Supporters greeted his arrival at Tannadice with much anticipation and, so far, midfield general Jeando Fuchs is living up to his lofty billing.
Despite only making eight first-team appearances in tangerine, the endearing Cameroon international has won hearts and minds among the Arabs with his combative and energetic displays.
Coronavirus isolation and his lack of match fitness hampered the diminutive dynamo in his early weeks with the Terrors but recent good Premiership performances have proven Fuchs’ value.
The 23-year-old has made himself one of the first names on Micky Mellon’s team sheet since arriving at the club from Spanish side Alaves in October.
Just as he was getting going, however, Fuchs now faces up to a month on the sidelines with a knee injury after missing out on United’s trips to Celtic and Aberdeen last week.
His absence will be felt in the Tangerines’ engine room, probably more than any other player’s would, with the former Sochaux man’s influence increasingly clear at both ends of the park.
Fuchs’ impact was best illustrated over the busy Christmas period, in United’s home win over Kilmarnock and 1-1 draws against Hibs and Motherwell.
Quiet night at Hibs but Fuchs still makes presence felt
Against the Hibees, Fuchs had a quieter night, coming off after 68 minutes, but was still important in relieving pressure.
He would win three fouls, make two interceptions – a game-high alongside Liam Smith – and recover the ball five times for his side.
His distribution was largely excellent on the day, with a 73.1% passing accuracy – the majority executed in the opposition half as the Terrors went on to snatch a point.
Fuchs would come into his own the following week, though, with two games on home turf.
Cameroonian dynamo runs the show against Killie
More than any other player, Fuchs ran the midfield in a defensive sense in the 2-0 victory against Killie.
He was busy from left to right and back again, shielding his back four (see heatmap below) and breaking up play, while also getting forward when the opportunity presented itself.
He made two interceptions and regained possession for his side 11 times – leading United in the latter category.
Fuchs also had the most touches of the ball for the hosts (66), engaged in the most duels of anybody on the pitch (25) and incredibly, given his small stature, attempted the most aerial contests.
Although he won just five of the 17 he went for, Fuchs was only bettered in that category for United by Mark Connolly (six) – who certainly has a few inches on the 5ft 8in Cameroonian.
Going forward, Fuchs led United in successful and total passes, with 31 of his 44 balls played reaching a team-mate and giving his side the platform to go on and win the game.
Interestingly, along with Paul McMullan, Fuchs was the player who found danger man and eventual goalscorer Lawrence Shankland most often on the night, picking out the Scotland star five times.
Midfield masterclass in Motherwell meeting
When the Steelmen came to town on Boxing Day, Fuchs once more excelled in protecting his back four even though his distribution let him down at times.
The former France youth international made five interceptions, the most of any player on the park, and won back possession 10 times for Mellon’s men.
However, it must be noted, Fuchs lost the ball 33 times himself.
Again, Fuchs led United in touches (91), total duels (26) and aerial duels (11) – winning a remarkable 81.8% of the latter.
In fact, Fuchs alone covered almost as much ground as the whole Motherwell central midfield combined – Allan Campbell, Robbie Crawford and Liam Polworth – in a dominant display.
Going forward, he once again topped the charts for the Terrors in passes (62) with 40 of them finding their man – by far the best total of any player on the park.
Fuchs rounded off an impressive, end-to-end display with two shots on goal, forcing Trevor Carson in the ’Well net into a smart stop with a low drive in the first half.
Nicky Clark would grab the headlines with his late equaliser earning the Terrors a share of the spoils.
However, it’s the quiet Cameroonian whose influence has been felt the most for United in recent weeks.
And with Calum Butcher also ruled out, Fuchs’ absence will leave a gaping hole Micky Mellon must find a way to fill.