At some clubs, if a 20-year-old had been given his debut in the season opener, when there had not yet been any signings, it would have been interpreted as a pointed message from the manager to the chairman.
Given Mauricio Pochettino's history of showing faith in academy players, and his steadfast confidence that Tottenham will strengthen their squad before the end of the month, it is unlikely that was his plan.
But if it had been, it would have backfired. Rather than underlining the need for a new right-back, young Kyle Walker-Peters was given the man of the match award at Newcastle on Sunday.
He will remember the occasion forever. The question is, what happens now? Do Spurs buy a new right-back or does Walker-Peters continue to deputise and provide competition for Kieran Trippier, following in the footsteps of Harry Winks by becoming a regular member of the matchday squad?
Pochettino has so far been rather unhelpful in providing clues to his thinking.
After Trippier's ill-timed injury against Juventus, Pochettino surprisingly and uncharacteristically seemed to dismiss Walker-Peters' claims to a first-team spot, stating "he's very young" and "it's too much today for him."
Eight days later, after the final whistle at St James' Park, Pochettino admitted his comments had been deliberately misleading; that he had been seeking to keep the pressure off the youngster's shoulders.
"I think he's ready to play," Pochettino said. But then came the caveat: "It's another thing to play every game in the Premier League. We need to be calm with him."
Playing every week is precisely what would be required if Trippier now suffered a setback in his recovery or was injured again later in the season.
And with respect to newly promoted Newcastle -- who did the double over Spurs when they were last in the top flight -- there will be tougher opponents. Like Chelsea on Sunday.
In the end, actions speak louder than words. With that in mind, reports that Tottenham are interested in signing Paris Saint-Germain and Ivory Coast right-back Serge Aurier may just take the shine off Walker-Peters' memorable week.
However, Aurier is currently unable to enter the UK after being given a suspended two-month prison sentence for allegedly attacking a police officer in 2016, while there is reportedly competition for his signature.
With a deal for Aurier potentially tricky and Trippier a doubt for this weekend's clash against the reigning champions at Wembley, for now at least we may get a better sense of what Pochettino believes Walker-Peters to be capable of at this stage.
If Pochettino picks the 20-year-old again then it would be an even greater show of trust, and if his young charge holds his own against the Blues' wide men then it would be even more disappointing for him if the club then brought in a new right-back -- someone who, in tandem with Trippier, would block Walker-Peters' route back into the first team.
On the other hand, if Pochettino opts for a different option -- Victor Wanyama's return from injury would make it easier to deploy Eric Dier at right-back against Chelsea -- then that will carry its own message.
Walker-Peters has certainly underlined his potential, having also helped England win the Under-20 World Cup in June, but has he done enough to negate the need for a new recruit -- a senior international to replace England's Kyle Walker? Not yet. Rather more evidence is needed, and there is little time to gather it before the transfer window closes.
It would, of course, be a shame to obstruct the progress of Spurs' latest academy graduate, especially after such an encouraging debut.
However, it would also be a big risk to install Walker-Peters as one of the two right-backs for the coming season when he has so little first-team experience, especially when Spurs are targeting the title and a sustained run in the Champions League.
This issue is particularly important because Tottenham's solidity at the back could be a real source of strength again this season, giving them an instant advantage over a few of their rivals.
The north Londoners had the joint best defensive record in the 2015-16 Premier League season, and they topped the list on their own last term.
Arsenal and Liverpool looked more vulnerable at the back and, sure enough, they conceded three goals apiece on the opening weekend of the new campaign -- along with Chelsea. Meanwhile, Spurs, Manchester City and Manchester United all kept clean sheets.
It could be a key factor, both when Tottenham host Chelsea on Sunday and over the course of the season as the top six sides fight for the title and the top four spots.
As Spurs seek to sign centre-back Davinson Sanchez, who reached May's Europa League final with Ajax, a right-back with similar calibre and experience should probably be on the list, too, giving Tottenham the best possible chance of improving in spite of the loss of Walker.