While the majority of the comment surrounding Town's record signing of Aaron Mooy has concerned itself with how big of a 'statement' the signing is, few have recognised the deal for what it truly is: substance over style. Last season, Huddersfield relied on Mooy more than any other player to make their game plan function, and the fee paid and speed at which the deal was done (before the transfer window has even officially opened) is just further acknowledgement of that.
It's no coincidence that the announcement of David Wagner's contract extension has come in tandem with the confirmation of Mooy's transfer, as it's hard to imagine who the club could've recruited to occupy that same vital function within Wagner's philosophy. A specialist position, Mooy acts as the conduit between defence and attack for Huddersfield, constantly linking play, dictating the pace of the game and playing the type of passes that provide a foundation from which the attacking players can fully flourish.
The partnership and understanding created with Jonathan Hogg was a major key to Town's promotion success, too. Having one player - Hogg - who's happy to do the unfashionable work, rarely pass halfway and constantly recycle possession to his more creative partner - Mooy - gave the team a balance and sense of purpose in midfield that often set them apart from their opposition, who frequently didn't possess the requisite tactical discipline to adopt such clearly defined roles. Credit is due, as always, to David Wagner, who moved Mooy deeper than he's previously played, recognising that he could offer the team far more in a nuanced role in the first band of midfield than as a traditional number ten, where he'd made his name in the A League.
Having watched him closely in the Confederations Cup on international duty for Australia, it's interesting just how much less pivotal he is in a system other than Wagner's, and how their less developed use of him severely limited just how influential he could be. Perhaps knowing that himself was part of the reason why Mooy was so keen to continue on at Huddersfield, knowing that an agreement would be mutually beneficial, with his development as a player clearly improving under better management.
While it became apparent fairly quickly than he was too good for the Championship last season, his evolution in the deeper role was more about understanding, confidence and a new found appreciation for defensive contribution than had been present at first. By the time he'd truly hit his stride, Mooy was a complete two-way player, making as telling interventions in his own half as he did launching attacks. It's that aspect of his game, more than any other, than will see him surprise those who haven't had the chance to see him previously, as midfielders as effortlessly multifaceted as he are few and far between - even in the Premier League.
Offering some much needed continuity from the 2016/17 season, this deal is likely the best - and most important - Town will complete this summer. Despite breaking their record fee in such drastic fashion to make it happen, it's a sound investment regardless of what happens in the future. It won't come as a shock to those who've seen him play if clubs suddenly showing an interest in him next year, but Town can rest easy knowing they no longer 'need' the money, and if the time ever does come to sell, he's on a long enough term contract to make a considerable profit.
Hero worshipped almost as much in Australia as he is in Huddersfield, it's a signing that ticks as many commercial boxes as it does sporting. A perverse concept, granted, it's part and parcel of the modern game, especially in a league that's sold as far and wide an the Premier League - but that's a way of thinking and doing business that Town are going to have to get used to, club and fans alike.
A quiet figure, Mooy won't be first in line volunteering to be the face of the team off the field, but he'll certainly be at the heart of everything they're doing on it - and at the end of the day, that is what will always truly matter.