With the benefit of hindsight, Leeds United probably would not have let Tom Lees leave Elland Road for free with a year remaining on his contract.
Since swapping Leeds for Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the summer of 2014, the Warwick-born stopper has developed into one of the finest centre-halves in the Championship and has frequently performed impressively whenever he has come up against the club that let him go.
Though while Wednesday benefitted from an alarming lack of foresight on Leeds’ part, could the tables be turned in 2018?
The Mail report that striking starlet George Hirst is looking increasingly likely to leave Hillsborough in the New Year and Leeds continue to harbour hopes about bringing the son of Owls legend David across Yorkshire.
Is it understood that Hirst, a prolific goalscorer at youth level with Wednesday, has grown frustrated at his lack of opportunities under Carlos Carvalhal. And, after refusing to sign a new contract, has been banned from playing for the club, meaning his only football has come for England’s Under-19s.
There is plenty of Premier League opposition in the shape of Everton, Arsenal and Leicester City but, with Leeds launching the careers of Ronaldo Vieira, Lewis Cook and co in recent seasons, Hirst will know that he would have a far better chance of first-team football at Elland Road.
Though the Lees situation was a little different, it appears that Hirst, like the former Leeds centre-back, is simply not being valued highly enough by his current employers.
And four years after Leeds lost a hugely talented youngster to Wednesday for nothing, could the opposite be about to occur?