Ibai Gomez has finally re-signed for Athletic Bilbao. The 29-year-old playmaker left the club for Alaves in 2016 and went on to shine for the fellow Basque club.
However, he has headed back to his beloved San Mames for a fee believed to be in the region of €3.5 million (£3.2 million), his release clause at Alaves.
Bilbao, who are in a relegation battle, will now hope he can bring his good form to the club and help them in their La Liga survival battle.
For Leeds United fans, it is a big loss.
The writing has been on the wall for some time regarding Gomez, but Leeds have been credited with an interest. Gomez, who previously played under Marcelo Bielsa at Athletic, was seemingly on Leeds’ radar.
Euskal Irrati Telebista has claimed that Leeds simply did not follow up their interest with a firm bid and Athletic got their claws in.
Gomez would have been a brilliant recruit for Leeds, not least because he would have been an immediate replacement for Samuel Saiz. The playmaker left Leeds for personal reasons this month, joining Getafe in a deal that could eventually be worth £6 million to the West Yorkshire side – according to the Mirror.
For about half the price, Leeds could have had a ready-made replacement in Gomez. This will no doubt feel like a missed opportunity.