barcelona by a pot of gold from the Sheikh, City answer the most pressing question that has faced them in recent years. When, with the departure of Nicolas Anelka in 2005, were they ever going to find the firepower consistent with serious ambition?
When Hughes was charged with producing football of sometimes rough physicality at Blackburn, he snapped at his accuser, "Well, it's tough playing great football with limited resources - give me 30 or £40 million and I'll see what I can do."
He has been given all of that and more now - plus the time to properly identify his most pressing needs. He has gone for a solid presence at the back of midfield and the possibility of striking potential of the highest quality. Just as importantly, it seems, he has been given the time to make his own team at his own pace.
Then, nobody needs to tell Mark Hughes, the options come down to just two - the glory or the sack.