After weeks and months of (im)patiently waiting whilst Sale's Premiership rivals strengthened around them, the Sharks - perhaps preemptively given that the news first broke on BBC Scotland on Monday evening - finally announced their first addition to the squad ahead of the upcoming 2017-18 season.
And what an addition it is; Josh Strauss, number eight for Glasgow Warriors and the Scottish national team has penned a three-year-contract in what is the highest profile signing for the Mancunian club since another Scottish international, Richie Gray, joined the club before the 2012-13 season.
Reassuringly there is no reason to believe that Strauss's time in the North-West will resemble that of his international team-mate.
Whereas Gray's athletic style struggled to find an appropriate role within a Sale team that capitulated during the season's first half that year, ultimately moving across the Channel to Casters at the end of the campaign, Strauss is the perfect remedy to the lack of a second impact carrier that has ailed Sale since the emergence of Josh Beaumont during the 2014-15 season.
The big-name profile attached to this current Tier One international, augmented by his influential role in a Glasgow Warriors team that won the Pro 12 two years ago and is currently generating seismic waves in the European Champions Cup, would be enough to placate fears that all the talk of significant investment from Sale's new parent company was just that - talk.
But the brilliance in luring a current Home Nations international and one of the standout players in all of Europe over the past two seasons to Sale Sharks is that, as well as making a splash off the field, the 30-year-old South African-cum-Glaswegian immediately rectifies two of Sale's most glaring issues, a lack of balance in the back-row and a lack of on-field direction.
As a back-row, not only does Strauss bring the height, physicality and game-breaking carrying which Sale have desperately lacked this season, Strauss also brings a wealth of experience and on-field leadership down to Manchester, having cultivated such attributes during stints as both the Lions and Glasgow's captain.
Whilst Sale have a plethora of experienced heads in the dressing room, many are currently finding it difficult to get a sustained run in the first-team and as such, are unable to influence the relatively young leadership group (Beaumont, Addison etc.) Sale have promoted this season. Strauss will instantly be placed in a position to lead by example.
In short, amongst other attributes, Strauss is immediately the best pure ball-carrier Sale have had since the glory days of Sebastian Chabal and whilst I'm hesitant to place the Bellville, Western Cape native in the same bracket as Kieran Read, Louis Picamoles or Billy Vunipola in terms of world-class ability at his position, Strauss is a top-tier player who will make an immediate difference to Sale's pack next season.
So where does Strauss fit into the Sale lineup in 2017-18?
Admittedly, much still depends on whether the Sharks ultimately recruit an out-and-out flanker (a la Scott Fardy) and/or a heavier lock to partner with the more athletic Bryn Evans ahead of next season. Should they sign a flanker and not a lock, it would signal Sale envisage Strauss as their unequivocal first-choice No.8 (a wise choice given that Strauss is arguably only 4th or 5th in line at his position for a place on this year's Lions tour) and which in turn would precipitate Beaumont moving to the second row long-term.
However signing Strauss also offers Sale a hitherto unconsidered degree of flexibility in how they set up their back-row. Strauss has turned out at both blindside flanker and No.8 for Glasgow and often played at openside flanker during his time with the Lions in Super Rugby.
Therefore if Sale ultimately sign another lock, thus negating the necessity of moving Beaumont to the second row, Sale could lineup at 6/7/8 in a number of different combinations that pair Beaumont and Strauss together as two gargantuan ball-carriers. On the assumption that TJ Ioane retains his place as Sale's first-choice blindside over Cameron Neild, Sale could lineup with a back row of:
Ioane/Strauss/Beaumont - (my personal favourite)
Or if Sale would prefer to keep Ioane (who I would like to designate as a 'volume' carrier rather than the aforementioned 'impact' carrier due to the paucity of his individual line-breaks) on the bench as a late-game option to wear out opposition defences and instead pick a more traditional 'jackal', Sale could instead opt for:
This is before even entertaining the notion of Laurence Pearce returning into first-team rotation who could be used in tandem with Strauss and Beaumont in the back-row:
or allow Beaumont to move to lock and give Sale at least three notable ball-carriers of 6ft 4' or taller in their back-five at any one time:
Evans/Beaumont + Pearce/Ioane/Strauss
Evans/Beaumont + Pearce/Neild/Strauss
Evans/Beaumont + Pearce/Lund/Strauss
Evans/Beaumont + Ioane/Strauss/Pearce.
Given how much more effectively Sale's forward pack has performed since the volume carries of Ioane have been combined with the height and length of Magnus Lund and Josh Beaumont from the opening whistle, one would assume Sale's strongest lineup would integrate Strauss into a back-five that offers at least two other destructive ball-carriers (i.e. Ioane and Beaumont).
For now exactly how Sale will lineup in the opening round of the 2017-18 season remains up in the air. But the addition of Strauss gives them a degree of versatility one wouldn't initially expect from signing one of the best five or six No. 8's in European (international) rugby.
Conventional logic would indicate Strauss will now become Sale's de facto No.8 and captain Josh Beaumont will move permanently into the second row at least until Strauss is away on international duty (how nice is it that Sale now have to worry about such things?)
But Strauss' potential impact at Sale goes beyond just that - in the Scotland No.8, Sale have signed a genuine game-changing player in the pack who has the potential to revolutionise their entire forwards strategy for next season. Not a bad way to kick start what will hopefully be the most exciting recruitment period for the club in over a decade.
Follow The Shark Tank on Twitter for more news, analysis and opinions on all things Sale Sharks.