When Kevin Mbabu left Newcastle in 2017, many fans questioned the move, lamenting the decision to not give the young full-back more opportunities in the first team.
His talent was always evident, and on the rare occasion he appeared for the senior Newcastle team, he never looked out of place.
So most fans had hoped to see him given a contract and a chance — neither of which materialised, and the defender went back home, to Switzerland, signing for Young Boys.
Much of his time at Newcastle was spent on the treatment table, and in an interview for the Newcastle Chronicle last year, the player openly admitted that he was not physically ready for the demands of playing in England, at first team or second string level.
The player did say that he would like to return to the Premier League, to test himself at the highest level again, in the future, when he is more equipped for the challenges it presents.
He left Newcastle for what seemed like a much to low fee of just over £100,000, and has gone from strength to strength in his native country.
He won the title with Young Boys in his first season, and the club look set to defend their title successfully this year, having an enormous 18 point lead at the top of the table.
But like at Newcastle, injury problems have plagued Mbabu’s season, which has seen him miss eight league games, including surgery following the most recent problem.
But he has made a full recovery, and has seen him reinstated to the starting lineup for their last two games.
He has also broken into the Switzerland senior side this year, which has seen him win four caps, and he has contributed two assists in those games.
His ability is unquestioned, and should he find a way to avoid so many injuries, he is likely to get his wish, at some stage, of returning to England, and playing alongside some of the best players in the world.
If he comes back, and makes a success of any future move, Newcastle and its fans will look back at the miniscule amount they received for him, and wonder why more was not done to help the player settle, and feel at home, and more importantly, why he was not given a decent run in the team.
The one that got away, is often overused when referring to footballers, but in this case, it seems like he genuinely could turn out to be just that for Newcastle United.
What do you think, Newcastle fans? Should your club have done more to persuade Mbabu that his future lay on Tyneside? Would you have given him more opportunities in the side? Let us know your thoughts…
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