Sometimes, there is a singular point in time when a footballer manages to capture his ability in one moment —for Gabriel Sara, that was his fine individual goal against Preston. 

That's not to say it has been in doubt beforehand. It's been growing with a vengeance throughout the campaign. 

Like James Maddison, Emi Buendia and others prior to him, it now feels like the Brazilian is in 'enjoy him why you have him territory' at Norwich City. 

For Sara, that has been a gradual build. His quality has become consistent and necessary in City's play-off charge. Given the debates of importance that surround Josh Sargent and Jon Rowe, the midfielder has to be in that conversation. 

Some might and will argue it's scandalous that he isn't on a celebration march to the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy for a second consecutive season. 

There are few better creative sources in the whole division. Only Crysencio Summerville has more shot-creating actions than the 24-year-old. Only Leif Davis and Sorba Thomas have created more from set pieces than Sara throughout the campaign. 

He ranks third for key passes. Eighth for passes into the penalty area. Third for progressive passes. Fourth for expected assists. 12th for tackles won in the middle third. These are all statistics that back up the eye test surrounding his quality. 

Add to that 23 goal contributions in 43 Championship appearances, and you have a picture of a player destined for the Premier League — with or without Norwich City. 

He's done this even with a 12-game barren run between December and February. His numbers are staggering, the plaudits around him growing and his contributions becoming more regular. 

How do they compare to what Maddison achieved at Norwich? Or Buendia? 

The Pink Un: Gabriel Sara has recorded more goal contributions than James Maddison in his final season at Norwich City.Gabriel Sara has recorded more goal contributions than James Maddison in his final season at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Well, in the 2017/18 campaign, the final one of Maddison wearing yellow and green, he recorded 22 goal contributions (14 goals and eight assists) in 44 Championship matches. That was enough for him to earn a £24m move to Leicester in the summer of that season. 

Sara has now surpassed those numbers. That is the scale of the conversation now needed to be had around his progress. 

Buendia's statistics were on another level in his final year in yellow and green - finishing the 2020/21 season with 32 goal contributions (15 goals and 17 assists) in 39 Championship matches. The Argentine joined Aston Villa for an initial fee of £33m in that summer. 

In the scale of epic contributions, Sara sits between Maddison and Buendia with three games to play in the Championship season. That's some achievement. 

It is inevitable, therefore, for the Premier League and others to notice what he is achieving and how.

Scouts from a host of top clubs have been watching Sara for a prolonged period of his City career. When the day does come for him to move on - Norwich will make a ton of profit on the first player they signed from South America. 

The reality is those numbers cannot be ignored. The goal threat from a deep position. The creativity documented by the aforementioned statistics. The ability to go toe-to-toe with Dewsbury-Hall and others who were playing Premier League football last season. 

Frankly, there should be more noise surrounding Sara within the game. Perhaps his discreet nature and humble personality limit that. Norwich have a special talent. One day, just like Maddison, just like Buendia, fans will be reminiscing about how on earth he ended up at Carrow Road. 

It isn't just the headline-grabbing spin, the jink to sit Liam Lindsay on the floor before finding the corner, nor is it just the technical brilliance to volley first time against Rotherham with stupendous body positioning. 

The Pink Un: Gabriel Sara has found a goal-scoring consistency at Norwich City.Gabriel Sara has found a goal-scoring consistency at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Sara's plaudits should be about his work rate. His improved defensive capabilities. His improvement in adapting to the flow, rhythm and pace of the English game. His physicality. His game intelligence. Barring a yard of extra pace, he is ticking boxes that Premier League outfits look for in their recruitment work. 

He can finish from close range. Score from distance. Strike a free kick. Deliver an array of different corners. He can head it. His technical quality is sublime. He can beat players. He can stop players. He is good in the press. His development has been joyous to consume. 

Sara has netted seven goals and recorded three assists in his last 12 matches for the Canaries. Like so many of David Wagner's troops, he has hit a purple patch at the right time. 

Even in those periods where, by his high standards, he dipped somewhat - his level was still higher than most of his Norwich colleagues and those who operate in the division. Sara's consistency is perhaps his biggest asset - something Wagner highlighted in one of many questions recently about his ability. 

Even in a wide right role, unfamiliar to him since joining Norwich, he has made no complaints and he has cracked on with aplomb. Perhaps his experience at Sao Paulo, where he operated on either flank on 42 occasions, has paid dividends here. 

Sara is happy at Norwich. As so many players do, he has fallen for the area, the people, the club and his colleagues. He is readying himself to become a father here and even flew his dogs over from Brazil to complete his family set-up. 

The Pink Un: Gabriel Sara looks to be having the time of his life at Norwich City.Gabriel Sara looks to be having the time of his life at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

The ability to be fluent in English has aided his cause. He is adored in the dressing room and in the stands. The 'Voulez-Vous' inspired chant is regularly heard reverberating around the terraces at Carrow Road. 

Yet, somehow, it still feels like he is flying under the radar. Only two other Championship players, Dewsbury-Hall and Adam Armstrong, are in double figures for goals and assists. A Team of the Season nomination is the latest recognition of a stunning campaign. 

Nobody at Norwich will want it - but there should be more talk about his brilliance outside Norfolk. This is now a Premier League player operating a division below his ability.