Newcastle fans have been pleading for the club to re-sign former defender Kevin Mbabu this week after it was revealed the full-back could be available for a bargain fee.
Mbabu was a bright young talent for many years at Newcastle, joining Tyneside in 2013.
However fans never got to see his full potential, as he only ever made five appearances for the club.
Although a few of these displays showed a lot of promise, he was deemed surplus to requirements after the arrival of Rafa Benitez in 2016.
He was sold to Swiss side BSC Young Boys in 2017, and perhaps unexpectedly, his career has suddenly taken off.
The 23 year-old has become a key figure in BYB’s team, helping them to their first league title for 32 years in 2017/2018.
He’s since impressed in the Champions League this season, and has even earned call ups to the Swiss national team.
Some Newcastle fans have been quick to criticise his sale over the past year, especially given the club’s lack of quality full-backs.
And given news of his current exit clause, fans are desperate to see him back in a black and white shirt.
Newcastle fans want Mbabu
Mbabu – one of #NUFC's biggest mistakes in recent years.
Plus, a right back is needed, so let's buy him back and sell Manquillo. Ashley loves a release clause…. https://t.co/D20cCn1LYR
— Marc Jobling (@MarcJobling) March 24, 2019
Kevin Mbabu and #NUFC is unfinished business. He is one of those who left too soon, but is now much improved, more experienced, fits the the team in terms of age and skillset. He'll be available for a very friendly price. And Schar will agree with it. Bring him back this summer. pic.twitter.com/DdoOXXFwfI
— LeLockdownFootball (@LeLockdownFBall) March 22, 2019
Re-sign him 100%
— Geordie (@SteveSpringett3) March 22, 2019
come home lad @Kevin_Baboo ⚫️⚪️
— Saleh (@Saleh0vic) March 22, 2019
— Louis Johnston (@louofthetoon) March 22, 2019
Buy him back please…..
— Matt Reeves (@matt_matt130467) March 23, 2019
Too little too late
Unfortunately for Newcastle, Mbabu is now wanted by a host of top clubs after his Swiss league and Champions League performances.
But even if he wasn’t, Mbabu would still be unlikely to ever return to Tyneside.
Speaking to The Chronicle last year he said: “The choice of Newcastle was not very good,
“I was injured in England for almost two of the three and a half years, and I had muscle problems all the time. Six, seven injuries,
“I did not have the best lifestyle and was too busy with too many things.”
It’s clear the defender doesn’t view his time there as positive.
So given his career is now on the rise, why would he ever want to return?
It’s also important to remember that Benitez could not see any potential worth harnessing.
Even if Mbabu didn’t have the best lifestyle, Benitez would have kept him if he felt there was talent there.
Although he already feels like ‘the one that got away’ to some, Mbabu is hardly a global superstar yet.
It will be interesting to see where his career takes him next, but for now, Newcastle fans must forget the defender.