Real Sociedad may have found the right man at the right time in David Moyes. In regard to the squad, the club's expectations and even the city of San Sebastian itself, the former Manchester United manager has everything in his favour to put the memories of last season behind him.
However, while the rewards from his latest challenge will be sweet, another failure could leave his future as a manager in real jeopardy.
The perfect second chance?
While at United he was tasked with filling the void left by Sir Alex Ferguson, he now replaces the much-criticised Jagoba Arrasate. Aside for the club president Jokin Aperribay, very few Real Sociedad fans valued Moyes' predecessor. Even though Real finished last season in seventh place, fans wanted more, not necessarily in terms of results but in terms of the football produced.
However, two seasons ago and before Arrasate's arrival, it was said that no Spanish club apart from Barcelona played the game as beautifully as Real Sociedad under then-manager Philippe Montanier – with the team eventually securing a top four spot and Champions League qualification.
Moyes will eventually find the current side is not too different from the one that secured that triumph. It is true that Asier Illarramendi and Antoine Griezmann are long gone following their lucrative moves to Real Madrid (£30m) and Atletico Madrid (£24m).
What awaits in San Sebastian
However, Moyes will still have one of La Liga's outstanding stars in Arsenal outcast Carlo Vela at his disposal. He is joined by talented playmakers Sergio Canales, Xabi Prieto, Esteban Granero and David Zurutuza, while academy stars Ruben Pardo and Inigo Martínez have enough talent to help lead the team back into the top seven of La Liga – and do so in a more attractive style than they managed under Arrasate.
In terms of potential, depth and history, Real Sociedad should be just behind Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla. It is not an opinion, but a fact. Despite their slow start to the season, the club have secured victories against both Real and Atletico Madrid.
Moyes needs to convince his players they can get back to their best and challenge Spain's elite. Maybe it is too late to reach the Europa League this season (they currently sit 15<sup>th) but in the long-term that should be the target.
Moyes arrives at a club with a great history dating back 105 years, an impressive academy boasting Xabi Alonso as its most famous graduate, close ties with British football (John Toshack led them to second place in La Liga in 2002-2003) and a great town. Some may prefer the sun of the south of Spain but there is no nicer town that San Sebastian.
Real Sociedad have shown their desire to start something special in the north of Spain. But what must Moyes do? Having gone from one of the most highly-regarded British coaches in the game to a figure of ridicule in less than a year, the Glaswegian has been handed a second opportunity he cannot pass up.
The decision to join Real Sociedad, we can assume, was one the Scot did not rush. The former Everton boss will have spent a great deal of time sizing up the scale of the task at hand in San Sebastian. For all his faults, his diligence and measured consideration will have remained paramount throughout the process.
Perhaps most importantly, this is the realisation of a goal he has long aspired to complete. Before Sir Alex Ferguson lined up his fellow Scot for the biggest job in English football, Moyes, to his credit, was vocal in his determination to manage abroad. It's an ambition that is as rare as it is admirable, with so many domestic managers satisfied with repeating the cycle across English football.
In terms of bucking a trend that has traditionally isolated British managers behind their own island boundaries, it's a brave move. But it is one that will provide his managerial abilities with another stern examination. A northern city defined by stringent finances, it's no wonder the marriage between Moyes and Real Sociedad has quickly seen the club fitted with the tag of a 'Spanish Everton.'
His new role in the Basque Country provides Moyes with the chance to get back to what he excelled at: ensuring stability marked by steady progression, without breaking the bank.
To his eternal credit, Moyes has not taken the easy option. Real Sociedad represents a different footballing culture and a different way of life. Horror stories of exhausting drills in training sessions, where football became secondary, during his time at United suggests a huge culture clash that awaits both club and manager.
His well-derided tactical approach to the game, often lambasted as draconian, will come under further scrutiny with Vela, Prieto and Canales unlikely to adhere to the style we saw at Old Trafford last season.
Moyes will have to strive to address that in new surroundings. But the caution that undermined his time at Old Trafford is unlikely to be so severely exposed and ridiculed in San Sebastian. For all Sociedad's recent flirtation with the top of La Liga, which eanred them a spot in last season's Champions League, the club are undeniably in a slump.
But Moyes still possesses the managerial tools to thrive in top flight football. It is largely back to basics for both him and the club over the next 18 months. For Moyes even more than Sociedad, it's vital things go according to plan.