Kevin Phillips, signed as a £750,000 bit-part player, is proving far better value for Aston Villa's money than £9.5million record signing Juan-Pablo Angel.
Angel has not started a Premiership game in almost two months, having lost his place to Luke Moore and then Milan Baros, while he has not scored in 12 league and cup appearances this season.
Phillips, meanwhile, is an automatic selection and last night manager David O'Leary offered fulsome praise of the former Sunderland striker's efforts while pointedly warning Angel of the need to rediscover his form.
"I bought Baros to play alongside Angel," O'Leary said. "I was looking for Angel to be the player for Baros to play off, allowing him to make his runs and work off the flicks.
"I bought Kevin Phillips for £750,000 to be a great squad player. One who can come in, but who won't throw out his dummy if he's left out at times. The sort that, if he does well, he stays in, but who you've always got on the bench to come on," he added.
"As it has turned out, I've got just what I knew I'd be getting from Kevin when I first tried to get him two years ago. He's a great pro who deserves everything he gets and I just can't believe that we did not have that much opposition for him."
While Phillips, his early-season injury apart, has proved a fine addition to Villa's strikeforce, O'Leary remains frustrated by Angel.
The Colombian has barely looked like scoring in any of his six Premiership starts this term and, as long as Phillips is on top form, he must wait in the wings. O'Leary wants the sort of scoring rate that has brought Angel a goal in every three Premiership games during his five years at the club and says there could still be a future for him - if he can rediscover his goal touch.
"For £9 million, you expect a player who can both create and score goals," the Irishman said. "You still see flashes of things when he's come on in games and in training and you hope.
"What happened in the summer was that Darius Vassell had come to me and I realised he was in need of a move. I always knew that could be happening and that, with a year left on his contract, we might end up losing him on a free but I saw Kevin Phillips filling in and that, if I could get the money, then I'd bring Baros in alongside Angel.
"The bottom line is that Angel needs to score goals. It was very disruptive for him with his injuries last year but this year he had a good pre-season and has just had the odd niggle, nothing like the injuries Phillips or Baros have had.
"What will change Angel is to score goals, what we will judge him on is to score goals and what we want him to do is score goals, like he was for us when I first came in two years ago.
"But there's no ultimatum. Season in, season out, that's what you need. I wouldn't survive if I was doing well one season in, one season out. You get judged every year and if we could resurrect that, it would make us a far better team."
In a busy week of speculation in the tabloids which has seen Villa linked with a host of market moves, including a swap deal with Liverpool sending Angel to Anfield in return for Fernando Morientes, O'Leary remains insistent that there is nothing in any of the speculation.
"That would be nice," joked O'Leary with regard to the Morientes story, "but I think he might have to take a drop in wages."
There have also been unsubstantiated reports about Steven Davis getting another new contract, a move for MK Dons striker Izale McLeod and even a £6 million move from Charlton Athletic for Jlloyd Samuel.
But O'Leary said: "I don't know where they all come from. Nobody has ever asked me about Angel and nobody has spoken to me about Jlloyd. What else have we had spinning round this week?"